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A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy's Day, Being The Shortest Day

Rating: 3.0
'Tis the year's midnight, and it is the day's,
Lucy's, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks;
The sun is spent, and now his flasks
Send forth light squibs, no constant rays;
The world's whole sap is sunk;
The general balm th' hydroptic earth hath drunk,
Whither, as to the bed's feet, life is shrunk,
Dead and interr'd; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar'd with me, who am their epitaph.
Study me then, you who shall lovers be
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COMMENTS
Adeeb Alfateh 21 July 2019
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have; I, by Love's limbec, am the grave Of all that's nothing. Oft a flood Have we two wept, and so Drown'd the whole world, us two; oft did we grow To be two chaoses, when we did show Care to aught else; and often absences beautiful poem shared great expression great 10+++++++++++++++
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Jon Fogerty 24 January 2010
This is Donne in melancholy mood: deep, dark despair following the death of his wife, Anne. All of his great love poems were written for her. And here, in what is the very anti-thesis of all those love poems, he is addressing the loss of Anne- her death. It is a difficult poem but, in my opinion, one of Donne's great, great works- perhaps even greater than any of the love poems or the Holy Sonnets. Why do I say this? - because it addresses the deep, personal loss, the anguish, the pain, the sense of futility, helplessness and isolation that he feels when contemplating the finality of death, the final breaking up with the one he loved, a breaking up that cannot be reversed. The language is stark, uncompromising: 'I am every dead thing' he says. He contemplates the prospect of those who are discovering love for the first time and urges them to look at him now, facing the end of love 'study me then you who would lovers be' he writes. He is urging them to be prepared for what love will ultimately lead to: loss, pain, aloneness when the loved one is gone, the realisation that, at the end, he must 'prepare towards her' that without his beloved there is nothing, just the wait to join her in death.
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