Short questions and answers of The Good Morrow

What do you know about Seven Sleepers’ den?

The above phrase occurs in the fourth line of the poem, The Good Morrow. It is an allusion to the seven noble brothers of Ephesus. They were Christian young men whom the emperor Decius sought for persecution in 251 AD. The seven brothers hid themselves in a cave in order to escape Decius’ persecution. The entrance of the cave was blocked up. The seven men slept there for about two hundred years. Then they come out still young in the reign of the younger Theodosius.

Donne has used here the long sleep of the seven brothers as a conceit. He has compared the unconscious love of the lovers to the sleep of the seven brothers. The comparison is far-fetched and extraordinary. It adequately suggests the state of love that was dormant in them before they have become conscious of it.


What is the Story of Seven Sleepers?

The Seven Sleepers or Ashab-ul-Kahaf (People of the Cave) is the story of the youth who hid inside a cave in the city of Ephesus around the third century to escape religious persecution and emerged some 300 years later. The story is considered by Catholics and Orthodox Christians and is also mentioned in the Qur’an.

According to the story, during the persecution of Christians (250 CE) under the Roman emperor Decius, seven (eight in some versions) Christian soldiers were concealed near their native city of Ephesus in a cave to which the entry was later sealed. There, having protected themselves from being forced to do pagan sacrifices, they fell into a miraculous sleep.

Decius died in 251, and many years passed during which Christianity went from being persecuted to being the state religion of the Roman Empire. During the reign of the Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius II (408–450 CE), the cave was reopened, and the Sleepers awoke.

When the sleepers awakened, they believed they had slept for only a few hours. One of them was sent to buy food. The coins he used to buy food were no longer in circulation and it drew the attention of the people. After the story was known throughout the town, the sleepers died.

The above-shown stamp depicts Ephesus which is believed to be the city of the Seven Sleepers. The bottom stamp is of a mosque in Chenini in the Tataouine governate of Tunisia, where the Seven Sleepers are purportedly buried.

What is Metaphysical poetry?

Ans: In the 17th century, a new school of poetry emerged in reaction to the Elizabethan poetic convention. That new school is known as metaphysical poetry. The term metaphysics refers to the science of abstract concepts. Meta means beyond and physics means science of concrete things. So, metaphysics means a subject that deals with things which do not have concrete shapes. That means, metaphysics deals with philosophical ideas.

What are the characteristics of metaphysical poetry?

What is conceit? Mention some conceits from the Good Morrow.

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