- Sep 2021
And thus invoke us
A change in perspective can be witnessed in this final stanza. From the first line of the first stanza to the fourth stanza, we can observe the narrator's aggressive and defensive manner against his interlocutor, who seemed to rebuke the narrator's love relationship prior to the composition of this poem. Also, it is spoken in either simultaneous (present) or prospective (future) manner in terms of tenses. However, the final stanza introduces a partially retrospective speech (referencing past events), distinguishing itself from the preceding stanzas. Also, it seems unlikely that the narrator is requesting his deprecating interlocutor to call him "You, whom reverend love .... eyes" (last stanza line 1-7). Thus, we can logically suggest that there has been a shift in addressee, and the possible addressee of the final stanza would be the future lovers who perceive John Donne and his lover as saints of love.
Though, the poem is written in conversational style, the characters other than the narrator are deliberately silenced to give a sense of a dramatic monologue by the speaker.
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 stampèd face
These are exactly what John Donne had lost after his improvident marriage with Anne More; wealth, education, social standing, and post at the Parliament. Maybe Donne is ironically showing his slight feeling of reluctance through this conversation with the silent addressee.
Word "Contemplate" in this line is a good example of how setting a persistent stress pattern might interfere the smooth conversational flow throughout poem. Contemplate is a three syllabus word (con/tem/plate). If it's read in iambic metric manner, (con/TEM/plate), it would sound very unnatural compared to its original stress pattern of CON/tem/plate. Thus, readers sometimes might want to intentionally break some of the major pattern employed by the poet to create more sensible way of reading the poem.
die and rise the same
Though The Canonization can be separated from his "earlier poems that reflect more generally to erotic encounters," John Donne still uses some sexual allusions to show his wit and connection of this poem to his early reputation as an ingenious erotic poet.
Here, following words can be interpreted as below. Die - Orgasm
Rise - Erection
Die and Rise - Copulation
Source: Source: Hadfield. Andrew. John Donne : In the Shadow of Religion, 2021, p132
Final lines of every stanza is a trimeter, which seems relatively shorter than the preceding lines of penta- and tetrameter. This differentiation creates an unusual and unexpected rhythms and draws readers attention to this final line, which contains the major (sole) motive of author for writing this poem, love.
The Canonization is reckoned to be written by John Donne after the secret marriage with Ann Donne (in 1601, when Ann was 17 and John was 29), since it defiantly celebrated his marriage.
Source: Hadfield. Andrew. John Donne : In the Shadow of Religion, 2021, p21
Anaphora using "whom" and "who"
Countries, towns, courts
Alliteration of "C"
Alliteration of "W"
Chiding an innocent person with physical unattractiveness is an act of demeaning oneself. Also, the "ruined fortune" is not due to one's extravagance but caused by inevitable outer forces. The author seems to approve his physical shortcomings, however, is also implicitly rebuking the provoker's imprudence and wasteful usage of his or her time in trivial (only materialistic) matters.
die and rise
Internal rhyme of long "I" vowel
The first and the final lines of every stanza ends in "love"
Call us what you will, we are made such by love; Call her one, me another fly,
Anaphora using "Call - "
Take you a course, get you a place, Observe his honor, or his grace
Anaphora using "you a - " and "his - "
well a well-wrought urn
Alliteration of "W"
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;
The short "I" vowel frequently appears in these lines creating an internal rhyme(assonance) between "it", "if", "fit", and "unfit."
Rhyme scheme of The Canonization is A B B A C C C A A, and it's persistent throughout every stanza.
The first stanza, for example, follows A B B A C C C A A rhyme scheme with the each alphabet representing a rhyme as below:
To modern readers, the terminal sound of "love" and, "improve" (or "approve") doesn't seem to rhyme. However,"-ove" during John Donne's time period was pronounced slightly different from modern pronunciation. It was more similar to pronunciation of "-oave," which allowed them to rhyme!
Metric pattern of The Canonization is:
However, this pattern is not strictly kept throughout the poem. Since this poem is written in a conversational style between the speaker and his unknown (unseen) provoker, a certain degree of flexibility is accepted to make the poem sound like a natural conversation. For the same reason, there isn't a universal stress pattern in this poem. (Though one might read it in a iambic (da/DUM) rhythm, it would sound very unnatural in some line)
Alliteration of "T"
This is a exmaple of Alliteration, a "repetition of a consonant sound, usually at the beginning of words in close proximity." It is a rhythmical tool that poets use to "underscore key words and ideas."
Source: Responding to Literature, Richard Abcarian et al
- Metric pattern
- Ryhme scheme
- Internal Rhyme
- Contextual Symbols