Everything you need to understand or teach A Valediction by John Donne.
The beginning of the poem causes some readers difficulty because the first two stanzas consist of a metaphysical conceit, but we do not know that until the second stanza. We should not read the word "as," which begins the poem, to mean "while," although that might be our instinct. Instead, "as" here means "in the way that"; it introduces an extended simile comparing the death of virtuous men to the separation of the two lovers. This first stanza describes how virtuous men die. Because they have led good lives, death does not terrify them, and so they die "mildly," even encouraging their souls to depart their bodies. In fact their death is so quiet that their friends gathered around the deathbed disagree on whether they are still alive and breathing.
The speaker now reveals that he is addressing his love, from whom he must separate. The poem itself will... View more of the A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning Summary