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The Computation

The Computation


by John Donne

The Computation Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

The content of this poem is hard to wrap your mind around, so fortunately the form is standard English Renaissance stuff. The poem consists of five rhyming couplets: yesterday/away, past/last, two/...


The speaker is aging thousands of times faster than the rest of us. Well, no, it's not a Sci-Fi poem, the speaker is just a dramatic person and a massive exaggerator. He's the kind of person who wa...


This poem is set in a kind of Twilight Zone, with its own laws of reality and no identifiable landmarks of any kind. Almost no concrete objects are mentioned, except for "tears," "sighs," and a fai...

Sound Check

The sound of "The Computation" is centered on the five distinct couplets (two lines). There is not enjambment in this poem at all, and the only example we can find is the transition between lines 9...

What's Up With the Title?

"The Computation" is a witty and ironic title for this poem. It fits a pattern in which many of Donne's poems are titled, "The [Noun]," like, "The Flea," and "The Anniversary." A "computation" just...

Calling Card

John Donne must have been a very direct person, because his speakers always seem to be looking in the eye of some off-stage figure, and speaking to him or her directly. This off-stage figure usuall...


"The Computation" has a single, "metaphysical conceit," which it rides like a wave until the end. The poem's laser-like focus helps the reader stay focused, too, even when the syntax becomes diffic...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

This poem is as sticky-sweet with non-sexual romantic love, like a Popsicle melting on a picnic bench in the summer sun. Bring the kids, and let's have a barbecue.

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