The Poetry of John Donne: A Study in Explication

By Doniphan Louthan | Go to book overview

5
In Sonnets Pretty Romes

I HAVE NOT (as the reader may have imagined) discovered a new variant reading to line 32 of "The Canonization." The title of this chapter is based on a phonetic pun which may or may not occur in the line concerned. (It is possible beyond question, on phonetic grounds; see the analysis of "The Canonization" in a later section of this chapter.) The important point here is that such an ambiguity would summarize beautifully Donne's characteristic combination of sacred and secular love: We'll build in sonnets pretty [ru:mz].

Corresponding to the necessity for some sort of current belief in the Ptolemaic system, etc. (see Chapter 1, above), there was the necessity--in Donne's time--for some sort of cross-tension in figures uniting different spheres of discourse. But Donne's combination of secular with sacred love, is inadequate proof of either revolt against Petrarchanism, or ideal masochism on Donne's part, or even heavy paradox. Petrarchan or Platonic poetry, though not primarily physical in its approach to love, sometimes dealt with secular love in terms of sacred love. Rugoff reminds us that a tendency such as Donne's to couple the two, "is not unique among Elizabethan poets" (pp. 222 f.). Rugoff footnotes the statement: "It has, in fact, been connected with the

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The Poetry of John Donne: A Study in Explication
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Foreword 7
  • Contents 9
  • 1 - An Invocation to the Donne Canon 13
  • 2 - Patterns of Parting 35
  • 3 - Off with That Girdle! 58
  • 4 - The Poet as Lawyer 81
  • 5 - In Sonnets Pretty Romes 105
  • 6 - Lightness Depresseth Us 139
  • Notes 176
  • Bibliography 183
  • Index 189
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