Summary of “Twickenham Garden” By John Donne
“Twickenham Garden” is a beautiful lyric poem penned by a great romantic and religious poet, John Donne. The poem is based on ‘Petrarchan Love’ but the poet’s mastery over language, thought and expression converts this poem into a convention. The convention introduced in the poem is of the Petrarchan lover who is faced with a failure of being rejected by his beloved. He discusses the deceitful nature of women and declares that almost all the women are unfaithful and pretend false feelings of love to their lovers. When we start reading the poem, we come to know that he has been rejected by his mistress. The poet needs appeasement and consolation after being rejected by his beloved. It becomes at the very outset of the poem. Look at the first two lines of the poem:
Blasted with sighs, and surrounded with tears,
Hither I come to seek the spring.
The poet is so much dejected and confused that he goes to the park to soothe his shattered nerves. But instead of soothing his nerves, he transforms his misery on to the garden. He repents that he should not have visited the garden in spring and claims that he should have visited in winter because winter is the sign of silence, loneliness and desolation. Like winter’s desolation, he is also alone. He feels that the trees are mocking at him at his miserable plight. He makes an appeal to love and wishes to turn him into one of the stone fountains. He also appeals to transform him into some inanimate object or some other plant life because he believes that if he becomes a fountain, the water coming from him i.e. his tears will definitely become the test of truth for the tears of all the lovers. Believing in Shakespeare’s philosophy, “Frailty thy name is woman,” he further says that the tears of a woman are just pretensions and false like many other features she has. However, his beloved is above all in this regard. She is fully sincere in her rejection of the poet.
To sum up, the poet has skillfully used the images, symbols and metaphors to make the readers convince and bring him round his point of view. Serpent and spider are the images of great significance. Serpent is actually a symbol taken from ‘Biblical Verse’ of Adam and Eve. The serpent causes the downfall of Adam and Eve in the ‘garden of Paradise.’ The serpent used in the poem by the poet is also similar to that serpent. We can say that the tone of the poet is bitter and sarcastic and with that approach he has fully and skillfully conveyed what he wants to convey. (Words: 449)