Finally I can post my [Poetry Journal]

PosterĄG Greg Chen at 23:53:4 4/2/98 from

Greg Chen
Poetry Journal

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

It was really a difficult poem to me. *Cause the poem has used many metaphorical conceits. The meaning is not so apparent. I have had problems to figure out the clear and correct ideas, also I had some doubts and questions. Actually the main idea of this poem is trying to tell us the death or the separation of two lovers is not that serious. Love can still extend and leap over the gap and the limit of time and space.
The first and the second stanza seemed to describe that a "virtuous man" just passed away peacefully, though people surrounded him were unwilling to let him go. But the speaker thought we should not or we did not need to tear or sigh. The real love should be beneath the line of death and live. Some said: "death is only another form of life." If two persons truly loves each other, the combine of the spirit and the firm affection would certainly last forever. Here I got one question: Why is "laity" the one that we tell our love to? Why can*t we share it with a clergyman? Strong love is not evil at all ~
The third stanza is interesting, but contains a deep meaning. The earthquake causes damage and people regard it serious. The movement of the heavenly spheres is far greater, fiercer, *cause it is harmless, people consider it innocent. I think (I do not know if I was right?) the author intended to indicate that death is just like the earthquake-brings harms and sorrow. Earthquake is not so common, when it happens, people are scared of it. On the other hand, when facing the death, human always feel nervous and sad, all they think is the miserable separation, seldom of them think that people can still promote the form of love to a higher spiritual standard. Death is not so serious-it is a way that every human being must pass through. On the contrary, the movement of the sphere exists every day, it is so usual that everyone is getting accustomed with it. I think the author tried to tell us that we should broad our eye sight and spread our mind, avoid being restricted or controlled by the visual or emotional circumstances.( I find that this kind of thought is quite related to the background of the author-he was born into a Roman Catholic family and afterwards he has become a preacher and a great dean. He was a person that full of religious points of view.)
The fourth and the fifth stanza present two different attitudes toward parting. The author used "Dull sublunary lover*s love*" I think he has some sort of looked down on the common and ordinary love that put emphasis on the essential possession. I think he meant the real owning is not that important. That*s why he used "dull" and "sublunary". He thought those people are so shallow, they can not endure death(or separation) because it*s a great change. They think they have lost something for sure. Then in the fifth stanza the author thought "inter-assured of the mind" is the kind of elegant love. They do not show too many feelings or expressions but it felt, as the spirit is just closer.
In the sixth stanza, the author used another conceit to express his thoughts. One*s life is at the end, the couple must separate, instead of grief, two soul become one, regardless of death or life. And that seems to be the highest standard of love-it has been lifted to a spiritual communication. Death is no longer a breach, but an expansion. Like the gold forms into foil-though transforms into another style, it is even easier to preserve, even stronger and more valuable.
In this poem the two lovers were used to be compared with a compass. On a compass one-foot fix in the center and the pin makes a circle around. But all I think is that the "compass" stands for "regular exercise, stable, no changes, always points the north side" I have no idea why "compass" is used here*
I think the author encouraged that people should leap over the gap of death, do not concern about it too much. It is real hard. Based on the human nature, feeling sad for the death is so common. The natural affection just appears directly, and it is cruel and impossible to control or to hide the emotions*


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