The Good Morrow Analysis and Summary: Stanza by Stanza | John Donne

The Good Morrow Analysis

John Donne, after careful analysis of his life, decided to write “The Good Morrow”. In this poem, he compares his former life with the present and concludes that his present life is better than the previous one. Through arguments, he substantiates his stance; therefore, the whole poem is based on arguments. He also quotes some examples from the past. Mainly, they belong to myth. Donne links these examples with his own life. It seems that he is trying to prove something. Perhaps, he wants to prove the superiority of love over other material things. It is one of the major characteristics of Donne’s poetry that he considers loving the greatest thing in the whole world. However, the pleasure of love is dependent on the beloved, thinks Donne. One can only feel the beauty of love if he has a loyal beloved. In order to determine the beauty in Donne’s love, let us do an analysis of “The Good Morrow”.

The Good Morrow Analysis and Summary: Stanza by Stanza | John Donne

Title Analysis of “The Good Morrow”:

The analysis must be deeper if we want to acknowledge the proper meaning of “The Good Morrow”. Generally, the name of the poem originates three meanings; the following day, the time following an event and the near future. It also means a fresh morning. If we combine all these meanings, then we come to the conclusion that John Donne talks about freshness, which he feels is present in his future life. He just not only talks about it but also is hopeful about his upcoming life. The previous life of John Donne was a waste but the present and future life are not the same. Another meaning, which is derived from “The Good Morrow”, is that the poet wants to forget his past life. He wants to start it afresh. It seems that he has awakened from a long sleep. Now, he wants to start a new life with new passion and hope.

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Stanza 1 Analysis of “The Good Morrow”:

John Donne in this poem is not only a poet but also a lover. As a lover, he expresses his gratitude towards the life, he currently is spending. He along with his beloved laments his previous life. Before falling in love, they were leading a tasteless life. They were unaware of the beauty of life, which is only possible if they have the power of love in their hands. The past days of their lives were rustic and childish. Donne then quotes the incident of “seaven sleepers [of] den?”. It is an incident from the myth but is also mentioned in the Bible that seven persons took shelter in a cave. They slept there for more than two hundred years but when they woke up, they did not realize the duration of their sleep. Thus, they could not understand what happened to them.

The poet and his beloved have also spent a life like the seven sleepers of the den. They had no knowledge about life and love. They were in a long sleep. Donne puts his life and the life of the seven sleepers in juxtaposition. He compares his life with theirs and finds no dissimilarity between them. In his previous life, Donne may have found beauty in a woman but he does not consider it true; it was a fancy; “twas but a dreame of thee”. Their beauty was just the reflection of his beloved. Thus, in the first stanza of “The Good Morrow”, John Donne has begun his love analysis along with scrutiny of his past life.

Stanza 2 Analysis of “The Good Morrow”:

Stanza 2 of “The Good Morrow” is an in-depth analysis of the lovers’ world. There is a sharp contrast between the world of love and the world of reality. Many people are attached to material things but in Donne’s eyes, true happiness lies within love. Readers can also witness the development of thought in this poem. The poet has changed his thinking. He has wasted his previous life. Although it is painful, yet the poet wants to forget it completely as finally, he sees no more darkness in his life. Poet’s life is far away from irrationality, jealousy and suspicion. If anything is present in his life then that thing is love.

The contrast between Two Worlds:

Analysis of “The Good Morrow” remains successful in presenting a contrast between the two worlds. The world of love and the world of materiality. The poet prefers the world of love. A room where the poet and his beloved reside is enough for them to lead a peaceful and happy life. They do not need anything else. The poet and his beloved do not want to discover new worlds. It is the duty of “sea-discoverers” not the poet to find “new worlds”. Poet and his beloved are happy with their lives. John Donne in this stanza has shown that the world of love is far superior to every other world. Hence, in “The Good Morrow”, there is an excellent analysis and sharp contrast between the two worlds.

Stanza 3 Analysis of “The Good Morrow”:

There is an enhancement in the Stanza 3 of the poem. While appreciating the beauty of his world, the poet talks about unity. His face shines in the eyes of his beloved. Similarly, his beloved’s face shines in his eyes. “My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares”. The poet and his beloved have created a complete world from their love but there is no possibility of decay in it. The geographical world is temporary and it has “sharpe North” and a “declining West”, whereas the poet’s world is eternal. Their love is immortal and there is oneness in their love. Here, in the last stanza of “The Good Morrow”, the poet makes a clear analysis of equality and unity. Readers witness the fine wit of John Donne as Leonard Unger witnessed. He said:-

“the lovers, who speaks the poem, gives no hint of being involved in an ironical situation, or of entertaining any complexity of attitudes. He dismissed the geographical world and affirms the world of love.”

Leonard Unger

Imagery analysis in “The Good Morrow”:

Although the poet talks about the spirituality of love, there are some references and images, which are from the myth. Some examples of images, used in the poem, are: “hemisphere”, “geographical world”, “discoverers”, “seven sleepers of den”, “room” etc. Donne has a variety of images. Every poem has a different type of imagery. Moreover, Donne’s imagery is not imaginative nor is it supernatural. He exemplifies his point of view from real-life examples. For instance, “maps”, “room” and “seas” are known to everyone. Thus, the imagery of John Donne is simple yet forceful.

This poem is typical of John Donne. Line to line and stanza to stanza, readers find arguments. It is an outstanding characteristic of Donne’s poetry. The style of the poet is colloquial. As mentioned earlier, it seems from the poem that the poet is trying to prove something. Hence, it is not wrong to say that “The Good Morrow” shows keen analysis and interpretation of the lover’s world.