John Donne's Songs and Sonnets Questions and Answers
by John Donne

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What literary devices are in Donne's poem "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning"?

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"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" is stuffed to the brim with literary devices, from the sound and rhythm of the poem to the way it represents ideas.

Form/rhyme scheme: This poem is a formal one, and has a set pattern. It is arranged in quatrains with pairs of rhyming couplets, with an ABAB rhyme scheme (eNotes "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" - Style). This means that the first and third lines of each stanza will rhyme, and the second and fourth will rhyme. See? (text of the poem available in eNotes "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" study guide)

(A) As virtuous men pass mildly away,
(B) And whisper to their souls to go,
(A) Whilst some of their sad friends do say, The
(B) breath goes now, and some say, No:

There's also a bit of hyperbole, or exaggeration to make a point--Donne tells his wife to create "No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests." Of course, no one could cry a whole flood; he's just using exaggeration to show how sad she could appear. This particular hyperbole is also metaphor ,...

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