Notes

This printable supports Common Core ELA Standards ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2, ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3, and ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.4

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Analyzing a Poem (Grades 11-12)

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Analyzing a Poem

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
by John Donne

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
The breath goes now, and some say, No:

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do.

And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
1. 
The poem is a valediction. Based on the content of the poem, a valediction is...
  1. A welcoming address
  2. A farewell address
  3. A speech by the top student in a graduating class
  4. A eulogy
2. 
Throughout the poem, the poet compare two types of lovers. What are they?



3. 
Which stanza from the poem best shows the benefits of a quieter, more subtle love?
  1. Stanza 1
  2. Stanza 2
  3. Stanza 4
  4. Stanza 5
4. 
John Donne, the author of the poem, was considered a metaphysical poet. These poets were known for using unusual similes or metaphors.

How does this poem fit with that trait of metaphysical poets?



5. 
Which line shows the poet using hyperbole to compare the love of him and his wife with a more outgoing love?
  1. So let us melt, and make no noise,
  2. No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
  3. Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
  4. But we by a love so much refined,
6. 
In Stanza 4, how does the poet add emphasis between the second and third lines?
  1. The poet uses an enjambment to get the reader's attention.
  2. The poet uses parentheses to add information.
  3. The poet ends one sentence before beginning the next one.
  4. The poet uses alliteration with the words "admit" and "absence".
7. 
Which lines represent how the poet uses a paradox to explain what happens when the speaker and his love are apart?
  1. Thy firmness makes my circle just,/And makes me end where I begun.
  2. Inter-assured of the mind,/Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
  3. Though I must go, endure not yet/A breach, but an expansion
  4. Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show/To move, but doth, if the other do.
8. 
What is the poet's view of lust? Use an example from the poem to support your answer.



9. 
In the second stanza, the poet says "So let us melt, and make no noise/No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;/'Twere profanation of our joys/To tell the laity our love." This means...
  1. The poet and his love want to share their love with the commoners.
  2. The poet and his wife have a love deserving of more than being paraded around for commoners to see.
  3. Only tear-floods and sigh-tempests can accurately display the love between the poet and his wife.
  4. Quiet love bores the commoners.
10. 
How does the compass metaphor connect with the theme of the poem?



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