Niloofar Mohammadof Dr. Didan Islamic Azad University of Tehran-South Branch A Lecture upon the Shadow by John Donn Stand still, and I will read to thee A lecture, love, in love’s philosophy. These three hours that we have spent, Walking here, two shadows went Along with us, which we ourselves produc’d. But, now the sun is Just above our head, We do those shadows tread, And to brave clearness all things are reduc’d. So whilst our infant loves did grow, Disguises did, and shadows, flow From us, and our cares; but now ’tis not so.
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That love has not attain’d the high’st degree, Which Is still diligent lest others see. Except our loves at this noon stay, We shall new shadows make the other way. As the first were made to blind Others, these which come behind Will work upon ourselves, and blind our eyes. If our loves faint, and westwardly decline, To me thou, falsely, thlne, And I to thee mine actions shall disguise. The morning shadows wear away, But these grow longer all the day; But Oh, love’s day Is short, If love decay. Love Is a growing, or full constant light, And his first minute, after noon, Is night.
Biography John Donne’s standing as a great English poet, and one of the greatest writers of English prose, Is now assured. However, It has been confirmed only In the present century. The history of Donne’s reputation Is the most remarkable of any major writer In Engllsn; no otner Doay 0T great poetry nas Tallen so Tar Trom Tavor Tor so long ana been generally condemned as inept and crude. In Donne’s own day his poetry was highly prized among the small circle of his admirers, who read it as it was circulated in manuscript, and in his later years he gained wide fame as a preacher.
For some thirty years after his death successive editions of his verse stamped his powerful influence upon English poets. During the Restoration his writing went out of fashion and remained so for several centuries. Throughout the eighteenth century, and for much of
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the nineteenth century, he was little read and scarcely appreciated. Commentators followed Samuel Johnson in dismissing his work as no more than frigidly ingenious and metrically uncouth. Some scribbled notes by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Charles Lamb’s copy of Donne’s poems make a testimony of admiration rare in the early nineteenth century.
Robert Browning became a known (and wondered-at) enthusiast of Donne, but it was not until the end of the nineteenth entury that Donne’s poetry was eagerly taken up by a growing band of avant-garde readers and writers. His prose remained largely unnoticed until 1919. In the first two decades of the twentieth century Donne’s poetry was decisively rehabilitated. Its extraordinary appeal to modern readers throws light on the Modernist movement, as well as on our intuitive response to our own times. Donne may no longer be the cult fgure he became in the 1920s and 1930s, when T.
S. Eliot and William Butler Yeats, among others, discovered in his poetry the peculiar fusion f intellect and passion and the alert contemporariness which they aspired to in their own art. He is not a poet for all tastes and times; yet for many readers Donne remains what Ben Jonson Judged him: “the first poet in the world in some things. ” His poems continue to engage the attention and challenge the experience of readers who come to him afresh. His high place in the pantheon of the English poets now seems secure.
Donne’s love poetry was written nearly four hundred years ago; yet one reason for its appeal is that it speaks to us as directly and urgently as if we overhear a present confidence. It is thought that Donne’s final illness was stomach cancer, although this has not been proven. He died on 31 March 1631 having written many poems, most of which were circulated in manuscript during his lifetime. Donne was buried in old St Paul’s Cathedral, where a memorial statue of him was erected (carved from a drawing of him in his shroud), with a Latin epigraph probably composed by himself.
Donne’s monument survived the 1666 fire, and is on display in the present building. Interpretation “A Lecture upon the Shadow” seems to be a poem signaling the inevitable decline of love, but it is not. John Donne metaphorically equates the rising and setting of the sun with a love affair. The metaphor says that love grows, reaches a peak, and then quickly declines, as does the sun in its daily course. The metaphor applies if the poem were meant to De a suDtle way Tor tne narrator to InTorm nls lover 0T nls pessimistic view of love.
However, Donne’s hopeful tone, expressed through his repeated use of the words except and if, suggests that Donne does not believe that love will inevitably die. Donne believes that the high point of love can be maintained, but this conflicts with the metaphor in that the duration of noon can never be rolonged. The morning, noon and evening described in this poem parallel the rise and fall of a relationship based on love. The first stanza details the progression of love from its beginnings to its peak.See More on Love