The word nocturnal means events or happenings during the night. Donne’s poem “A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day” contains his various thoughts and impressions on the night of Lucy’s days, which is the 13th day of December. It’s the day being the shortest of seven hours and the longest night of the year. St. Lucy is considered to be the goddess of winter. Some critics think that Lucy was his patroness, who was the countess of Bedford. Others think that this poem was written by Donne on the death of their wife Anne Moore when the whole world for him became a place of dissolution like the longest night of Lucy’s day.
Donne feels that everything has gone bleak while on the other hand the sun, the stars, and the earth are feeling happier. He thinks himself to be worse than a dead man. He feels great depression and in that state, he wants that other lover should see his miserable conditions. They will be able to realize, what disappointment in love means to a lover. Love reduces a lover to nothingness. When both are alive they face different types of chaos. They shed tears when they are away from each other. He believes that his vitality can never be rejuvenated in spring.
So, he has been reduced to nothingness, and the elixir, which is very much similar to quintessence and the source of life has revived him. He is, otherwise quite optimistic, that with the advent of spring, all lovers will find a renewal of life except him. He would meet his beloved when both of them will be resurrected in the next world. This can only happen if he becomes religious and prays to God and fast. These are the two basic requirements and he should prepare himself as true love for meeting his beloved when both are given a new life.