John Donne - The Good Morrow

Page revised 8 October 1998


I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoveres to new worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies was not mixed equally,
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.


Donne, though a man of the cloth in his later years, was quite the ladies man in his youth. The Good-Morrow details his feelings about one of his loves. The Good-Morrow is about love in the highest order. He starts the poem by saying that anything they thought they loved before they met was just an illusion. This love is the real thing and makes all other loves seem insignificant by comparison. In line 3, "country pleasures," so I'm told, is synonymous with sex.

In the second stanza, Donne says that the room that he and his lover share is everything, and everywhere. There is no life beyond the walls of their room, because they are the only two things that matter in the entire world.

In the third stanza, Donne and his lover are looking into each other's eyes. What Donne sees is his own image reflected in her eyes, just as she sees her own image in his eyes. The two hemispheres are each others eyes, which are worlds unto themselves, and better than the actual world (earth) because they are not cold in the north or primitive in the west. They have none of the problems of the real world. In essence, their world is better than the world outside of where they are. Donne then goes on to say that if they love each other equally, then their love will never die.

go to "The Sun Rising" go to "The Funeral"
go to "Woman's Constancy" go to "Love's Usury"