Synopsis of Valediction: of Weeping

Cadiz attacked by the EnglishA valediction is saying farewell. This is one of a number of farewell poems Donne wrote. Others include A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning and Song: ‘Sweetest love, I do not go'. Donne travelled abroad on a number of occasions, as he is clearly about to do here. He went on the Earl of Essex's military expedition to Cadiz to destroy the Spanish fleet. Later he journeyed into Flanders and Germany, all to further his career.

United but separated?

However, the real metaphysical point in leave-taking is how physical separation affects the unity of the lovers' world.

  • In what ways is the unity maintained?

  • Is there any sense of betrayal in voluntarily leaving the beloved?

This philosophical concern is combined here with more traditional images of leave-taking

  • tears, weeping and sighing

  • consolation and the prospect of being reunited

Investigating Valediction: of Weeping
  • When was the last time you had to say goodbye to someone, with a heavy heart?
    • How did you console each other?
    • In these days of instant communication, is leave-taking and separation less painful an experience than, perhaps, it used to be?
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