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"Song: Go and Catch a Falling Star" Poem Analysis

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Lauren Diamond

on 24 November 2014

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Transcript of "Song: Go and Catch a Falling Star" Poem Analysis

Stanza 1 Summary
The narrator tells the reader to do impossible things such as:
Stanza 2 Summary
The narrator is directly addressing the reader.
Says if you are used to seeing odd, impossible things, then go find him a woman.
Commands to search far and wide until you are old and then come back and tell him about your experiences.
Says in the last three lines that you will never find him his ideal woman.
Stanza 3 Summary
If you do ever find his perfect woman, tell him
He then says not to because he believes women are deceitful
Even if she were next door to him he still wouldn't go.
His reasoning is that by the time you write to him about this girl you found, she would have already been with other men
Literary Devices
"Teach me to hear mermaids singing"
Allusion- In Greek Mythology, beautiful creatures called Sirens would tempt men with their voices. Once they lured the men, they would kill them and eat them. This reference is used to show how the poet believes that women are deceitful.
"Ride ten thousand days and nights"
Hyperbole- used to show that no matter how long or far you search, you'll never be able to find him his perfect woman.
Mandrake Root- root believed to have magical powers
"Song: Go and Catch a Falling Star" Poem Analysis
By Lauren Diamond

"Song: 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.

Cleft- split or indentation
Befell- happen to or become of
Pilgrimage- journey
Catch falling stars
Have a child with a mandrake root
Tell him everything about the past
Tell him who split the devil's foot
Learn to hear mermaids voices
The last three lines say that even though he is a honest man, he still can't find a woman.
"Go and catch a falling star"
Hyperbole- Donne exaggerates the impossibility of catching a star and compares it to his belief that its impossible to find a perfect woman
"Get with child a mandrake root"
Hyperbole- Once again takes something that is impossible and compares it to his idea that its impossible to find an honest woman.
"Or to keep off envy's stinging"
Personification- saying that envy can physically hurt you
Line 10- "be'st born" and "strange sights"
Line 22- "might meet"
Poetic Form
Stanza 1 and 3- ABABCCDDD
The meter is iambic tetrameter
The poem is very negative and pessimistic. Its tone is mostly depressing
Theme- Its impossible to find true love.
Full transcript