Poet John Donne (1572-1631) was born on this day in London, England, to a wealthy Catholic family. He wrote his wonderful love poem, A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning (1611) about a couple facing separation.
Donne gave the poem to his wife just before leaving for France and he compared their love to “stiff twin compasses” with two legs joined permanently at the top.
The center foot (the person who stays behind) is firm and makes sure the absent lover comes back to form a complete circle because of its firmness. Linked at the top, the lovers work in unison. The compass and the circle together formed the Renaissance symbol for eternal perfection.
With metaphor and emotion, Donne passionately celebrated the spiritual perfection of love. For now... and forever.
Let separation strengthen the circle of love.