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John Donne is a metaphysical poet who wrote a poem known as the Canonization. This poem was published first in the year 1633 and it exemplifies John’s irony as well as his wit. He addressed the poem from one friend to another. However, the poem focuses mainly on romantic love complexity. Love is presented as so all consuming as lovers are observed forgoing other pursuits so that they can spend time together. Love is asceticism in this sense and this is a major conceit in the poem. The title of the poem plays a dual role. The poem serves the role of a canonization of the lovers’ pair while the poet argues that his love will canonize him into a form of sainthood.

Canonization is a term that refers to the practice of catholic of sanctify worthy people by preferring upon them sainthood. John Donne requests bitterly in this poem then that if it is not possible for his love on earth to be worthy, then it should let his partnership exist in heaven. He wished this could be that way even if it is only as a saintly legend as well as an example to others. The speaker in this poem seems to address another individual whose attitude to the relationship of Donne in the past must have been dismissive. Donne goes to the extent of invoking the assistance of his God when speaking to this person. For instance, through prayer, requesting his critic to remain quiet for the sake of God even if it is not his own sake.

In the opening stanza, John Donne challenges his critic in presumption of possessing worldly concerns that would be hard to sit with the kind of love he enjoys himself with his beloved. He talks of pomp, status, rank, as well as the ceremony that demeans the world of critics. With his new love, the speaker hopes that he moves beyond trivialities of the earth. Donne in the second stanza proceeds to deride his vales of critic as well as also pouring scorn upon the poets of the old-time with their sighing and tears talk. He asserts that his own love will not have a detrimental effect on anyone else or lead to the sinking of ships under waves of tears.
Next is unity which is a famous theme with Donne. It is a significant theme both in the ideas of Donne’s love in which case two can be one, but similarly in the sacrament of marriage in catholic as well as in the Trinity. John Donne make use of many metaphors to show the sheer dimensions as well as the quality of his love for instance as a candle and a moth. The aptness of the candle is indicative of how the couple will survive as well as die from their own resources. Following is analysis of metaphysical conceit as used by John Donne (Donne 14).

Metaphysical Conceit 

Conceit is an extended metaphor in literature and is comprised of logic that is complex and governs a passage in the poem or the entire poem. In his sermons, passages, as well as poems, John Donne makes use of metaphysical conceit to communicate to the reader a message. There are many instances of John’s use of metaphors and his conveyance of ideas via imagery as well as alternative ways of thinking. Following is an illustration of some of his poignant metaphors used in Jon Donne’s work the Canonization.

John Donne poem called The Canonization is written in a metaphysical conceit way. The first stanza of the canonization starts with one of the most popular as well as humorous lines in poetry to be written. Donne then continues to make a comparison between professions and love. Donne says, “Take you a course, get you a place, /Observe His Honor, or His Grace,” (Donne) and by that Donne conjure clerk’s imagery. The comparison of money to love is also indicative of metaphysical conceit where Donne says, “ruined fortune…/With wealth your state…/Or the King’s real, or his stamped face” (Donne 25). The comparison shifts to liquid in the second stanza. John Donne writes concerning merchant ships, sighs drowned, a hot-water plague, and the overflowing tears. The flooding, plain water, tears, drowning, and the wetness of ocean water could very probably be construed a metaphor that is related to sex in which case Donne compares to the flow of sexual fluids.

In the third stanza of canonization, metaphysical conceit takes to the air. Love is paralleled with dove by Donne as well as the eagle and phoenix. Similarly to the way birds connote fear and prowess in different levels so that these levels are applied to love in which case love can be brave, strong, or peaceful. The comparison becomes more religious in the final two stanzas. The imagery turns to ashes, urns, religious, and tombs canonization. Afterwards, the narrator together with his lover is in parallel with a religious saints’ quest known as a hermitage. Donne in The Canonization shifts from the ideal to the natural parallelization to the religious. Donne makes numerous comparisons that dominate practically the poem’s description. Instead of using similes such as my love is like a red, red rose to compare the love, Donne describes the love by way of water, birds, religious quests, and money without going into the description of love in a lengthy manner like in an act beyond the opening, “For God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love” (Donne).

