William Shakespeare and John Donne were both poets from England born in the 16th Century. Shakespeare is famous for his dramatic plays, but he is also commonly known for his sonnets. John Donne originally Catholic, became an Anglican priest and was known for his sermons. William Shakespeare's "Let me not to the marriage of true minds," also known as "Sonnet 116" discusses love, as does John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning." These two poems are identical in theme and they express similar meanings of love.
In Shakespeare's sonnet "Let me not to the marriage of true minds" it is emphasized that real love endures. Shakespeare put forth an ideal of love that it is as constant as the stars and is everlasting; "O, no, it is an ever-fixed mark" (5). The love that he conveys is a beacon, it is a north star. And like that star its worth is unknown, "It is the star to every wand"ring bark, / Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken" (7-8). Shakespeare highlights that love is treasured not because its youth is precious or because .
the erotic impulse is sweet to fulfill, but because love alone can overcome life's unrelenting waste and futility, "Love's not Time's fool, though rosy .
lips and cheeks" (9). In this line the Shakespeare refers to Father Time as a symbol for the passing of youth and life. Finally in the last couplet of the sonnet, Shakespeare asserts he is so sure that love is constant by saying "If this be error and upon me proved / I never writ, nor no man ever loved" (13-14). .
John Donne's "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" is a farewell poem that calls for no weeping, "So let us melt, and make no noise. / No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move" (5-6). The speaker of the poem is going away but he says "Though I must go, endure not yet / A breach, but an expansion" (22-23). Their love is strong and will not die because they are separated. Donne uses a metaphor that their division is like an earthquake, "Moving of the earth brings harms and fears (9), however "Though greater far, is innocent" (12).