Language and tone in The Good-morrow


Donne's poetry is typically dramatic. One good way of seeing this is to look at the beginning of each poem. In The Good-morrow the ‘I' voice jumps out and hits us with a question to which he demands an answer, even though the question posed is a semi-rhetorical question - the other person is never allowed a minute to reply!

This is in great contrast to the much softer second stanza. It starts off with a note of restrained triumph and finishes with a persuasive plea to enjoy their world. There are no questions any more.


The poem seems to end on a note of some doubt: ‘If … or ... '. Perhaps after all Donne cannot any longer keep up the conceit that nothing will come to change their love or intrude upon it.

Investigating The Good-morrow
  • What are your thoughts on The Good-morrow?
    • Do you think the final ‘if ... or' suggests doubt, or is it merely the logical proof to his argument that they will live unchanged and unchanging?
    • Do you see the poem as celebratory, or does it seem to you more of a joke?
    • What evidence can you produce from the language used?
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