AD's English Literature : John Donne's "Canonization" : Ten Most Common Short Questions

John Donne's "Canonization" : Ten Most Common Short Questions

"For God's sake hold your tongue and let me love."
John Donne (1572? - 1631)
1. What is the meaning of the word ‘canonization’?
The word ‘Canonization’ means formal recognition as a saint, an act by which the pope publicly proclaims the sanctity of a deceased person, by the Christian church. 
In Donne’s poem the ‘canonization’ for the lovers implies that the lovers are holy as the christen saints and that there love is worthy to be emulated. 
 2. What does ‘arts’ refer to?              
Arts’ here refer to studies or bearing.  

 3. What is a ‘phoenix’? What does Donne say 'prove mysterious by this love’?                                                                    
The ‘Phoenix’ is mythical bird.  It is a mystery how it perpetual its species, since there is never more than one bird at a time. It is believed that periodically consume it self in fire and rise renewed.
Similarly, the lovers prove me serious because in their perfect union they become one flesh, after the consumption of their sexual passion, rise reinvigorated.
4. What is  ‘plague bill’?
The ‘plague bill’ is the bill of mortality or list of deaths from the plague. These bills were issued weekly in Donne’s time. Donne may be referring to the plague of 1592-93.
5. What is meant by ‘stamped face’? 
‘Stamped face’ means literally, the face of the king which was always embossed on coins. Actually it implies a pursuit of wealth.
6. What is the meaning of the word ‘hearse’?
The word ‘hearse’ means the carriage the dead.
7. What does Donne means by ‘legend’’?
A ‘legend’ is the story of a saint’s life. Here Donne speaks of the lovers as saints, implying that the true lovers are like saints.
8. What is the ‘pretty rooms’ referred to?
The ‘pretty rooms’ are the sonnets for etymologically, the Italian word sonnet meant a room.
9. What is meaning of the word ‘invoke’?
The word ‘invoke’ means to call on a God or a duty as witness or for aid.
10. What is 'well-wrought urn holy-acre tomb'?
A well wrought urn is beautifully decorated vase designed to hold ashes. In Donne’s Canonization, the poet suggests that just as beautifully worked ases are no less attractive than holy-acre tomb.

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