A Critical Appreciation of "The Good-Morrow" Written by John Donne


«The Good-Morrow» is an exquisite piece of metaphysical poetry. Donne wrote it at a comparatively early age and the poem was published in a collection entitled as «Songs and Sonnets».

The poem is a short lyric of three stanzas, each stanza consisting of seven lines. The rhyme scheme of each of the stanzas is ababccc. The poem opens with a surprise, which has been promoted to dependence in love in the middle part of the poem. In the end of the poem, the love has been given immortality. Arguments have been used to develop the theme. The poem conforms to the tradition of metaphysical poetry in its development of thought. It opens dramatically.

Its sudden conversational opening arrests the attention of the readers. Then follow several questions implying the surprise of the speaker at the discovery that they had already been in love before they became aware of it. The innocence of love at this stage has been suggested by a comparison with the breast fed babies. The unconscious state of the lovers has been suggested by a comparison with the «seven sleepers». Then the lover assures his beloved saying that all his imagination about love was centered round her.

In the second stanza, the lover very confidently invites his beloved to welcome their love. He compares each of them to two separate worlds and says that they together constitute a single world. In this stanza he generalizes that pure love saves a lover from falling in love with any other person.

In the third stanza, the lover again admits that they are separate individuals but he emphasizes the inseparable union of their souls. The union of the souls, he confidently demands, will continue even after death. Thus, the theme of love of this poem develops logically from surprise to confidence and then to immortality.

The images of the poem are vivid. There are pictures of breast fed babies, snorting seven sleepers and hemispheres. All these images have been used to suggest the unique nature of the love in the poem. The images, no doubt, reveal the poet’s capacity of making scholarly images.

The poem is free from bitterness, grief and cynicism. There is neither disappointment nor disgust. A note of contentment runs through the poem. In the beginning the tone is of surprise, then it shifts to contentment, and finally, to spirituality. Moreover, its theme has been developed through passionate arguments, and here it differs from a dramatic monologue.

Almahmud Rony