The Anniversary by John Donne – Critical Analysis

Critical Analysis and Summary of the poem "The Anniversaries" written by famous English poet John Donne.

The Anniversaries by John Donne Fictionistic

This poem “The Anniversaries” also known as “The Anniversary”, was written by John Donne on their first wedding anniversary. It is basically addressed to his wife Anne Moore. On the lapse of one year, the poet thinks that everything is drawing nearer to destruction, whereas their mutual love is everlasting. This poem can only be compared with that of Robert Browning who wrote “One Word More” to celebrate his love for his wife. The Poem Anniversaries was written by John Donne in the 1600s and published in Donne’s second collection (1961).

What is John Donne’s Anniversary about?

Donne, in this poem, tells his wife that true love will persist even in the grave. He further clarifies that their death will prove whether their love has remained undiminished or it has been even unhanded when their bodies will be buried in separate graves.

What is the main theme of to John Donne?

Donne compares their mutual love with those of the kings. He says that they are like kings and subject to each other and are safer than other kings. Those kings are afraid of treason by any of their unknown subjects. But in their case only, one of them can be guilty of treason against each other. So he admonishes his wife, “Let us love nobly and live through years to come till we attain the age of sixty. This is only the second year of our married life.”

Immortality of Love

“The Anniversaries” is the finest illustration of the “immortality of love”. Many readers, who remain unmoved by his poem, also appreciate Donne’s conception of true love. It strikes a note of sincerity and mutuality of love between husband and wife. He is highly optimistic about the continuity and prominence of love even after death. In this regard, he very confidently says:

Only our love hath no decay
This no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday
Running it never runs from us away
But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day

This stanza is taken from John Donne’s poem “The Anniversary”. The same poem is also added in the collection of his poetry book named “Divine Poems”. For complete details and explanations of this poem, you should watch this video.

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