The Metaphysical Poets by Joan van Emden (auth.)

By Joan van Emden (auth.)

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Donne is not, however, making abstract statements, but holding a conversation with his beloved. What could be more colloquial and apparently casual than the opening line, 'I wonder, by my troth.. ', and when did such a small and insignificant word as 'did ' carry such enormous stress? The previous line leads up to it, it is the first word of the line and is followed by a comma. A simple word, 'did', sums up the whole of the lovers' past lives. Donne then looks more closely at the past. It was spent accepting, as a baby at the breast, whatever it received with indiscriminate, naive enjoyment.

2. And now the lovers wake, gazing at one another not because of lack of trust , but because love limits enjoyment of any other sight than the beloved, and makes their room, small as it is, a universe. Others may go on voyages of discovery to find new worlds, or in making maps, identify more and more worlds ; the lovers possess one world which is two, each being and possessing a whole. 3. Each sees his or her own face reflected in the eyes of the beloved, and their faces show the truth and sincerity of their hearts .

When I love thee not, Chaos is come again. ) In the creation of man, the Bible declares that God breathed the breath of life and 'man became a living soul'. It is difficult to define the word 'soul' , although we probably know instinctively what is meant : it is that essential part of the human being which is not material and yet is associated with the individual personality , and which survives after death. In 'The Funerall', Donne sees the soul as that part of himself which has gone to heaven (leaving the external soul, the hair of his mistress, in control of his body).

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