Critical Appreciation of The Good Morrow by John Donne

Contrary to the easy and fluent style, stock-imagery and pastoral convention of Elizabethan poetry, John Donne evolved a new poetical trend which aimed of the reality of thought and vividness of expression. Donne’s love poems are an intense and subtle analysis of all the moods of a lover. His love lyrics are at once, fantastic and passionate expressed in starting language which is colloquial rather than conventional. Donne was the supreme force in the rise of the style of metaphysical verse. His poems abound in probing analogies and ingenious wit. The metaphysical mode of love poems of this period has its origin in the poetry of middle ages, where the lover woos his mistress in the same artificial tone which characterizes. Metaphysical verse- As Prf. H.J.C Grierson comments “The Metaphysical of the 17th century combined two things both soon to pass away, the fantastic dialection of medieval love-poetry and the simple, sensuous strain which they caught from the classic-soul and body lightly yoked and glad to run and soar together in the winged chariot of Pegasus. 


The central theme of Donne’s poetry is his own intense personal words, as a lover, a friend, an analyst of his own experiences worldly and religious. ‘The Good Morrow’ records voyage of a lover who starts from the physical and emotional sphere and becomes aware of the spiritual and finally thinks of eternity. The poem seems to dilate on the platonic theme of soul and body in the realm of love. However, the thought is not his primary concern but the feeling. Almost like typical lovers, they found no source of delight but that which was available on the country landscape since the lovers were not conscious of each other, they had confined themselves to the pleasures of country life. The poet wonders if they were sleepers in the seven sleeper’s den like seven young men who took refuge in a cavern in course of persecuting Diocletian and fell asleep. Ultimately, they were entombed but were found alive in the reign of Theodosius. Even if they were asleep the poet must have seen her beauty in the dream which was in correlation with his quest for beauty.

After a long slumber, their souls awakened only to mingle and merge with each other souls originating from the same source displays a maddening thirst to assimilate into each other. Sea – discovers might go far in search of new worlds, maps-makers may be engaged in showing one world after the other but the lovers are ecstatic in their own worlds standing on the brink to integrate into. The two words will be united into one, it will not be an addition, but expansion into a single whole. The separate identities will be last, the marks of separateness will no longer exist but will remain a harmonious whole, a world complete in itself. The eyes of the lovers will reflect the face of the other and the face will hold the thrill of the heart. If two lovers are one, dissolution is impossible and the same is true if though two they are always alike. What is simple, as God as the soul cannot be dissolved. The heavenly bodies between whose elements there is no contrariety cannot decompose. It contains a deep practical truth and S.T. Coleridge thinks that this triplet is too good for a mere wit.

The poem is a demonstration of the perfect exponents of metaphysical qualities. It carries passion and learned imagery and strong argument. It shows intense experience of the moments an illumination of that mood to himself and to his readers. No thought no interpretation of life because a complete experience for him rather it was the feeling of the moment which enlightened him.

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