The Canonization By John Donne – Summary And Analysis

The Canonization By John Donne is a metaphysical poet where the poet tags himself as a lover. Donne basically sets up the five-stanza argument to express the purity and supremacy of his love for the another.

Summary of The Canonization By John Donne


Before digging into the summary of The Canonization let’s first understand the primary theme of the poem.

In the poem, the poet demands the complainer to stop hindering their lives and leave them alone so that they could continue loving each other without any hindrance. The lover says that there is nobody in the world who is being hurt by their love. Their love is not causing any trouble in the society; their tears are not causing floods; Spring won’t go away due to his coldness. Likewise, the lover wants to prove that his love is not creating any hindrance in the society. The lovers are compared to candles that will burn out on their own. Their love is a beautiful example of the world that will be immortalized.

the canonization by john donne

Have you noticed?

Each stanza begins and ends with the word ‘love’. 

Stanza Wise The Canonization Summary

Here goes the stanza wise summary of The Canonization:

The Canonization Stanza 1:

In the stanza one, the lover is in a peevish mood. He addresses this verse to a complainer. Apparently, he wants to say that one should keep himself busy by doing appropriate work rather than keeping a check on him and his lover.

The lover tells the complainer that he can make fun of him as he is suffering from diseases and has grey hair but he won’t gain anything by that. He says that he can criticize his ill health but not his tendency to love. He questions the complainer why doesn’t he work and improve his lifestyle or make some money instead disturbing or interfering with their lives?

The lovers have so many things to get engaged in, so they say the addressee not to disturb them. She says that he needs to think what he is going to do.

The Canonization Stanza 2:

This stanza contains the elaborate metaphysical aspects of the poem.

Alas, alas, who’s injured by my love?


What merchant’s ships have my sighs drowned?

The lovers are not making any war or spreading diseases in the society. They respect others property. The poet wants to say that his love injures nobody. It’s harmless. The lover is tactful, full of emotion and witty.

He says, her sights are not responsible for the drowning of the ship. His tears are not responsible for the flood or floating off the ground. Spring won’t go away due to his coldness. Nature has its own natural course and the lovers are not harming it. The heat in his veins has not increased the number of the people who die of plague. His love is harmless.

The lover says that the soldiers are doing their duty by going to wars and the lawyers by fighting cases in the court. But what the lover wants is to love his partner.

The Canonization Stanza 3:

The lover does not care if he is called by any name because love has made them so. He says that they are like flies. They have a very short existence. He presumes the life to be short, just like the candle.

He compares himself as Eagle and his lover as Dove; they are complementary to each other. They love each other from the bottom of their heart.

According to the lover, the riddle of Phoenix is there in their existence. They have two bodies, but they are one.  Like the Phoenix, they die and they rise from their ashes.

The Canonization Stanza 4:

The poet begins with the thought that, if they cannot live by love, they can die by it. He further says that if their love is not fit for tombs and hearse, they will find their place in poetry. So, basically, they will find their place in the love sonnets. He says that he and his lover will be canonized by his love.

He believes, love doesn’t die on death. If it is a platonic or desirable love, then it tends to exist even after death. Both their ashes will be amalgamated or get merged if kept together.

The Canonization Stanza 5:

In the final stanza of The Canonization, John Donne wants to reflect their ideal pattern of love. He says that they will be declared saints and will be rewarded sainthood of love. The lover also says that all the lovers will beg their pattern of love. People from various countries, towns, and courts will be praising their love pattern and will ideally follow it.



  1. maliktahirmalik33@gmail.com' MUHAMMAD TAHIR August 10, 2018
  2. ritikasaxena122@gmail.com' Ritika November 30, 2018

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