John Donne's "Elegy 19. To His Mistress Going to Bed"
<div>The background image here is a 17th century oil on canvas piece by Peter Leley. The subject is thought to be Barbara Villiers, the mistress of Charles II. Leley portrays her as Venus alongside Cupid, who is undressing her coquettishly, much like the speaker poetically undresses his mistress in Elegy 19.</div>
<div>Here is a reading of Elegy 19 by British actor and Royal Shakespeare Company veteran, Jasper Britton.</div> www.youtube.com The poem is read here by the British actor Jasper Britton.
<div>The Oxford English Dictionary definition (4) of blazon is "A description or record of any kind; <i>esp.</i> a record of virtues or excellencies." Donne's use of blazon in Elegy 19 proves ironic, as Donne uses a convention originally meant to depict virtuousness and honor to portray the excitement and sensuality of a mistress' tantalizing nudity.</div> www.oed.com The OED is the definitive record of the English language, featuring 600,000 words, 3 million quotations, and over 1,000 years of English.
<div>This is an English translation of Roman poet Ovid's "Metamorphoses," in which the tale of Atalanta and Hippomenes appears (Bk X:560-637 Venus tells her story: Atalanta and Hippomenes). Donne references this myth in Elegy 19's line 36, comparing the distracting quality of the mistress' gems to the apples or "balls" in the myth of Atalanta and Hippomenes. </div> www.poetryintranslation.com Ovid - The Metamorphoses: Book 10 - a new complete downloadable English translation with comprehensive index, and other poetry translations including Baudelaire, Chinese, European .
<div>This article from the New Yorker gives relevant biographical information on Donne, and discusses the uniqueness and profoundness of Donne's erotic poems, featuring Elegy 19 as well. </div> www.newyorker.com John Donne’s Erotica
<div>This drawing by Jan van der Straet illustrates colonialism of America as sexual imagery, as Donne does in his metaphor, "O my America! my new-found-land, / My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned;" comparing his mistress to territory.</div> ccat.sas.upenn.edu América: James van der Straet
<div>Here is contemporary poet and Guggeneheim Fellowship recipient Lisa Russ Spaar's response piece to Donne's Elegy 19. </div> www.poets.org What might she send — a wet sleeve
<div>This is a short essay by Ian Mackean explicating the theme of religiosity and physicality as aspects of love in John Donne's love poems. Elegy 19 is featured several times as evidence of Donne incorporating religious aspects into his sexual metaphors.</div> www.literature-study-online.com A study of the variety of views of love depicted in John Donne's Songs and Sonnets
<div><b>Works Cited</b></div><div><br></div><div>Leley, Peter. <i>Portrait of a Young Woman and Child, as Venus and Cupid</i>. (C17th). <i>Bridgeman Images</i>. Web. &lt;http://www.bridgemanimages.com/fr/asset/434086/Lely-Sir-Peter-1618-80/Portrait-of-a-young-woman-and-child-as-Venus-and-&gt;.</div><div><br></div><div>Kormann, Carolyn. "John Donne's Erotica." The New Yorker. N.p., 14 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. &lt;http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/john-donnes-erotica&gt;.</div><div><br></div><div>"John Donne (1572-1631) -- Poem 'To His Mistress Going to Bed' Read by Jasper Britton." YouTube. YouTube, 05 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. &lt;https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-oUYcWF6w4&gt;.</div><div><br></div><div>"blazon, n." OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2016. Web. 14 April 2016.</div><div><br></div><div>"Book X." <i>The Metamorphoses</i>. Trans. A. S. Kline. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag.<i>Poetry in Translation</i></div><div><br></div><div>America. 1575. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. &lt;http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/romance/spanish/219/07colonial/america.html&gt;."Book X." <i>The Metamorphoses</i>. Trans. A. S. Kline. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. p</div><div><br></div><div>Spaar, Lisa. "After John Donne’s “To His Mistress Going to Bed"" <i>Poets.org</i>. Academy of American Poets, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2016. &lt;https://www.poets.org/p</div><div><br></div><div>Mackean, Ian. "The Love Poetry of John Donne." <i>Literature Study Online</i></div>

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