Words of Wisdom:

"wat is this life full of care if we have no time to stand and stare" - Baylake

Donne

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:28 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 59.3 
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Donne is more concerned with wit and conceit than with meaning and sincerity








That Donne is concerned with wit is scarcely deniable.   The imagery used in The Legacie is incredibly complicated, and he seems to be demonstrating his intelligence.   In the opening two lines, "When I dyed last, and, Deare, I dye/ As often as from thee I goe," the narrator both implies that leaving his lover is immensely painful, and uses "dye" in a sexual sense.   This might imply that they practice the withdrawal method of contraception, and that their relationship is therefore neither long-term nor particularly significant to either of them.   Donne thus uses two lines to express what would usually take much longer, proclaiming his intellect to the reader, although he avoids being ostentatious.   Later in the poem, it takes ages to work out whether the narrator is referring to himself (alive or dead) or his mistress, whenever he uses first person pronouns: "I heard mee say, Tell her anon,/ That my selfe, (that is you, not I,)/ Did kill me".   This forces the reader to experience the confusion and anguish of the persona, instead of simply reading about them.   In this case, Donne uses his intelligence to improve the reader's perception of the emotions described in the poem.


He continues, using the complex idea of the narrator's spirit searching for his heart inside the body of his former self, thus demonstrating his wit.   That he is able to think in such a way shows just how clever he is.   Throughout this poem, although at times he seems conceited, I think that he is merely using his insight to make a valid and meaningful point.   He describes the persona's emotions in a way "As good as could be made by art", thus accepting that the sentiments expressed in the poem are never going to be conveyed perfectly.   In spite of this, he succeeds in communicating them quite effectively to the reader.   This is surely a sign of his intellect.   The persona's feelings...

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