"Song: Goe, and catche a falling starre"
The reader is told to do impossible things such as catching a meteor or finding a "true and fair" woman after a lifetime of travels. The poet wishes he could go and see such a woman if she existed, but he knows that she would turn false by the time he got there.
The poem simply titled “Song” is often referred to by its opening line, “Goe, and catche a falling starre” to distinguish it from other poems published as Donne’s Songs and Sonnets. This 27-line poem is deceptively light, upon first reading, as so much of Donne’s poetry appears. On the surface, it suggests attitudes about love and the relations between the sexes, but once again Donne’s poem carries a spiritual metaphor. The tone is lightly satirical, with deeper truths peeking out from underneath the poet’s assumed worldliness and cynicism.
The meter for this poem is slightly unusual for Donne. It is not a typical “song” meter, even though that is its title. The title “Song” also gives a certain lightness and flippancy to the poem which is matched by the early lines about doing impossible things. The early lines prepare us for a cynical perspective that calls to mind the attitude of the jaded courtier singing to a collection of adults who are well-schooled in the vagaries of love.
The meter—tetrameter punctuated by monometer iambic lines—creates excellent and interesting pauses in the middle of stanzas. It is typical of Donne to surprise his reader, but usually not with tricks of meter that are so blatant. The short lines, which introduce the final line of each stanza, add greatly to the musical quality of the poem. One might imagine a male singer accompanying himself, perhaps, with a lute, and pausing to strum “And sweare/No where” or “Yet shee/Will be” with a wry or joking look towards his audience. The short lines act like a caesura (a poetic pause or breath) for the stanzas, setting up the surprising final lines. For example, “Serves to advance...