Summary and Critical Appreciation of “The Canonization” By John Donne
“The Canonization” is a great love poem composed by a great metaphysical poet John Donne. But before going into further details, we must know what canonization is because it would be difficult to understand for a reader the true meanings and message of the poem. According to Google Dictionary, in Roman Catholic Church, “Canonization” is the official admission of a dead person into a saint. Using this religious term i.e. canonization, the poet also believes that he and his beloved have also got the status of being in sainthood.
When we start reading the poem, we see the poet addressing an outsider. It means the poem is written in the form of “dramatic Monologue” because the poet first defends himself as well as his lover against an outsider and then we see him celebrating their love against the objection made by the outsider. In the very first stanza, the poet is in aggressive and peevish mood. As the outsider is complaining against the poet for making love with his beloved, the poet says that despite the fact he has gray hair and is faced with a disease, he can laugh at and make fun of him but he has no right to object against his love-making. He asks the outsider why he is so interested in their love-making. He asks his to do something else. He says that the outsider must do something to earn money or improve his lifestyle instead of complaining against their being in love-making.
In the second stanza, the poet conveys the idea that love is a spiritual passion that has nothing to do with the world and the world things happening around it. Love is harmless and has no effect on anything happening around the lovers. He says that he is not responsible for the floods coming in the world. He has nothing to do with the arrival and departure of spring. Similarly, he has nothing to do with nature and its course. He further gives the example of a soldier and a lawyer that a soldier performs his duty by participating in wars and a lawyer performs his duty in the court. In the same way, the work of a lover is to love his beloved. So, he should not be disturbed by anybody.
In the third stanza, the poet says that the lovers are there just to love each other. It is not a problem for them with what names other people call them. He says that he and his beloved are like flies. That’s why, they have a short stay in the world. He makes a comparison and says that he is like an Eagle and his lover is a Dove. Physically, they are two separate bodies but spiritually they are two in one.
In the fourth stanza, the poet conveys the idea that if it is not possible for the lovers to be in love-making in the world or to be fit in the tombs or hearse, both the lovers will get their place in the holy sonnets. Both lovers will get spirituality out of this worldly phenomenon going against them.
In the fifth stanza, having been canonized in love, both lovers will get a great status in the world of love. The people would declare them saints of love and appreciate their love. The lovers all over the world would like to follow them in love-making. They would like to be like them. We can say that the poet concludes the poem with a touch of optimism.
To sum up, Donne has skillfully used conceit and imagery in the poem. The conceit of “Fly” is remarkable. Similarly, the imagery of the Eagle and Dove also represent aggression and peace respectively. On the whole, this poem is a masterpiece by John Donne in the history of English literature for his use of metaphysical touches. (Words: 657)