“The Good-Morrow” by John Donne is one of the Non-African Poetry selected by the WAEC body for Literature students for 2021-2025. In this blog post, we will help students to provide some insights into the work of art, including the poem, introduction, summary, themes of the poem, and about the poet.
Introduction – The Good-Morrow
“The Good-Morrow” is a poem written by John Donne, a prominent English poet and member of the metaphysical school of poetry.
The poem, written in the form of a love sonnet, explores the theme of love and the speaker’s newfound realization of the depth and beauty of love.
Through the use of vivid imagery and clever wordplay, Donne paints a picture of a love that is both physical and spiritual, and which has the power to transcend the boundaries of time and space.
The poem is considered to be one of Donne’s most famous and enduring works and is widely studied for its exploration of the nature of love and its place in human life.
Poem – The Good-Morrow
I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I
Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then,
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the seven sleepers’ den?
Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.
And now good morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room, an every where.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest,
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
What ever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.
The Good-Morrow Summary
The Good-Morrow is a poem written by John Donne, published in 1633 in his collection “Songs and Sonnets.” The poem is a love poem, in which the poet reflects on the nature of love and the power it holds over the heart.
The poem begins with the poet addressing his lover, saying that their love has changed him and made him a better person. He says that he has been awakened by their love and that he now sees the world in a new light.
The poet then goes on to describe how their love has made him more aware of the beauty and wonder in the world around him. He says that before he met his lover, he was blind to the beauty of the world, but now he can see the beauty of the morning and the stars in the sky. The poet also says that their love has made him more aware of the beauty of nature and that he now sees the world as a beautiful garden.
The speaker then goes on to say that their love is so powerful that it has made him forget all of his past loves and that he now only has eyes for his current lover. He also compares their love to a work of art, saying it is beautiful and perfect in every way.
The poem concludes with the speaker saying that he has found true love in his lover and will never let go of her. He says that their love is so powerful that it will last for eternity and that nothing will ever be able to break it apart.
In summary, The Good-Morrow is a love poem that explores the transformative power of love and how it can change one’s perspective on the world. The speaker reflects on how his love for his lover has awakened him to the beauty of the world, and how it has made him forget all of his past loves. The poem ultimately concludes that their love is eternal and unbreakable.
Themes Of The Poem
Love is a central theme in John Donne’s poem The Good-Morrow. Throughout the poem, the poet reflects on the transformative power of love, and how it shapes and enriches the experiences of those who are in love.
The poet muses on the idea that before they fell in love, their lives were incomplete, and that all their pleasures were nothing more than “fancies.” However, with the arrival of love, the speaker feels that they have found true fulfilment and that their love has created a new world for them where they are completely absorbed in each other, and all other things appear insignificant in comparison.
The idea of the unity and completeness that love brings is emphasized in lines such as “And makes one little room, an every where” and “What ever dies, was not mixed equally; If our two loves be one, or, thou and I Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die”. The poem paints a picture of love as a powerful force that brings people together and gives meaning to their lives.
In the poem, the theme of transformation is evident in the way the poet describes how his perception and understanding of love have changed. The speaker reflects on how, before falling in love, he and his lover were “weaned till then” and “sucked on country pleasures, childishly.”
However, now that they are in love, they have been transformed, and their love has become the centre of their world. The speaker describes how the couple’s love has created a “little room” that is an “everywhere” for them, and how it has transformed their understanding of the world around them.
Additionally, the speaker describes how their love has changed the way they see themselves and each other, as their faces appear in each other’s eyes. This theme of transformation is seen in how the speaker’s perspectives on life, love, and self have been changed by the experience of falling in love.
In the poem, the theme of union is prominently presented through the imagery and language used by the speaker. The speaker describes how the love he shares with his beloved has transformed their individual experiences and perceptions, creating a sense of unity and oneness between them.
The speaker states that “love, all love of other sights controls” and “makes one little room, an every where”, suggesting that their love has brought them together and created a sense of unity and wholeness.
Additionally, the speaker describes how their two faces appear in each other’s eyes, and their true hearts rest in each other’s faces, further emphasizing the theme of the union.
The speaker also suggests that their love is so strong that it will never die and that they are so alike that none will slacken. All these statements give an idea of the theme being union and oneness between the two lovers.
About The Poet – John Donne
John Donne was a prominent English poet and cleric in the Church of England during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.
He is considered one of the greatest poets of the English language and is known for his unique and unconventional style, which often dealt with themes of love, death, and religion.
Donne was born in London in 1572 to a prominent Roman Catholic family. Despite his Catholic upbringing, he later converted to Anglicanism and became a priest in the Church of England. He held several positions in the church, including Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Donne’s poetry was highly original and often dealt with themes of love, religion, and morality. He is known for his use of conceits, which are extended metaphors that often compare seemingly unrelated things to make a point. His work also often featured complex and unexpected imagery and puns.
His poetry was not widely popular during his lifetime, but his work was rediscovered in the 20th century and is now considered some of the greatest poetry in the English language.
Donne’s most famous works include “The Flea,” “The Sun Rising,” “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” and “Death Be Not Proud.”
He also wrote several sermons, which were highly regarded in their time and are still studied today. Donne died in London in 1631 and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.