“The Good Morrow” by John Donne
troth – word of honour
fancies – whims
slacken – loosen
Questions and Answers
1. To what is the poem’s title referring?
“The Good Morrow” refers to the time after the two lovers in this poem meet. Donne compares meeting his true love to waking up to a new day, which he greets in stanza two with “…good morrow to our waking souls.”
2. What kind of imagery does Donne use in the first stanza to describe life before the two loves met?
Donne uses words like “wean’d,” “suck’d,” and “childishly” to create an image of childhood and ignorance.
3. What is the rhyme scheme and meter of this poem?
The poem’s rhyme scheme is A/B/A/B C/D/C/D E/F/E/F G/G (a Shakespearean or Elizabethan sonnet form). It is written in iambic pentameter.
4. Explain the significance and meaning of lines 6-7.
The speaker is explaining that while he did see and get other beautiful things (women), they were all inferior to his love. The line is significant because it answers the speaker’s own question of what he did before he found his love.
5. Why do you think Donne repeats the words “world” and “worlds” so frequently in lines 12 14?
Donne repeats the words to show their importance to the speaker. He is comparing his love with the world— in size, in importance, and in uses.
6. Line 12 contains an example of what poetic device?
“Whatever dies, was not mix’d equally” is an example of verbal irony, as “dies” is also a homophone for dyes or the mixing of colours. There is also the literal meaning of dying.