The opening stanza of The Canonization “For Godsake hold your tongue and let me love, / Or chide my palsy, or my gout, / My five gray hairs, or ruin’d fortune flout,” (Donne 1-3) starts off in a whimsical and satiric way. The author conveys that he just wants to love, and that it really does not affect anyone in a harmful way. Throughout the next few lines the author tells the addressee to go look at his or her own wealth, or someone of higher nobility, even go and observe the king. Do all these things that he asks, just so long as you let him love.
All throughout the poem, the author asks questions about whom his love hurts. Has his love sunken a ship, or has his love brought cold to the summer? His reference to these questions and to the symbolism of “Soldiers find wars, and Lawyers find out still / Litigious men, which quarrels move,” (16-17) is a unique way to say that just like those men which can find their battles, he can find his love. Later he speaks about how he and his love can die by the emotion, and that their love will be so grand it will be written about and forever remembered or “canonized” for the future. Furthermore, the poet’s love will be a symbol of how love should be and “Countries, towns, courts: Beg from above / A pattern of your love!” (44-45).
Even today those in love can relate to the feelings in this poetry. Many couples are forbidden from being together, and some onlookers go to great lengths to separate those in love. Just let them love!
Donne, John. “The Canonization”. The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume 2A. Ed. David Damrosch. 2nd ed. New York: Longman, 2003.