Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Y12: Easter Revision Programme- Donne

1. Choose a poem (like you’re not all going to do “Song II” because it’s short- go on, surprise me!). Translate it into modern prose. Don’t worry about the lines- just try to make it fluent. I’ve given an example below- I’ve tried to show how my lines correspond with Donne’s, but that’s just to make it easier to follow. You can jst write in paragraphs as normal. The purpose of doing this is: it demonstrates the density of Donne’s language; it means you really understand your chosen poem; it shows how much of the meaning of poetry is in the way it’s written, not in what it says. When you’re finished, post your result on ‘Lightingfools’ under the copy of this sheet I’ve put there so we can share each other’s research. I’d like a hard copy as well, though.
2. Choose one of the following essays and do it. I’d like you to do both- it’s all good practice- but one is acceptable.

‘Poetry is what can’t be rephrased’
An attempt to rephrase ‘Love’s Alchemy’

Some people reckon they have explored the Mine of Love more deeply than I have
and say that they know where the centre of happiness lies.
They say it lies in having loved, and got hold of the loved woman, and told her that she’s loved.
But even if I love women and get them and tell them I love them until I’m an old man,

I still don’t think I’ll find the answer to the mystery of happiness.
It’s all an act of deception (imposture).
No chemist has found the elixir of life,
they just makes their chemical apparatus seem important
by chancing on

smelly or medicinal things.
In the same way, lovers think that one day their love will be a perfect,
but all they get is cold nights in the middle of summer.
Should we really sacrifice our relaxation, our money and our reputation for the sake of some worthless fantasy?

Is this all love is; that a man
can only ever be as happy as me
even though he has to
put up with the aggravation of being in a relationship?
That pitiful lover who reckons
that minds can unite like bodies do,

who believes that his lover is an angel,
he would also be deluded enough to say that he can hear
the beautiful music of the universe in the ordinary, ugly noises of a day.
Don’t hope for much thought or consciousness in women.
Even the sweetest and cleverest women are no better
than a dead body that happens to be animated.

Love’s Alchemy
a) What does the poem reveal of the speaker’s attitude to love and women?
b) Explore the ways in which Donne uses imagery related to alchemy in the poem.
c) Comment on how Donne presents different attitudes to love and women in one or two other poems.


The Canonization
a) Comment on the use of sacred and secular imagery in this poem.
b) What attitude does the speaker of the poem have to those he addresses the poem to?
c) Discuss how Donne uses religious references in one or two other poems.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sir,
I just wanted to know what it means by this question:

The Canonization
a) Comment on the use of sacred and secular imagery in this poem.

Thankyou.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Don't know who you are because you didn't leave your name- please do in future!

Anyway, 'sacred' means 'holy', 'secular' means 'to do with the physical world, rather than the spiritual'. Essentially, then, it's about the way Donne describes secular things in sacred terms and and i unafraid of using images of the sacred for his own poetic ends- including emphasising the value of romantic (as opposed to God's) love. Any more than that and I'm answering the question for you.

Message from my son who has just said " I know what sacred means, dad!"

"Hiya Mr Anonymous, it must be great being in my dad'd class he's fantastic."

Thankyou Joe, that's your Easter Egg in the bag.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Song I Translation

Go and catch a falling star
Make a child from a Mandrake Root
Tell me where all past time goes
Or who cut off the devils foot

Teach me to hear the mermaids singing
Or keep me from being envious
And find
What wind
Helps an honest mind in advancing

If you are born to strange sights and things invisible to see
Ride ten thousand days and nights
Till age brings snow white hairs on you
When you return you will tell me
All strange wonders that you have come upon
And swear that nowhere lives a woman honest and beautiful.

If you find a woman like this then let me know
Such a find would be sweet
Though the next time we meet
The woman who you find will be false two or more times
Before I get the letter and I go to see her


by Carl Perry

3:53 AM  
Blogger Mr.D said...

Cheers, Carl

Shame you didn't go for a hard one!

4:05 AM  
Anonymous laura said...

Hi Sir, just finished my translation.

The Canonization (first 4 stanzas)

For Gods sake, please just be quite and let me love in peace,
Or you can either take away my palsy or my goat,
I’m getting old, so I know what I’m talking about:
Do what you think is important to you,
You could take a course and become a lawyer,
Take after his honour, or his grace,
You could work in court, concern yourself with money
Think about this; you can do what you want to do and it be alright,
So let me love her, and that also be alright.

Our love doesn’t hurt anyone,
I’m not causing a storm by sighing, which could drown ships,
Our tears haven’t caused floods or ruined crops,
My illness hasn’t removed a season,
When did the passion of my love
Add more people to the plaguy bill?
Unlike soldiers who fight in wars and lawyers, who find arguments,
These all cause quarrels,
But all we do is love.

Call us what you want, but we are made because we love each other,
You can say that our relationship will be short,
Or that we will burn out quickly and it be at our own cost,
But in each other we can find the Father, the Holy Spirit and
The Sun and make something better,
By us, being one unit
Neither male, nor female, together in union,
We can die and rise as lovers in heaven,
That is the power of this love.

