Does John Donne trust on womankind?

Does John Donne trust on womankind?

John Donne, a man of romantic nature. He spent his life with several rich women and prostitutes in London. Perhaps he had gone through experiences of distrust. Therefore, he found himself sceptical towards beautiful women. He had shown his cynical attitude through his song “Go and Catch a Falling Star’. His poem came to in light 1597 In 'Songs and Sonnets', notably, he was unmarried at that time. In this poem, he shows his great distrust towards women. To favour his arguments he includes many examples of improbable tasks, which no one can do completely.


GO, AND CATCH A FALLING STAR

Go and catch a falling star,

Get with child a mandrake root,

Tell me where all past years are,

Or who cleft the devil's foot,

Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

Or to keep off envy's stinging,

And find

What wind

Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,

Things invisible to see,

Ride ten thousand days and nights,

Till age snow white hairs on thee,

Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,

All strange wonders that befell thee,

And swear,

No where

Lives a woman true, and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,

Such a pilgrimage were sweet;

Yet do not, I would not go,

Though at next door we might meet;

Though she were true, when you met her,

And last, till you write your letter,

Yet she

Will be

False, ere I come, to two, or three.

Preface

In the poem, the poet expresses his great distrust towards womankind through a list of exaggerated tasks such as to catch a falling star, to beget a child on the mandrake root, or to tell of where all the past years have gone, to tear the Devil’s foot, or how to hear the mermaid songs.

Subject Matter

This famous song is an example of metaphysical poetry that came out in the collection named ‘Songs and Sonnets’. The poem states the idea of distrust in women.

Go and catch a falling star,

Get with child a mandrake root,

Tell me where all past years are,

Or who cleft the devil's foot,

Teach me to hear mermaids singing,

Or to keep off envy's stinging,

And find

What wind

Serves to advance an honest mind.

Stanza 1

In this stanza, the poet suggests doing some tasks that are completely impossible such as to go and catch a falling star. Moreover, get a child out of the mandrake roots. Then he asks to let him know if someone can where all past years have gone. The poet asks if anyone exists who can tear devil’s foot. Here, the poet argues that if someone can then teach him how to listen to the mermaids' song. the poet says to tell him how anyone can get rid of envy and what type of environment and circumstances make a man more honest and pure.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,

Things invisible to see,

Ride ten thousand days and nights,

Till age snow white hairs on thee,

Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,

All strange wonders that befell thee,

And swear,

No where

Lives a woman true, and fair.

Stanza 2 

In the second stanza, the poet asks his friend by exaggerating his ideas that if someone is born with magical powers whose eyes can see through everything and everywhere or anyone, who can ride for a long-distance of ten thousand days and nights do this until he becomes old and when he returns from the search expedition tell him whatever he hs seen through this journey. By the word strange, the poet means if anyone has seen the trustworthy and beautiful woman anywhere. The poet completely distrusts women so he says to swear if anyone claims that he has met a beautiful and trustworthy woman Because as he thinks that there is no place in this world where live a beautiful and trustworthy woman.

If thou find'st one, let me know,

Such a pilgrimage were sweet;

Yet do not, I would not go,

Though at next door we might meet;

Though she were true, when you met her,

And last, till you write your letter,

Yet she

Will be

False, ere I come, to two, or three.

Stanza 3        

The poet further demanded if you have found even a single trustworthy and beautiful lady let him know about her place because where she lives the place must be a pilgrimage and the poet wishes to visit the place. The poet wishes to meet such a woman. Immediately, the poet forbids his friend, please do not tell him about her, because as he thinks, while he met her she might be pure and true but until he writes a letter to the poet, she may turn into an impure woman.


Related Questions

  • What is metaphysical poetry? Discuss John Donne is a metaphysical poet based on your reading of his poems.
  • Define hyperbole Example of the hyperbole from the poem. What are the impossible tasks mentioned in the poem?
  • The images of Donne are usually condemned because they are far-fetched would you agree with this view discuss with the references of the poem?

 

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