“The Good Morrow”is one of the finest love poems penned by John Donne. It truly brings before us the complex nature of true love. It is one of those love poems in which Donne praises the spiritual relationship between man and woman and hails it so ardently .
This poem begins with the befuddlement of early morning consciousness and the dawning of true love which brings to the poet’s notice the incompleteness of his past encounters with make-believe beauties –“I wonder by my troth , what thou and I did till we loved.” Before Donne had met his beloved, Donne’s idea of beauty was only physical. But now he rejects his past with passionate contempt but his disgust mellows when he realizes that the carnal actually took him to the spiritual. Being united with his beloved has given birth to the abstract entity of his desires as she has fused his physical love with its philosophical counter-partmaking it divine and beautiful. In an extraordinary metaphysical conceit, this complete love is given the status of mother’s milk whereas his indulgences in country pleasures have been described as weaning to shed light upon the importance of a relationship between the body and soul – “Were we not weaned till then but suck’d on country pleasures childishly?”
The second stanza begins with hail and celebration. The unconscious past of flesh is over and a new conscious spiritual relationship begins. So the speaker celebrates the present. “Now good morrow to our waking souls.” As spiritual lovers, the poet and his beloved are indifferent to earthly pleasures and possessions – let the sea-lovers and map-lovers do what they like to do. The lovers want to be happy with their joint world though they have their individual worlds but their individual worlds are fused into a single world. Now they are the joint owners of a single world. Here in this stanza, we find the presence of imagery from the contemporary geographical world that is to say the contemporary geographical interest of the explorers.
The third stanza opens with endearing words from the speaker. The two lovers stand so closely that their respective faces are reflected in each other’s eyes. The simplicity of their heart is also reflected in their faces, which are conceived as two hemispheres of their world. But their world of love is so unearthly that its hemispheres are free from coldness and decay. They are not afraid of separation or break up of their “relation, because” ‘whatever dyes, was not mixt equality’.The ingredients of their love have been proportionately mixed and there is no warp and woof between them. They have loved equally and proportionately.
Thus the poem ends with the establishment of true friendship. After an abrupt beginning, there is calmness at last. The couple has rejected the country pleasures and entered into a true inter-dependent friendship. They have renounced the mundane world in order possess an unearthly world. Experience has thought them that the true happiness can be achieved through a mutual spiritual friendship.
To sum up, Donne has developed the theme of love logically from surprise to confidence and then to immortality. With the help of vivid and scholarly images, Donne has suggested to his reader the true and unique nature of love. The poem is free from bitterness, grief and cynicism. There is neither disappointment nor disgust. A note of contentment runs through the poem. In the beginning the tone is of surprise, then it shifts to contentment, and finally, to spirituality. Moreover, its theme has been developed through passionate arguments, and here it differs from a dramatic monologue. (Words: 601)