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A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning by John Donne


"A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" is a poem written by John Donne. This poem is about the passing of men and how we mourn them. The poem begins by stating as they pass mildly away, their friends say "no". It goes on to state that we should live our lives and show our love, not mourn for them as they have passed and our mourning will not change it.

This writing consists of nine stanzas with four lines in each. Even though there isn't a set syllable structure, much of the poem is written in iambic-quadrameter (two-feet in four meters). Nonetheless, some lines move to nine syllables and others move to ten, such as the first line of the poem. "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" has the rhyme scheme ABAB.


A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"The breath goes now," and some say, "No:"

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refin'd,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begun.

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