The Good-Morrow

by John Donne

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Can you describe Donne's treatment of love in the poem "The Good Morrow"?

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In his poem "The Good Morrow," Donne's main vehicle to describe his vision of love is spatial; he uses many maps, globes, and locations in the poem, and they are his way of understanding the nature of love.  In the first stanza, Donne merges time and space by wondering what he and his beloved did before they met: he imagines them inhabiting many locations separately, such as "the seven sleeper's den," and in a "country," pastoral setting.  The two lovers' meeting, however, has repositioned them to a new location.  By the third stanza, the beloved's "face" appears in the speaker's "eye," and he appears in his beloved's.  As a result, their falling in love results in a literal movement across space.  The poem also suggests that love has the power to manipulate space, in that it can "make one little room an everywhere."  Similarly, Donne employs other map and exploration metaphors when he states that he and his beloved are "two better hemispheres" than those found on the literal earth.  The poem seems to eschew actual, earthly locations (such as those that can be mapped and explored physically) for the higher level of existence embodied by love (this also resonates with his use of mythical locales like the sleeper's den and the pastoral wood).  In other words, basically, love is simply otherworldly.

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