About John Donne :
Summary and Analysis of the poem A Valediction: Of Weeping :
A Valediction: Of Weeping is a popular lyric of John Donne. The basic conceit of the poem is that the tears of each bear the image of others. The poet is departing for a foreign country so he asks his beloved not to shed tears at his departure. The situation is highly emotional and the poet feels like weeping profusely in her presence. His tears would be stamped with her face as coins are stamped with the face of the king. In her presence, his tears would become pregnant with her and thus acquire much value and significance. His tears arise from his grief but they are also the symbols of much greater grief. When tears fall, she too falls with them because they bear her stamp. Donne’s wit with the word ‘full’ is quite interesting. The beloved falls with his tears because they bear her face, secondly, she may fall from her grace in his absence by being unfaithful to him and it will cause much greater grief. When the poet will be in a foreign land, their tears would not be stamped with their respective faces, and if she is unfaithful to him, their love would lose all value and significance.
In the second stanza, there is the conceit of a globe. The poet likens the tears to a globe because both of them have a round shape. But a globe has no significance as long as the map maker does not paint different continents on it. Only after his painting, it gains any significance. In a similar manner, their tears have no value until they bear her face. Only when it bears her stamp, it becomes his whole world. But their tears mixed together create deluge in which there is the possibility of his being drowned and his earthly paradise gone in a trice. Hence, they must not weep because it may bring her extinction. Their tears mixed together to create a flood in which he and his earthly paradise would be drowned. Hence, the poet wants her not to weep inconsolably.
In the next stanza, the poet likens his beloved to the moon. The gravitational pull of the moon raises tides in the ocean and appears to drown the sea forces. The poet is within the gravitational pull of his beloved so if she weeps, he would be drowned in her embrace. Moreover, she would also teach the sea to become more destructive when he is sailing on it. Also, she should not sigh violently, for her example would become stormy and thus cause trouble during his voyage. Hence, she must desist from weeping and sighing. When they sigh together, their breaths and sighs mixed together to become more destructive. In this way, by their sighing they cause double harm to each other, as the one who sighs more violently does more harm. Because she is sighing more violently, she is causing more harm to him, which may ultimately lead him to death. Therefore, at the theme of parting, they should not weep or sigh.
The lyric is written conversational tone. There are a number of which conceits have been used to heighten intellectual pleasure. The lyric is remarkable for its rhythmic beauty and its intellectual analysis of emotion.