John Donne's "Go and catch a falling star": Analysis of Rhetoric


    Go and catch a falling star
 by John Donne

 Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,

Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear
No where
Lives a woman true, and fair.If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet:
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two or three.

"Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the Devil’s foot,"

    This is a case  of allusion .It refers to the medieval believe that an unknown power has cleave the foot of the devil .

                      " And find
                  What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind"

            It is a case of Synecdoche . The abstract phrase ‘honest mind’ stands for the concrete honest person.




            It is also a case of Innuendo . The poet implies that in present society an honest person will  never rise in the social scale. Because that is reserved only for the  dishonest person .          

    "It thou beest born to strange sights,
    Things invisible go see …"

           This is a case of Hyperbaton . The normal order of words ---‘go and see invisible things’ has been  inverted.

    "‘Ride ten thousand days and  nights,
    Till age snow white hairs on thee ;"

          This is a case of Hyperbole .The poet vastly exaggerates the period of possible travel to  ten thousand days and nights .

   " If thou find’st  one, let me know,
     Such a pilgrimage were sweet;"

         This is a case of Metaphor  because a woman who is both faithful and beautiful has been  compared to a deity , her residence to a shrine and the journey to a pilgrimage .

    "Though she were true when you met her ,
And lat , till you write your letter,
                     Yet she
                     Will be
False, are I come, to two or three,"

  This is a case of Hyperbole .The poet exaggerates the possibility of faithlessness in so short a span of time.


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