Commentary on The Good-morrow

The Good-morrow is one of Donne's happy love songs, celebrating the joys of a completely unified love. We can compare it, therefore, with The Sunne Rising and The Extasie. If the lovers are so unchanging in their love, they will achieve immortality, since only what changes, dies. The poem is driven by a central image: that the two lovers make up a complete world. Nothing really exists outside of their world; it is self-sufficient, self-absorbing.

The first stanza

The first stanza of the poem is where the speaker, who is one of the lovers talking to his partner, looks back to when they were not in love. That time seems unreal. They were children, naïve, asleep even. Whatever pleasures they experienced were mere unrealities (‘fancies') compared to what they have now. Any beauty (we presume any female beauty) was, again, a mere dream to be set against the present intense and concrete reality.

The second stanza

The second stanza of the poem suggests that the lovers have woken now into true reality, out of the shadows of night. In fact, they make their own reality. The room where they are in bed is their world, and nothing exists outside its walls. Yes, the poet says, there may be worlds out there: let discoverers go and find them or map-makers draw them, but let us use our time possessing our own private world.

The third stanza

One complete world suggests that each is a hemisphere perfectly complementing the other. The poet concludes by suggesting that if they can stay totally constant as lovers, then they cannot die, since, according to current thinking, only what is contrary or of different measure can disintegrate. A perfect harmony or completeness will be theirs.

Investigating The Good-morrow
  • Look at the third stanza
    • Explain the line ‘What ever dies, was not mixt equally'
    • How does it fit into Donne's final argument?
Related material
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.