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8/30/2018

Critical appreciation of "The Good Morrow"


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“The  Good  Morrow” is an exquisite piece of metaphysical poetry. The poem was first published in a collection entitled “Songs and Sonnets.” It is about contentment in love.
It is a short lyric of three stanzas, each consisting of seven lines. The rhyme scheme of the stanzas is ababccc. In the first four lines of each stanza the arguments are introduced and in the last three lies which rhyme together, the conclusion is reached. The poem opens dramatically in the tradition of metaphysical poetry:
I wonder by my troth, what thou,and I Did , till we lov’d?

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. In the second stanza the lover says that they together constitute a single world. In this stanza he generalises that true love prevents a lover from falling in love with any other person. In the third stanza, the lover argues that their love is the union of the souls, and so, it is immortal.

The theme of love has been developed argumentatively from surprise to confidence and then to immortality. Donne uses several conceits to develop the thought.

The conceits are:
a) The comparison between the unaware lovers and the breast-fed babies;
b) The comparison between the unconscious lovers and the “seven sleepers” who slept for two hundred years;
c) The comparison between the lovers’ micro-world with the real world; and
d) The comparison between the two hemispheres and the two lovers.

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.

The poem is a dramatic monologue in form though it differs from a formal dramatic monologue. Its abrupt  beginning, single speaker and silent listener conform to the tradition of the dramatic monologue. But it does not have the psychological tension that a dramatic monologue of Browning has. Moreover, its arguments are not found in a dramatic monologue.

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