illustration of a person standing at the center of a circle and another person at the perimeter walking around, the two of them connected by a compass

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

by John Donne

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Topics for Further Study

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Read William Butler Yeats' "The Second Coming." What would the speaker of Yeats' poem say about the images that Donne uses?

Compare the ideas expressed in this poem to those expressed in William Wordsworth's "My Heart Leaps Up." What do the two poems tell you about youth? About nature? Does the fact that they were published 175 years apart affect how you understand their meaning, or not?

Do you agree with the ideas in the fourth stanza? Explain what you think of those who "cannot admit absence."

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