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The Good Morrow

The Good Morrow


by John Donne

The Good Morrow Theme of Love

Surprise: love is a major theme in this love poem. But if you were expecting some rhyming syrup out of a Hallmark anniversary card, read again, friends. Crude, obscure, and over-the-top, "The Good Morrow" sheds light on a love that's so intense it zaps out the rest of reality. This stuff is ripped. Not only does it devastate a lifetime of other memories; it also destroys the desire to travel or explore, making one room (and one girl) seem cooler than anything else in the world.

Something this overwhelming deserves a worthy metaphor, and "The Good Morrow" delivers. In stanza 2 we've got the lovers portrayed as individual worlds, and in stanza 3, the speaker dips into contemporary theories of medicine to claim that this love will never die.

Questions About Love

  1. Is love possible without sex?
  2. Why does true love involve souls?
  3. How is erotic love related to geographical exploration?
  4. How would the poem's speaker answer these questions? What parts of the poem support your ideas?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

With his geographical metaphors, Donne captures love's vastness and sense of adventure. (Here GPS stands for the "Great Pleasures of Sensuality.")

True love can exist only in the moment. Poof—it makes the past disappear.

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