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John Donne'S Songs And Sonets

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John Donne's Songs and Sonets include love poetry with very different attitudes towards the relationship between men and women. Four such poems, "The Sun Rising", "Song", "The Flea", and "The Undertaking", show very contradictory views of what love is and should be. Each of these poems give a diverse even conflicting view of love because they represent the different kinds of love a person encounters throughout their life; starting with young infatuation love, moving to bitter love, changing to physical love, and ending with content love

"The Sun Rising" offers the first relationship level, that of infatuation. In this poem, we see the author chide the sun for rising and starting a new day. The speaker gives the impression of a young man with a first love. He wishes for the day not to start because he wants to stay in this little world, "This bed the center is, these walls thy sphere." But he also wants to stay in this feeling and not have it grow into more complicated matters. In the beginning, he is complaining to the sun, "Busy old fool, unruly sun, / Why dost thou thus / through windows, and through curtains, call on us?" He goes on to tell the sun that it should call on late schoolboys and sour apprentices. This line clues the readers into the author's age. We can guess he is not a young schoolboy but nor is he old enough to have a chosen career path chosen of an apprentice. This leads the readers to see a youthful adult's view of love. In this, he also illustrate his wishes to not only remain in bed but also to remain youthful and not grow older and lose his happy blinders. The author then continues to describe his lover and himself as "She's all states, and all princes I", and their love and happiness as better than even the sun in "Thou, sun, art half as happy as we." In both these lines, the reader sees the narrator describing absurd and impossible concepts. But then again, young love has absurd notions of grandeur.

The "Song" represents a very cynical view of the man/woman relationship. In the beginning of his poem, the speaker gives the reader a list of impossible tasks to accomplish. Some of these tasks include "Go catch a falling star" and "Teach me to hear mermaids singing". He then states that even if you find all these items, he has a stranger sight to behold, that of a faithful woman. In the final stanza, we see the author waver in his contempt for the female sex in his resolve by stating, "if thou findst one let me know/ Such a pilgrimage were sweet." Here he contemplates the notion that maybe not all women are unfaithful that there might be one more woman fair and true. But he turns cynical again with the last four lines by saying that he would not go see her. For if she was fair and true when you left that even if she lived next door, she would have been unfaithful two or three times by the time he arrived. In this cynicism, we are able to perceive an unreliable presenter, and we can surmise that the voice is that of a jilted lover whose woman has been unfaithful.

"The Flea" differs in that it is a persuasive poem in which the speaker's only concern for the woman present is for a sexual union no matter what her dispute may be. Thus, based on her rejection, the speaker twists his argument, making that which he requests seem minor. Donne achieves this by bringing out and shaping this meaning through his collaborative use of trifling nature, rhythm, and rhyme scheme. In the beginning, Donne uses the flea as an irrelevance to represent a sexual union with his companion. For instance, in the first stanza a flea bites the speaker and woman. He responds to this incident by saying, "And in this flea our bloods mingled be." He suggests that they are already united in this flea and, as a result, are already united intimately. In addition, he states, "This flea is you and I, and this our marriage bed, and marriage temple is." The speaker persists by proposing that through the flea the two are married and their union



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