The Good-Morrow summary/explanation

About the Poem

‘The Good- Morrow’, poem is written by John Donne, published in 1633 through the collection of his Sonnet and songs, just after two years of his death. The Good- Morrow is one of his earliest works, he wrote this while studying in college at Lincoln’s Inn. Therefore, this poem is considered to be the first of his collection’s poem in terms of theme and maturity. The poem is written in 21 lines and divided in three stanzas, each consisting 7 lines.

The Good- Morrow the word morrow’ here stands for Morning. The poet has described the awaking lovers and their thoughts perception, according to the poet while waking next to each other is like a nightmare. This poem is stands at the threshold of a new love universe. The nightmarish experience from which the poet comes out is begotten by fear and jealousy that rule the roost in the mind of lovers. The canker of fear and jealousy eats into the tender emotion of love and makes a variable hell of life for lovers.

In the poem, the poet has used Biblical and Catholic writings which is indirectly referring to the legend of ‘Seven Sleepers’and Paul the Apostle’s description of divine, agapic- love as a concept with which is a practicing Catholic, Maybe Donne would have been familiar.

But in this phase of writing poetry the need for watchful jealousy passes, and a sense of serenity comes to the poet who finds himself in perfect rapport with his lady- love.

The Good- Morrow is one of many poems composed by John Donne which celebrates that rare love in which the senses are but vehicles and mating is a marriage of true minds. Also, it has been said that, this poem has behind it the groundswell of John Donne’s mood and calmness in respect of love is evident from the letter he wrote to Anne More.

Theme of the poem

In the The Good- Morrow, the theme is the nature and completeness of the Lover’s world. Donne that everyday idea that lovers live in a world of their own with little sense of reality, and turns right round, so that it is the outside world that is unreal.


The first stanza refers to the ‘Seven Sleepers’, the Catholic legend of seven Christian children, persecuted for their faith during the rein of the Roman emperor Decius, who fled to the shelter of a cave where they slept for more than two hundred years. Donne, one of six or seven children and a baptized Catholic during a time of strong anti- Catholic sentiment from both the populace and the government, would certainly have been familiar with the story.

The second stanza describes that, the author experiences a sense of wonder, having awaken in bed with his lover; he makes the discovery that their love makes finding “new universe” pale in importance.

In the third stanza, the poet communicates to his lover that they have proceeded from their former “childish” pleasure to this moment, where their souls have finally awakened and something miraculous has happened, because the poet feels the sort of love that Paul the Apostle claimed would only be encountered in heaven. While the version found in songs and sonnets includes this stanza as the last two lines, other manuscripts and a later volume of poetry give the last lines as “if our two loves be one, both thou and love just alike in all, so none of these (love) can die.

The Good- Morrow

By John Donne

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I

Did, till we lov’d? were we not wean’d till then?

But suck’d on country pleasures, childishly?

Or snorted we I’ the seaven sleepers den?

‘Twas so;But this, all pleasures fancies bee.

Which I desir’d, and got, ‘twas but a dreame of thee.

And now good morrow to our waking soules,

Which watch not one another out of feare;

For love, all love of other sights controules,

And makes one little roome, an every where.

Let sea- discoverers to new world have gone,

Let maps to others, worlds on worlds have showne,

Let us possesse our world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,

And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest,

Where can we finde two better hemispheres

Without sharp North, without declining West?

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.

Also Read: Adam’s Curse poem by W.B Yeats