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A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne

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Title: A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne


1
A Valediction Forbidding Mourningby John Donne
Feature Menu
Introducing the Poem Literary Focus Metaphysical
Conceits
2
A Valediction Forbidding Mourningby John Donne
3
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne
Parting is all we know of heaven,And all we need
of hell. Emily Dickinson (18301886)
4
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne
Farewell, My Love
The emotional goodbye scene is a common fixture
in film and literature.
What are some famous goodbye scenes you have read
or watched? What makes them so memorable?
5
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne
The speaker in this poem must depart from his
beloved. He asks her to be strong and to behave
with quiet dignity as they part.
like gold to airy thinness
Donne uses elegant imagery and figures of speech
to express what a strong and complete union these
two people have.
as stiff twin compasses
End of Section
6
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning Literary
Focus Metaphysical Conceits
Metaphysical conceita complex and clever figure
of speech that makes a surprising comparison
between two dissimilar things
Lovers are holy saints.
A lovers tears are newly minted coins.
A man is a world.
7
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning Literary
Focus Metaphysical Conceits
The metaphysical poets used conceits to conduct
analytical investigations of love and life.
Try to figure out what two things are being
compared in this stanza from another of Donnes
poems
8
A Valediction Forbidding MourningLiterary
Focus Metaphysical Conceits
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning contains one
of the most famous of all metaphysical conceits
The speaker and his beloved are compared to the
two prongs of a compass.
Can you think of any ways in which a husband and
wife might be like a compass?
End of Section
9
Quickwrite
10
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning Quickwrite
Make the Connection
This poem is typical of Donnes work in that it
is set on a particular dramatic occasion. The
speaker, a man about to take a long journey, says
goodbye (valediction) to the woman he loves,
telling her not to cry or feel sad (forbidding
mourning). If you were leaving someone you love
for a long time, what would you say to him or
her? If you were being left behind, what would
you want to hear? Quickwrite your thoughts.
End of Section
11
Background
12
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning Background
According to the biographer Izaak Walton, Donne
wrote this poem for his wife when he left for a
diplomatic mission to France. She urged him not
to go because she was pregnant and unwell, but he
felt obligated to the missions leader, Sir
Robert Drury.
13
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning Background
Two days after arriving in Paris, Donne had a
vision
I have seen my dear wife pass twice by me
through this room, with her hair hanging about
her shoulders, and a dead child in her arms.
A messenger sent back to England returned with
the news that Mrs. Donne . . . after a long and
dangerous labor . . . had been delivered of a
dead child on the very day Donne had the vision.
End of Section
14
Meet the Writer
15
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning Meet the
Writer
John Donnes (15721631) ambition was to be part
of the queens government. He studied at Oxford
and then became a law student in London. A friend
described Donne as a great visitor of ladies, a
great frequenter of plays, a great writer of
conceited metaphorical verses.
More About the Writer
End of Section
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