He was born in 1572 to Roman Catholic parents, when practicing that religion was illegal in England. is a hallmark of Donne’s poetry. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. In the last analysis, ‘The Anniversary’ is one of Donne’s more accessible love poems, but it is perhaps not quite so straightforward as it first seems. Even that analogy, that they are both kings to each other and each other’s subjects, introduces not only the troublesome possibility of treason against each other (i.e. Of course, much is lost in paraphrasing the beautiful paradoxes of John Donne’s poetry, but hopefully something – a greater understanding of the meaning of the poem – is gained, too. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! There will be, to borrow from Alison Moyet, a ‘love resurrection’. The opposites of immortality and death are here juxtaposed and reconciled. The poet is the speaker and his beloved is the listener. To write threescore: this is the second of our reign. John Donne wrote this poem, ‘The Anniversary’, to his beloved. But that’s all right, Donne says: because when they are placed in their (separate) graves, their souls will rise up and re-join each other. Paradox is a key part of metaphysical poetry, and few metaphysical poets utilised clever paradox more effectively than John Donne. What’s the point of celebrating your anniversary if your love has ‘no … yesterday’? I knew you were the one for me. Can be such Kings, nor of such subjects be; Let us love nobly, and live, and add again, Years and years unto years, till we attain. Here upon earth we’re Kings, and none but we. ‘Who is as safe as we?’ is offered as a rhetorical question which invites the (unnecessary) answer from the beloved, ‘Nobody!’, but does the question not mask a potential uncertainty on Donne’s part? But if we are to be buried separately, then we must go the same way as other princes (and let’s face it, we’re so empowered by the strength of our love that we’re pretty much princes ourselves, of a kind) and leave each other in death. Oft fed with true oaths, and with sweet salt tears; (All other thoughts being inmates) then shall prove. Let us live without fears – founded or unfounded – then, and let us love as befits kings, for many more years to come, until we die aged seventy (threescore). Although we can catch its surface meaning easily enough, the possibility that Donne was also exploring the fragility of even the strongest love – those true and false fears – remains a very real one. Written with a musical setting in mind, this metaphysical celebration of 'everlasting' fidelity sings with love and intellectual honesty. The Anniversary. But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day. The central theme of The Anniversary is the immortality of true love which transcends death itself. Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email. our love dictates every thought in our heads), will discover that, when bodies are buried in the grave, the souls rise up from the bodies – because our souls will rise from our corpses to find each other again.’, In the third and final stanza, Donne says: ‘Then, when our souls are united even in death, we will be thoroughly blessed – but then so will everyone. It would be most obvious to think of Donne's marriage, which was deep if costly. Oft fed with true oaths, and with sweet salt tears; (All other thoughts being inmates) then shall prove. Everything else, however, is in decline, moving towards its own death, whereas our love is different from them because it knows no decay. But truly keeps his first, last, everlasting day. The Anniversary. What do you get your beloved for your one-year anniversary? So, here goes. And this risks undermining the whole point of the poem. I don’t think so. Must leave at last in death these eyes and ears. That final line has the elegance, strength and simplicity which, imho. It’s here on Earth, while we live, that you and I are truly special: we are like kings, but we are also like subjects (because I am your subject, but also your king; likewise, you serve me, but I also serve you, so you’re both my king and subject too). All other things to their destruction draw. First, before we move to analysing the meaning of the poem, a few words about its form and metre. infidelity), but also the idea that having more than one ‘king’ is surely a bad idea, at least in the same ‘kingdom’. The sun itself, which makes times, as they pass.