The Canonization

by John Donne

Start Free Trial

Student Question

How does "The Canonization" represent metaphysical poetry's logical precision and union of thought and feeling?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"The Canonization," by John Donne, is an argument.  In this argument the speaker presents a logical and persuasive defense of his love.  He speaks to a listener who has criticized the speaker's current state of being in love by mentioning the speaker's financial status ("ruined fortune") or his age (his "five grey hairs").  The speaker responds with defiance--haven't you better things to do than to criticize my love?  In other words, mind your own business.  What follows, however, is a tight argument of which any defense lawyer would be proud.  The speaker declares that his love is not hurting anyone else or changed the world in any way--soldiers still fight; lawyers still litigate.  The listener objects with the fact that the speaker is hurting himself.  The speaker's rebuttal is brilliant.  He offers an analogy and a definition of love.  Yes, the speaker claims, my lover and I do destroy ourselves through our love, just as a candle destroys itself to produce light.  However, he goes on to compare the lovers to a phoenix that rises from the ashes: "We die and rise the same."  This is the mystery and miracle of love: two people lose their separateness and become one.  In this way the speaker shoots down the listener's objections, and further drives his point home by declaring that instead of criticizing his love, the listener and the rest of the world will want to emulate it and praise it.  The speaker refutes each of the listener's objections and provides a powerful defense of his wondrous, miraculous love--worthy of canonization, not condemnation.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial