John Donne- The Good Morrow

  • ‘The Good Morrow’ centres on the speaker’s contemplation and veneration of spiritual love.
  • Donne manages the pace of the lines by delaying the arrival of the verb “did” to create the speaker’s sense of awe in the opening question, “I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I/ Did, till we loved?”
  • Although the speaker describes the lover’s physical form, “but this, all pleasures fancies be” and gives a nod to the pursuit of physical love “If ever any beauty I did see,/Which I desired, and got” the reader is conscious of spiritual resonance: “ ’twas but a dream of thee.”
  • In contrast to poems such as ‘The Flea’ in which the speaker pursues sexual love and ‘The Sun Rising’ in which the speaker boasts of his possession, in ‘The Good Morrow’ the speaker forgoes the desire to compete: “Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,/ Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have shown”.
  • The speaker presents the lovers’ possession of each other as entirely reciprocal, “Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.”
  • Donne does not invest in persuasive devices with the same urgent design as in `The Flea’, instead he presents a conceit that seems to arise as a result of contemplation of the lover’s face, “Where can we find two better hemispheres/ Without sharp north, without declining west?”
  • The speaker is conscious that love has wrought a change in his perspective: “For love, all love of other sights controls,/And makes one little room, an everywhere.”
  • Indeed, in ‘The Good Morrow,’ Donne persuades the reader of the positive effects of love – the tone of calm contentment illustrates the speaker’s overwhelming sense of completion and wholeness.
  • The poem moves from past to present to future. 
  • We are given very little physical detail about what…


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