skip to main | skip to sidebar
Home » » Comment on the variety of moods in Donne's love poems?
Donne's love poems cover a wide range of feelings from extreme physical passion to spiritual love. They express varied moods ranging from cynicism and contempt to one of faith and acceptance. His emotions are and bookish but rather deeply rooted in his personal experiences. Rejecting Petrarchan love tradition, Donne wrote love poems, based on intense realism.
 the variety of moods in Donne's love poems

There are mainly three strains of his love poetry: First there is the cynical strain and his attitude towards women and their love and constancy, is one of contempt and rejection as we find, in the song, "Go and Catch a Falling Star". By drawing several analogies, the poet suggests the impossibility of finding out a true and fair woman. He wants to say that a woman is constant only when she is ugly and there is none to love her. On the contrary, a beautiful woman, who is the object of common admiration, can faithful to a liver at a particular moment, but she can never remain faithful for long.

Secondly, there is the strain of conjugal love as in " Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" addressed to his wife Anne Moore whom he loved passionately and in his relationship with her he attained spiritual peace and serenity. Offering consolation to his wife for his short absence, caused by a foreign travel, the poet says that true lovers are not afraid of separation. Ordinary lovers who are addicted to physical enjoyment only may not stand a temporary separation. But the love of the poet and his beloved wife is different from others. This love is based on the union of two souls and therefore, it is celestial.

Thirdly, there is the platonic strain of love as in "The Canonization" in which love is treated as holy passion, not different from the love of a devotee for his Maker. "The Canonization" expresses Donne's positive attitude towards love, an attitude of satisfaction and absorption in a love-relationship. Several critics have taken it to be an expression of the poet's love for Anne Moore, whom he loved passionately and devotedly, and elopement and subsequent marriage to whom, ruined his fortunes. But nothing can be asserted with certainty in this respect, whatever the fact is, the tone of this poem is much the same as that of, "The Good-Morrow" and "The Sun Rising". As in those poems the mood here is one of perfect contentment.

Again in between the cynical realistic strain and the highest spiritual strain, there are a number of poems which show an endless variety of moods and tones. There are poems in which the tone is harsh and defiant, others which are coarse and brutal. There are still others in which he holds out a mocking threat to his faithless mistress, and a few others in which he is found in a reflective mood. In fact, Donne's love poetry is remarkable for its endless variety of moods and tones. More often than not a number of strains and moods are mixed up in the same poem. This makes Donne as a love poet singularly original, unconventional and realistic.

To conclude, we can say, the dominant note in Donne's love poetry is neither sensual passion, nor gay and cynical wit, nor scorn and anger . In fact, his love poetry deals with the infinite quality of passion, and of the relapses and reactions from passion. His greatness as a love poet lies in the fact that his experience of passion covers a wide range from its lowest depth to its highest reaches. One remarkable thing about him is that he does not despise the flesh. He accepts the physical beauty as an embodiment of the soul's beauty.


Post a Comment

Back To Top