John Donne's Ode "The Canonization" Poem Review

John Donne's Ode "The Canonization"
Looks at John Donne's lyrical ode "The Canonization", a love poem to his mistress.
# 148971 | 2,530 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2011 | CA
Published on Nov 16, 2011 in Literature (English) , Literature (Poetry) , English (Analysis)

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This paper explains that John Donne, in his poem "The Canonization", argues against societal restrictions, which would denounce his romantic relationship without taking into account the ways in which that relationship reflects the better parts of human's ability for commitment and compassion. Next, stanza by stanza, the author relates the powerful imagery and symbols, witty jabs at other poets and Elizabethan English society and playfully blasphemous attitude toward religion through which Donne projects his ideas. The paper concludes that Donne reveals his desire for permanency by expressing the "canonizing" of his love as a piece of literature and by according himself and his love the status of saints. The paper includes footnotes.

From the Paper:

"Although Donne was ordained as a priest and therefore was presumably quite religious, many of his poetic works demonstrate his questioning of society's deemed superiority of religious love over romantic love. His love poetry often contains naturalistic, vivid bodily and sexual imagery that subverts traditional Petrarchan metaphors for love. In "Elegie VIII", Donne compares drops of dew on a rose to drops of sweat on his lover's breast. He also utilizes the rather grotesque image of a flea sucking and mingling both his and his beloved's blood, used as a metaphor to justify her losing her virginity to him in "The Flea." Donne never shies away from describing or alluding to the sexual aspect of his romantic relationships in his poetry. He makes it clear that the love he is speaking of is not dreamy, unrequited love but reciprocal, passionate and physical. The opinion of the public referred to in "The Canonization" condemns two unmarried lovers. Therefore their passion is in direct opposition to the Church's prescriptions. This is what makes the conceit of lovers as saints in "The Canonization" so interesting. Through his use of sexual and religious imagery and emblems in "The Canonization," Donne suggests that romantic love and religious love are more similar than different, as both represent a desire for unity and spiritual fulfillment."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bach, Rebecca A. "(Re)placing John Donne in the History of Sexuality." ELH 72, no. 1 (2005): 259-289.
  • Donne, John. "The Canonization." 2003. (accessed August 20, 2011).
  • Herz, Judith S. "Under the Sign of Donne." Criticism 43, no. 1 (2001): 29-58.
  • Martin, Catherine G. "The Erotology of Donne's "Extasie" and the Secret History of Voluptuous Rationalism." SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 44, no. 1 (2004): 121-147.
  • West, William N. "Less Well-Wrought Urns: Henry Vaughan and the Decay of the Poetic Monument." ELH 75, no. 1 (2008): 197-217.

Cite this Poem Review:

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John Donne's Ode "The Canonization" (2011, November 16) Retrieved October 19, 2020, from

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"John Donne's Ode "The Canonization"" 16 November 2011. Web. 19 October. 2020. <>