John Donne- The Aniversary


"The Anniversary" by John Donne is about a couple who are celebrating their first year together in a relationship. The underlying conceit of the entire poem is the metaphor of royalty, where the speaker addresses his lover, and himself, as if they were royal kings and nobles. At the same time, divine imagery and death images permeates the poem. The question under scrutiny in this paper is: how does Donne use royal imagery to convey the idea of a passionate love? There is no doubt that there are religious, divine images within the poem and that there is constant reference to death and decay, but the opening line of "all kings" immediately suggests that the central theme is indeed royalty.

The opening line immediately declares that "All kings" and all the "glory of honours, beauties, wits/ The sun itself" have aged by one year ever since the speaker met his lover. This suggests that the two lovers have been together for one year, and yet, unlike the kings and glories, and even the sun which brings life and time, the two lovers have not aged in their love. There is a reference to kings in the beginning of the poem, setting the stage for later metaphors. "All other things to their destruction draw/ Only our love hath no decay" is a grandiose (flamboyant) statement by the passionate speaker who proudly declares that while everything may decay and rot away, his love will not and does not decay. This love appears to be divine and everlasting. "This no to-morrow hath, nor yesterday" declares that his love will last forever because it has no tomorrow, and that it does not look back to yesterday, and this idea is corroborated where despite time and the love running forwards together, "it never runs from us away", suggesting that the love will never run away, but instead "truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day", being eternal and long-lasting. There is little reference to royalty apart from the first two words in the stanza, yet it can be said that the arrogant phrasing of the words and the proud and loquacious (maybe energetic) declarations of the speaker remind the reader of a kingly declaration or an announcement.

The persona then turns to talk proudly about


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