A Valediction Forbidden Mourning by Donne – Critical Analysis

A Valediction Forbidden Mourning by Donne

The poem “A Valediction Forbidden Mourning” was written by John Donne when he was leaving for Europe and his wife was staying at home. Both were in great love for each other and now they were separating from each other. The poet advises his wife not to lament and mourn on this temporary separation.

In the beginning, the poet himself weeps to give vent his inner feelings. The wife, on the other hand, is as unhappy as the poet himself at the prospective separation. He esteems his own tears quite valuable as they contain her image. They are round in shape and are compared with her pregnancy. He tells her that whichever tear falls from his eyes, she also falls with it because every tear contains her image. He further admonishes her not to weep. Because in his opinion, when her tears mix with ills, they will develop into a great flood, which will destroy both of them meaning that the peace of mind of both will be lost.

Then the poet gives that example of the moon whose lady sitting inside, cause high tides similarly her tears; Till drown him in that sea, while he is in her arms and her bosom is heaving like the surging sea. (A Valediction Forbidden Mourning)

The poet thanks that weeping at the separation is but natural, but has to be reduced to the minimum; because it will destroy the peace of mind of both of them.

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
   And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
   The breath goes now, and some say, No:

So let us melt, and make no noise,
   No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
   To tell the laity our love.

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