Structure and versification in Going to Bed

All Donne's elegies are written in non-stanzaic form, basically as iambic pentameters rhyming as couplets. It is a very basic poetic form, but suitable for longer poems, a famous example being Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Donne tends to package his sense into couplets, ll.19-23 being a rare exception, moving the form towards the later development of the heroic couplet. And, of course, this enables the poem to finish with a neat couplet to round it off.

Investigating Going to Bed
  • Look at the structure of Going to Bed
    • Does the poem seem about the right length: i.e. finishing a little before we would like it to?
    • Or does it seem to ‘labour' a joke?
  • Is there anything in the poem to suggest that Donne is anything more than a rakish man about town?
  • What does the range of subject matter that Donne covers in the whole body of his poetry suggest to you about poetry as a whole?
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