Please comment on the title of John Donne's "The Good Morrow."

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jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The "good morrow" is always to be anticipated, for the speaker's love is so consuming that the promise of another day brings the prospect of more intense love.

First, the speaker dismisses past actions and lovers as inconsequential:

I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I

Did, till we lov'd Were we not wean'd till then?

But suck'd on countrey pleasures, childishly?

Or snorted we in the seaven sleepers den?

T'was so; But this, all pleasures fancies bee.

If ever any beauty I did see,

Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dreame of thee.

The second stanza argues for letting others discover the mysteries of life. For the lovers, all the wonders of the world are found in the lovers embraces.

And now good morow to our waking soules,

Which watch not one another out of feare;

For love, all love of other sights controules,

And makes one little roome, an every where.

Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,

Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have showne,

Let us possesse one world; each hath one, and is one.

Finally, their love is complete and self-sustaining, a promise for the "morrow":

...

Without sharpe North, without declining West?

What ever dyes, was not mixed equally;

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.
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subrataray's profile pic

subrataray | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Good morrow suggests a happy beginning .The title hints at the transportation of the physical union to spiritual fusion of sensibility .The content of the poem reflects the significance of the title .

 

In the first one, the lover rejects the life he led until he experienced his present love. He describes the past as childish ("were we not weaned," "childishly") .And then he was unconscious of what love is ("Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den"?). His past loves must not be considered as serious, since he was not aware of himself at the time.This is a statement .

. . . But this, all pleasures fancies be;

If ever any beauty I did see,

Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

­ The second stanza in contrast, is a celebration of the present. Each soul has "awakened" to the other, and has discovered a whole world in it. The union is self-sufficient. It is “one little room’ . The second stanza in contrast, is a celebration of the present. Each soul has "awakened" to the other, and has discovered a whole world in it. The union is self-sufficient. It is “one little room’ Just as the four elements, earth, air, fire, and water were supposed to combine to form new substances, so two souls mix to form a new unity. The strength and durability of this new unit is dependent upon how well the elements of the two souls are balanced, as we see from these lines from The Good-Morrow:

What ever dyes, was not mixt equally;
It our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.

A good example of this state, where two lovers' souls cannot be separated, even when they are physically far apart, is seen in A Valediction: forbidding mourning:

If they be two, they are two so
As stiffe twin encompasses are two,
Thy soule the fixt foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th'other doe.

. The idea of two coming together to form one is very important in Donne's view of love. When a couple find perfect love together they become all-sufficient to one another, forming a world of their own, which has no need of the outside world. This idea is expressed in the lines from The Good-Morrow ;For love,all love of other sights controules,
And makes one little roome, an everywhere­ .

­ The third stanza shows the unification of sensibility .The discovery is a strange island that ever remains unvisited bysharp north or declining best. Their mutual bond of love can never fade ( What ever dyes was not mixed equally ) .:

Thus we may conclude that the title is next to perfection .

 

Subrata Ray .Mousumipara .Uluberia .West Bengal .

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