A close reading of John Donne’s “The Ecstasy”
John Donne wrote many very romantic and love filled poems during his life time. Many of these were said to have been written to his wife and love of his life Ann Donne. John expressed his feelings for Ann through his poems. Some sources say the poem “The Ecstasy” shows just how deeply in love John and Ann where. “The Ecstasy” is a love poem full of analogies and metaphors that can be perceived in several ways.
The beginning of the poem really sets the mood for the rest of the story. It begins with two lovers staring into each other’s eyes and holding hands on what could be perceived as a hill or a steep bank.
“Where, like a pillow on a bed,
A pregnant bank swelled up, to rest
The violet’s reclining head,
Sat we two, one another’s best.”
“Our hands were firmly cemented
Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread
The Poem then begins to speak of the connection between their souls. The connection seems to be very strong, and overwhelms them.
It would seem that they laid motionless for most of the poem. It talks about their souls leaving their bodies and somewhat hovering over them. This could symbolize the understanding between the couple. It seems that Donne was explaining that no words needed to be spoken for them to communicate. The lovers communicated with their souls, and the thoughts between them could only be understood by a love just as strong. The poem continues to speak of the bond between the two lovers and emotions they share, until about the end.
Near the end of the poem the tone shifts from contentment to somewhat desire. The man begins to want sexual contact rather than just emotional.
“We owe them thanks, because they thus, Did us to us at first convey, Yielded their forces, sense, to us, Nor are dross to us, but allay.”(Donne)
The man is tired of “forbearing”, and wants embrace their bodies and not just their soul. He proclaims that they are made of two parts: the body...