The Love of John Donne


The Love of John Donne

(The Love Story of Jhon Donne)

The Love of John DonneThe Love of John Donne

The Love of John Donne

John Donne (1572-1631) was one of the grand poets of the English language. He was the founder of a new genre of poetry which has been termed ‘Metaphysical Poetry’. In metaphysical poetry, a problem of a metaphysical theme is propounded first and then the problem is led to a solution or conclusion through argument after argument that is full of conceits. John Donne not only founded this genre of poetry but also practised it devotedly, influenced many of his contemporaries and established it as a special genre of poetry. Much of his poetry deals with the themes of love. He wrote more than sixty love poems which have been considered, since then, to be the finest love poems in the English language.

The personal love life of this great love poet was a wonderful one. Concerning his love for women, his love life may be divided into two distinct periods. The first period comprises of the years till his marriage and the second period comprises of the years after marriage till death. Here to note well that John Donne was a man of strange personality. He spent his morning hours studying books and books voraciously like a wise man and in the evening he led a sort of carefree, wild and vagabond life. Physically he was a strong and handsome one to look at, and mentally he was wise and full of intellect. So beautiful girls and women cared for him, honoured him and offered love to him. He, as a libertine, took the avail of it and frequented the home of ill-famed women and spent almost every evening playing and making sex orgies with them. This sort of licentious and amorous life continued till his marriage. During this period his love for women was primarily physical. Quenching his sex-thirst was the main purpose of his love for women during this first period of his life. Due to his too-licentious nature, he was often criticized badly by his relatives and friends. But he cared for those criticisms a little.

At the age of fourteen, in 1584, he passed the matriculation and studied law. Since he became a law student, he took to writing poetry. In 1597 he went abroad and travelled in Europe for three years. Already the economic status of his parents had come down and poverty followed and so to meet his livelihood he became the secretary to Lord Egerton. There he met a very beautiful girl. His eyes fell on her charming and fascinating body and fell in love with her. The name of that alluring girl was Anne More, a niece to Lord Egerton. His love for Anne was not superficial but deep. This girl turned the life way of John Donne. First, he was fascinated by Anne’s charming body and contacted physical communication with her. This physical love developed into deep spiritual love and then both became mad at each other.

One day, eventually, he eloped with her. Anne More’s father, George More felt the case shameful to his family’s reputation and hence caught him and sent him to prison, and dismissed him from his job. After spending a year in prison he was forgiven by his father-in-law, George More and he was released. Coming out of jail he ratified his marriage with Anne More and began to live in freedom, but poverty attacked his conjugal life. His father-in-law, George More, showing sympathy for Donne and Anne settled a handsome allowance for them. Then the course of Donne’s love life, especially his sex life took a new turn. His physical love soured up to spiritual love. He gave up all his past licentious life and became a changed man of morality. His love for Anne More was physical as well as spiritual. His love for her was, to say other words, passionate as well as divine. Both of two loved each other with devotion. Donne’s love, after marriage, became ideal and moral.

John Donne thought rightly that love (to the opposite sex) should be both physical and spiritual. Physical love without spirituality is a sin. Spiritual love survives even after death and it soars up to heaven. It is physical as well as spiritual love that makes a conjugal life happy and peaceful. Donne proved it through his conjugal life. 

Donne had written many love poems echoing this philosophy on love. Some of his love poems were written addressing his wife Anne More. In his love poems, he gives more emphasis on spiritual affection to each other of a pair of lovers. He writes through arguments that spiritual love is permanent and unchangeable—no power can separate those whose love is spiritual. The poet argues defending his view:

“Our two soules, therefore, which are one,

Though I must goe, endure not yet

 A breach, but an expansion 

Like gold to ayery thinnesse beate.

Again he continues to say:

If they are two, they are two so

As strife twin compasses are two,

Thy soule the fixed foot, makes no show

To, move, but doth, if the other doe.”

Love is an instinctive feeling. It knows no season, no clime, no days, no hour. In the poem The Sunne Rising, he writes:

”Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,

 Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.” 

The same philosophy is met in the poem, The Anniversary where he says that love has no destruction and it lasts long. The poet says:

”All other things to their destruction draw, 

Only our love hath no decay 

This no tomorrow hath, nor yesterday 

Running it never runs from us away

But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day.”

Spiritual love never decreases; it increases in heaven also. He says in the same poem:

”—— a love increased their above

When bodies to their graves, soules from their graves remove.” 

The poet advocates that a pair of lovers should love each other nobly. None can separate them or make treason against those who love honestly. He wishes:

”Let us love nobly, and live, and add again

Years and years unto years, till we attaine 

To write three scores: this is the second of our reigns.” 

The above-quoted lines show how deep and noble his love was for his wife. His love for his wife should be an ideal example of our conjugal life because to lead a happy and peaceful life, love between husband and wife must be both physical and spiritual and both should remain faithful to each other.  0 0 0

The Love of John Donne

N.B.  The article ‘The Love of John Donne’ originally belongs to the book ‘Love of Reputed Persons‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

The Love of John Donne

Books of Composition by M. Menonimus:

  1. Advertisement Writing
  2. Amplification Writing
  3. Note Making
  4. Paragraph Writing
  5. Notice Writing
  6. Passage Comprehension
  7. The Art of Poster Writing
  8. The Art of Letter Writing
  9. Report Writing
  10. Story Writing
  11. Substance Writing
  12. School Essays Part-I
  13. School Essays Part-II
  14. School English Grammar Part-I
  15. School English Grammar Part-II..

Books of S. Story by M. Menonimus:

  1. The Fugitive Father and Other Stories
  2. The Prostitute and Other Stories
  3. Neha’s Confession

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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