The Canonization | John Donne | Metaphysical Poetry
The Canonization by John Donne

The Canonization is a metaphysical poem by βœ’οΈ the metaphysical poet John Donne. The poem is packed πŸ”„ with the irony and wit of the poet as he tries to narrate his relationship with his loverπŸ‘©β€β€οΈβ€πŸ’‹β€πŸ‘¨ to his friend. The identity of the friend is not revealed.

The poem was published in the poetry collection, Poems, published posthumously in the year πŸ—“οΈ 1633. The Canonization is structured into five stanzas of nine lines each.

πŸ‘† Meet John Donne, the poet of ‘The Canonization’

The Angry Speaker 😠

For God’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love,

Or chide my palsy, or my gout,

My five gray hairs, or ruined fortune flout,

With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve,

Take you a course, get you a place,

Observe his honor, or his grace,

Or the king’s real, or his stampΓ¨d face Contemplate; what you will, approve,

So you will let me love.

Very strange start for a poem, right? An angry and raging speaker πŸ”Š. Why is the reader angry πŸ€”? Will he explode πŸ’£? Come on βœŒοΈβ€¦ Let’s know the reason…

The speaker begins shouting against someone for interfering in his love life πŸ’–. He suggests that intrusive to find fault with his old age troubles or his unstable financial status.

The speaker in The Canonization suggests to indicate his gray hairs πŸ’‡πŸΌβ€β™‚οΈor palsy in his gout. He also suggests that someone indulge himself in something that would improve his own mind and wealth πŸ’΄. Do whatever, but the speaker wants none πŸ™…πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ to deal with his matters of love. The intrusive was actually slapped with an MYOB πŸ˜‰.

⚠️Warning: Never interfere in his love 😍. The speaker will boom πŸ’₯.

Unfleeting Love 😍

The Canonization | John Donne | Metaphysical Poetry
Will it flood or drought if the poet has fallen deeply in love with his beloved 😏?

Alas, alas, who’s injured by my love? What merchant’s ships have my sighs drowned?

Who says my tears have overflowed his ground?

When did my colds a forward spring remove?

When did the heats which my veins fill Add one more to the plaguy bill?

Soldiers find wars, and lawyers find out still

Litigious men, which quarrels move,

Though she and I do love.

The Canonization’s speaker adamantly questions ❓ if something natural is affected by his love πŸ’. He asks if someone is injured because of his love for his beloved, if the land has ever been flooded 🌊 or in drought because he is in love. His love has not forwarded nor rewinded the seasons of the year πŸŒ“ nor the heat in his veins transmitted plague 🦠.

Everything happens as it is. Nothing changes if he loves. Wars βš”οΈ take places, quarrels πŸ—£οΈ go on… The speaker proves that their love has nothing to do with these.

🀯 Think!!! Love changes nothing but why are there many interfering ways to separate the lovers πŸ€”? No gains at all πŸ˜β€¦ Why are people interested in this profitless business πŸ˜’?

The Metaphysical Conceits πŸ˜‡

The Canonization | John Donne | Metaphysical Poetry
The tapers who consume themselves as narrated in ‘The Canonization’

Call us what you will, we are made such by love;

Call her one, me another fly,

We’re tapers too, and at our own cost die,

And we in us find the eagle and the dove. The phΕ“nix riddle hath more wit

By us; we two being one, are it.

So, to one neutral thing both sexes fit. We die and rise the same, and prove Mysterious by this love.

The poet gives the evaluators of his love the freedom to call them whatever he wishes πŸ’β€β™‚οΈ. What will the evaluator call them πŸ€”? Don’t think much right now. But get your brain 🧠 in gear to comprehend the metaphysical conceits that follow.

The speaker of The Canonization suggests to call them as flies or the candlesπŸ•― which consume themselves. They compare themselves to the candles that light up πŸ’‘ and end themselves. The speaker assures that their traits juxtaposes the aggressiveness of the eagle πŸ¦… and the submissiveness of the dove πŸ•Š.

Eagle πŸ¦… Γ— Dove πŸ•Š
Aggressive 😑 Γ— Submissive 😌

The phoenix is brought in the context as the speaker says that he and his beloved integrates into a single human during their sexual intercourse and emerge as two different individuals in its climax. Stop πŸ›‘, think πŸ€” for a moment.

That’s how they rise from the ashes or death (climax of sexual intercourse) to life. Isn’t this a staggering comparison 🀨? The comparisons are as mysterious 😌 as their love.

The Canonization |John Donne | Metaphysical Poetry
The Phoenix that rises from its ashes πŸ”₯

The Plan to Immortalise Their Love😌

We can die by it, if not live by love,

And if unfit for tombs and hearse

Our legend be, it will be fit for verse;

And if no piece of chronicle we prove, We’ll build in sonnets pretty rooms; As well a well-wrought urn becomes

The greatest ashes, as half-acre tombs, And by these hymns, all shall approve

Us canonized for Love.

The speaker admits the devotion 😍 to his lover as he is ready to die for it. He assures their love story πŸ’• can definitely be described through the verses of poems πŸ“œ even if it is not eternalised through tombs ⚰️ or hearses.

He is not interested in the long historical chronicles πŸ“’ but he wants his love story to be narrated in the short sonnets πŸ“„ through which they will be declared as the saints of love. A crisp and passionate poem. He justifies his option of sonnets saying that a beautifully constructed urn and a large and spacious tomb both encompasses ashes 🌫️.

The Canonization is Done πŸ™‚; The Saints of Love on the Floor

The Canonization | John Donne | Metaphysical Poetry |
The invocation of the saints of love 😍 in ‘The Canonization’

And thus invoke us: “You, whom reverend love

Made one another’s hermitage;

You, to whom love was peace, that now is rage;

Who did the whole world’s soul contract, and drove

Into the glasses of your eyes (So made such mirrors, and such spies,

That they did all to you epitomize) Countries, towns, courts: beg from above

A pattern of your love!”

The speaker now places the readers of the poem in an imaginary world 🌎 where they are canonized πŸ‘Ό. He narrates a situation where people pray to them. They would pray to them to be lovers just as they were as the canonized lovers were. The lovers who pray πŸ™πŸ» want themselves to contract their world into each other’s eyes πŸ‘€. People would suggest themselves to pray to love the way just as they did.

The Canonization: Pick Out The Puns and Ironies πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

The Canonization | John Donne | Metaphysical Poetry
Religion, Spirituality or Eroticism πŸ€”

The readers of The Canonization may comprehend the poem as an erotic piece of work but the poet presents their spiritual relationship as revealed from the title. It therefore ironical as spiritual πŸ’™ and eroticism πŸ’‹ is merged in the same context.

What do you think πŸ€”? Is this love of the poet and his beloved spiritual or lustful 🀨?


Naeema Jaleel

Naeema Jaleel

Writer at Inclined Scorpio

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