Language and Form

In his work, John Donne used images derived from daily life as well as from sciences, crafts, and technology available during his time. The language used by Donne is so enigmatic as well as metaphorical. He used the language of his time which was the everyday used language. This made his work of poetry to strike among the poetry work of others since he used elevated poetry styles. To be more specific in his canonization poetry, the begging sentence which is, “For God’s sake hold your tongue and let me love”. This sentence is hardly poetic and the language used indicates the use similar to that of ordinary conversation. Donne’s poetry work is structured in form of a dialogue and it is only one half of it is heard.

Donne uses conversational style deliberate forming an effect of peculiar rhythm. A double series of stresses are contained in every verse line. One is composed of the normal conversation stresses whilst the other is of the foot’s staple iambic foot. The use of rime echoes the iambic rhythm which is overridden by the counterpoint effect of the style of conversation. The speaker in the poem probably slurs the listener’s expected riming sound. The form of John Donne’s canonization is revealed by the poem’s five stanzas that are metered in iambic lines. These lines range from trimester to pentameter. The range is found in each of the stanzas of the nine lines. That is the first; third, fourth, as well as the seventh lines appear in pentameter whilst the second, sixth, eighth, as well as the fifth appear in tetrameter. The stress pattern occurs as 545544543 in each stanza. In each stanza, the rhyme scheme is ABBACCCDD.

The canonization structure is that of a love lyric as well as operating within constrains of considerable structure. The poem is made up of 5 stanzas each with nine lines and a Rhyme scheme of ABBACCCAA. This structure could be described as a Quatrain which is alternative proceeded by a tercet as well as a rhyming couplet hence highlighting the origins of the epigrammatic of Metaphysical poetry. None of these sections however are separated by voltars. This format is strict and could be understood as revealing social constrains within which must be needed to the person as well as to whom the love of the person is held accountable. There is variance in the distance between the meters of the lines within each stanzas alternating between pentameters, tetrameter, as well as the trimester of the iambi which are changing foot often as well. However, there is some consistence between stanzas of these various meters. This reflects a metaphysical try at a more rhythm of conversation in order to become more accessible in meaning. Distinct stages are allowed in the development in the argument of the persona but these jumbled stages may be compared in comparison. The viewpoint of the society is described in the first stanza and judgment is passed on that viewpoint. The case of the persona’s argument is presented in the second stanza. Therefore, a decision is already made prior the reader has heard all cases thereby forcing them to agree to the text message as well as allowing stanzas to carry out on that assumption of agreement. The structure has played a main role in persuading the readers as well as manipulating the position of the reader.

Reflection of Life in Poetry (faith in god)

Reflection of life in poetry involves knowing how we can begin a relationship with God as well as deepen the same association upon its existence. God whom we speak of is the most holy Trinity as reflected in John Donne poetry. John Donne was a 17th century poet-priest of Anglican and his work helps us to examine as well as reflect on the relationship we possess with God.

Reflection of life in The Canonization is displayed in the comparison between love and the saints’ martyrdom. Through an alternative religion to Orthodox Christianity as well as the societal conversion is where establishment of love occurs as well as its propagation. Canonization is a poem that possesses direct religious connotations. Donne however manipulates the preconceptions of the reader so as to provide meaning. We are made to think of canonization in idyllic saints’ terms given specific devotion by the Roman Catholic Church. Donne is originally a Roman Catholic himself and despite that he writes against Catholicism and is hence critical of this Romanism view of saints. Donne instead contrasts these preconceptions of the reader with the actual struggle as well as torture of martyrdom that formed these saints.

Reflection of life is evident through references made to God. For instance, there are numerous references that are made to God especially where occurrences are seen as acts of God. Donne is displayed as verging on apostasy because he criticizes God discretely through pointing out that love is not involved in causing the disasters for which can be viewed to be caused by God. God is whereas seen to cause the Egyptian ten plagues in the Bible thereby striking many individuals dead. Donne writes, “When did the heats which my veins fill Adde one man to the palguie Bill?” (Donne 75). Reflection of life is thus established by their association with God which in this poem is shown by the fact that love is established as Orthodox alternative religion via understanding of Christianity. Donne reveals reflection of life in The Canonization through metaphysical conceit in which case he talks about religious matter through comparing it to love. This poem shows that love does not hurt the society in any way similarly to religion.

