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The Love Poetry of John Donne

            Donne's love poetry expresses a wide variety of changing views and attitudes towards love. Through his poetry Donne portrays love at times as physical, at other times as spiritual, and sometimes as a combination of both. Often times when Donne is speaking about physical love he describes it in terms of a religious experience, as in To His Mistress Going to Bed, this description of physical love would seem to imply that it holds great importance to Donne. He then refers to spiritual love as the purer and stronger form of love which can be seen in Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, which subsequently implies that spiritual love is the higher form of love. However, in The Ecstasy Donne says that the uniting of the souls in spiritual love can only be attained through a uniting of the bodies, this idea somewhat contradicts the points Donne makes about love in To His Mistress Going to Bed and Valediction: Forbidding Mourning. .
             In To His Mistress Going to Bed, we see how highly Donne praises and enjoys the aspects of physical love. Donne refers to his mistress as, " O, my America, my Newfoundland, My kingdom, safest when with one man mann'd, My mine of precious stones, my empery; How am I blest in thus discovering thee!- Obviously from the strong sentiments of his words, Donne places a considerable amount of importance on the aspects of physical love. Finding the body of his mistress as significant as discovering a "new land- shows the high level of importance Donne places on physical love. In this poem Donne also uses the phrase, " a heaven like Mahomet's paradise - bringing in the religious language raises the level of reverence he holds for the woman's physical attributes, and so physical love itself. .
             In contrast with To His Mistress Going to Bed is Valediction: Forbidding Mourning, in which Donne greatly emphasizes the importance and superiority of spiritual love over physical love.

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