The Attitudes to Love Addressed in Loves Alchemy and Twicknam Garden
Twicknam Garden was a poem written by John Donne in 1607. It is one of
John Donne's late pieces of work and is thought to be written about
his patron and his feelings for her. Compared to his patron he was a
much lower class, almost a beggar compared to her. Twicknam Garden
shows a very unique outlook on love, it shows definate bitterness
towards love, but in a more reserved way than Loves Alchemy, Twicknam
Garden disdains love, but shows some respect towards the feeling.
Whereas Loves Alchemy holds a completely different outlook and
resentment to the feeling completely and wishes that this feeling had
never been felt at all.
Donne starts off Twicknam Garden with
"Blasted with sighs, and surrounded with tears"
This shows he is very emotional about the subject, and even thinking
of it makes him cry. He then goes on to say he wishes to find a cure
for this feeling, to receive a new feeling, and to stop the pain he
feels from his love for his patron:
"Hither I come to seek the spring,
Receive such balms, as else cure everything"
Donne expresses feelings of resentment towards the feelings he
possesses, as if they are something external, which have possessed
him. This seems more as if he has done something wrong, but does not
blame it on himself, blames it on another factor. He cannot take
responsibility for his own mistakes, and instead likes to think as if
he has been decieved.
"But O, self-traitor"
In Twicknam Garden Donne talks about how love can act as a poison and
how it can have more bad effects than beneficial,
"The spider love, which transubstantiates all,
and can convert manna to gall"
Gall being an acidic solutions like vinegar, and saying that love has
converted manna (which is either considered as the food god gave to
the Israelites, or a sudden gift which gives good fortune). However
manna is understood it is obvious that manna would be the feelings
felt when one was in love, and however they have been transcended to
acidic feelings, burning up inside.
In "Love's Alchemy," John Donne sets up an analogy between the
Platonists, who try, endlessly, to discover spiritual love, and the
alchemists, who in Donne's time, tried to extract gold from baser
metals. Donne is trying to show a different side to love, expressing
his beliefs that spiritual love does not exist and those who are
searching for it are only wasting their time. He suggests that all
love relies on heavily based sexual connections, which is why the
first lines give great sexual reference, The poem opens with two lines
that lay the groundwork for the analogy and that have a sexual
implication. The word "digged" and the image of "love's mine",
obviously allow for the comparison between the Platonist's and...