The third stanza of The Canonization reveals much of life in God as it concentrates on the issue of the saintly nature of love. Donne is seen criticizing love which interprets his criticism for religion. The canonization reflects much on life martyrdom of lovers which is comparable to the religion of love. The religious connotations of resurrection awaiting the lovers are brought about by the alludation of the mythological phoenix. These spiritual understanding are however called into question by following sexual images. Combining such copulative images with the religious connotations of resurrection is almost blasphemous. The final line of the third stanza displays love as mysterious and this possesses further religious overtones with the comprehension that the word sacrament originates from mystery which is a Latin term. The sexual act is changed into a Sacrament which the two saints celebrate through worship of the love religion. This poem concentrates on evangelizing in the name of the religion called love.

Life is shown to intrinsic as a result of love. Hence the reflection of life in The Canonization is revealed through association of love and life. Donne uses metaphysical conceit to show how individuals reflect their lives. Donne compares love with the belief as well as the acts of acts of God (Salenius 195).

The Women in Donne’s poems

Gender matters are passionately and deeply disturbing for all of as and for Donne as well. In most of his work, we observe that Donne writes constantly about gender roles as well as about women. Both of these two are expounded indirectly and explicitly via analogue as well as metaphor. In The Canonization to be more specific, John Donne studies the gender in a depersonalized way in which case he has an objective view of women that they are merely love objects instead of being participants who are active in the love affair. This idea is backed by the fact that in leading up to the female introduction, the males own the love. This isn’t only in the fact that he offers the love discourse but rather it is referred often as my love and he needs to release from the taunts of society as the only lover. However, this is either spoken him by him or either separated from him. Love in this poem is male dominated and this is displayed via the gaps as well as the silences. The essence of the love itself is emphasized more on the third stanza. The voice of the female is joined to Donne whereas that of the male retains command of the discourse. Hence, the women in Donne poem The Canonization are not given priority in love affairs as compared to men who dominate love.

Donne in The Canonization uses a dove to show the gentleness of women hence the women in this poem are to some extent seen as inferior as compared to men. Donne unlike his predecessors lingers rarely over the physical appearance of the woman. The woman in Donne’s poetry work is thought as a shadowy figure by the 20th century critics for the above reason. The woman is thought as the reflection or object of male desire, a self-fashioning pretext, the poet’s professional aspirations’ metaphor, an object to be circulated for sex titillation as well as Donnie’s male coterie amusement. Donne has not be found to critique women in his poetry work but rather critics are the ones who disregarded as well as disembodied the women present in his poems. There are many terms which have been used to refer to Donne in regard to the women issue. Donne has been called a misogynist who loathed the bodies of women as well as scorning their minds. Additionally he was called a metaphysician who is not interested in emotions more than in intellection, a careerist as well as an egotist who utilized women for his personal advantage. However, it is difficult to determine a systematic view of women by Donne (Smith 401).


John Donne is a metaphysical poet who has written many poems and among the major ones discussed in this essay is The Canonization. Canonization refers to the catholic practice of sanctifying individuals by conferring upon them sainthood. John Donne’s canonization is a complex poem of rhetoric that utilizes poetic as well as persuasive techniques to manipulate readers via understanding differently the place of love within society. Starting with the condemnation of over love by society, an argument is established by the persona by which means conventional religion is challenged by love prior taking its religious place including structure as well as religion among others. This transformation has been seen as a result of using different techniques such as metaphysical conceit as seen in this paper. The entire poem is performed within the style of metaphysical conceit as recognized in its trial to convert. John Donne has been seen to considerable extent linking the enigmatic opposites of human sexuality as well as spirituality within the religion of love by creating the intricate expression forum.   

Most of his poems employ the use of metaphors particularly The Canonization and it is where he derives his metaphysical poet reference. The language used in this poetry work is basically that which was used during his time that is normal daily conversation. Reflection of Donne’s poetry life has been shown to enhance the belief of individual’s faith as revealed by comparing love with religious matters. Further, looking at Donne’s poetry work, we have realized that he make several reference to women. A woman is not shown to possess the power of love in Donne’s poem The Canonization. A woman is represented as a dove to represent gentleness in this poem.  He does not focus mostly on the physical appearance of women but rather as a shadowy figure. Hence Donne’s poetry work is aimed at displaying different things depending on the interest of the reader.

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