What are the different stages of love in "The Good Morrow" by John Donne?How does Donne attempt to harmonize the physical love with  the spiritual in the poem "The Good Morrow"?

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The beautiful love poem "The Good-Morrow," by Donne, traces the development of love between a man and woman.  It begins with a description of the changes love brought to their lives.  Love "awakened" their souls from what seemed to be a long sleep, it made every former love interest seem only a dream, it matured them.  From the first, it is obvious, then, that the speaker is describing both a spiritual and physical union, with love having transformational powers over their bodies and souls.

In the second stanza, the speaker expands upon the union of the two souls and the present stage of the lovers' relationship.  Because their love is self-sufficient, it becomes a world to them. Love "makes one little room an everywhere."  The two lovers need nothing else but each other.

In the third stanza, the subject concerns the future stage of their love.  The image used to portray this stage is a brilliant blend of spiritual and physical references.  The two lovers are physically gazing into each other's eyes, where each sees his or her own reflection. This image is a perfect metaphor not only for sexual union but also spiritual union.  In this way, the two are physically and spiritually joined, as the image demonstrates the claim made in the previous stanza:  "let us possess one world; each hath one and is one."  The two lovers' perfect union of souls, eyes, bodies is what enables their love to last forever:

If our two loves be one, or thou and I

Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

This love therefore is able to transcend the physical limitations of mortality and death and never experience the "declining west" of a sunset or day's end.  It will always be a "good-morrow."

 

 

Read the study guide:
John Donne's Songs and Sonnets

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