If we can’t live together in peace, then we can die together in peace,
We may not be important enough for a tomb or a hearse,
But spiritually, we are great enough to be commemorated in words,
We won’t get recorded in history,
So we will remember ourselves in pretty sonnets,
Beautiful urns and sonnets can be as good as
An expensive half acre tomb,
From these writings, you will agree,
That our love is so good, it deserves to be canonized.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous laura nicholls said...

The Canonization


The Canonization is an outspoken poem addressing the public, and more specifically the people who condemned the speaker’s relationship with his long term lover, explaining to them that their love is great and isn't harming anyone. Sacred and secular imagery is used often in the poem, leading up to the idea that they are being canonized for their devotion to their religion of love. To start off with, the very title of the poem has direct religious meaning, Canonization being the process of making someone in to a Saint because of their devotion to the Catholic Church. This creates a false expectation of the subject of the poem, and the first line of the poem then goes on to blaspheme, stating "For God's sake." At the end of the third stanza, the line "We die and rise the same," provides us with more religious connotations through the idea of the resurrection of Christ, this places secular and sacred images in juxtaposition because the line could also refers to the act of sex, and them rising together in the sexual climax. The final line of the stanza refers to their love as "mysterious" which has a religious meaning as something that can't be explained, for example the transformation of Christ.
The very last stanza in the poem talks about “Countries, towns, courts” learning from there love, as it is the perfect model of love. Not only does this seem to be implying that the love of God isn’t the greatest and that his follows love for him is lacking, it could also be trying to say that God could learn something from Donne and his lover. Donne already thinks that his love is fit for canonization and after the word “courts” in the second to last line of the last stanza, Donne also says “from above” so this could perhaps mean God looking down from heaven begging “A pattern of your love”. However, this is only an idea and although Donne already offends Catholics in this poem, the idea of God learning from his relationship could maybe get his in to trouble with the courts at that time.
At the time the poem was written, it would be seen as very profane and audacious to Catholics as the language and imagery used compares the speaker’s human love to the love of God. This technique that Donne uses to emphasize his love for his wife and the importance of their relationship would knowingly annoy Catholics as he used to be a practicing Catholic and was involved with the church, therefore, the attitude he takes on in this poem was not without reason. Through the poem he has a passive aggressive attitude, in the first stanza almost looking down on the people that look down on him, as he has already experienced a wealth of things which could make someone happy, but he now knows that none of that will make the other people happy and he has found the true happiness through his perfect love, against the odds of other people. He seems to not like aristocrats who put money before emotion and love as he makes references to them in the first and second stanza. In the first stanza he tells his readers that they could make a future of, amongst other things, money, but also implies that this isn’t as worthy or fulfilling that a life of love and marriage. Another line, “Who says my tears have overflow’d his ground?” also makes a slight reference to aristocracy as aristocrats would be pleased to see that people crops have been ruined, so it is like he is saying to the people that dislike him or his lover that maybe they should be angry at the aristocrats that take pleasure in others failure and misfortunes, this is as well as trying to tell people that his love is innocence and doesn’t ruin anyone’s livelihoods. Another example of his passive aggressiveness is in the second stanza when he gives a list of rhetorical questions concerning his love and lust not hurting anyone or anything. For example; “What merchant’s ships have my sighs drown’d”? The answer is none, therefore he feels people are not justified in their judgments against his marriage, as there are worse things to be angrier at.
Not only does another one of Donne’s poems; The Flea, share profane content but it also contains religious references and imagery. Firstly, the actual flea itself is a metaphor for a church. It is described as their “marriage bed and marriage temple” because the flea bit the speaker of the poem and then his lover, who he is addressing in the poem, subsequently their blood would have mixed inside the fleas body, mirroring the act of sex by mingling two bodies together. There are plenty of singular words or phrases through the poem that relate to Christianity to give the speaks lover the impression that their sex wouldn’t just be for lust but it would be holy and sacred; “confess it”, “sin, or shame”, “walls of jet”, “sacrilege” and “purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence”. These phrases and words conjure up religious images, especially the line “purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence” as it could be a reference to Jesus being nailed to the crucifix.
In the last stanza of the poem the speaker is still trying to persuade his lover to have sex with him and turns to asking her to sacrifice her honor and chaste since she has already sacrificed her life by letting the flea bite her. The idea of sacrificing could relate to the sacrifices people make to honour God and live by the Bible. He attempts to persuade her that as she no longer has her life, it would be a waste to not give up her honour; “Just so much honour… Will waste.”

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Georgie! said...

Hi! its georgie e! lol jenny sayz yooh smell v bad... and apparantly yoore rytin a book! cee i no these thingz! hehe byby hehe

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi sir it's tom o from ur english class here!!!
finally got the internet working and have done the hmwk u set us thanks for the websites you put at the bootom of the text they were really helpful!!! see you tomorrow!!

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi sir its Luke from ur y 10 english class just 2 say im givin my Romeo & Juliet essay 2 Dexter & he's gonna give it 2 ya monday coz im away. so u know who 2 blame if it isn't in on time! Da Ginger!!!
Cheers

1:52 PM  

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