Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Day 89: Good Morrow


 A classic offering today from metaphysical poet John Donne. 

Don't be put off by the language - there's a lot more to Donne than meets the eye. He was a master at the conceit (elaborate extended metaphors) and witty explorations of a topic. Here in this poem, it's the idea of the lovers both possessing two worlds, that of their own and the one they have become to the other, complimented by the observation of how each of their reflections appear in the eye of the other, likening the pupils to the heavenly spheres (that were thought to be the universe at the time.)

And look closely - there's astute phrases here on love that have become common quotes, like 'For love all love of other sights controls,/And makes one little room an everywhere.'  It's really rather wonderful!


The Good Morrow - John Donne

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not wean'd till then?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
'Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,

Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,

And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

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