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'The Canonization' by John Donne; Brief-answer Questions

The Canonization

by John Donne

1. What does 'Canonization' mean? [NU 2012, 2013]

Ans: ‘Canonization’ means the act of declaring a dead person to be a saint by a Christian church. Upon this declaration the person is included in the "canon", or list, of recognized saints.

2. "For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love"- who does the poet say this to and why?

Ans: The poet says, "For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love" to some of his friends who were discouraging his love making with his beloved.

3. What aim of the poet regarding his love has been established in "The Canonization"?

Ans: In the poem “The Canonization" the aim that has been established by the poet regarding his love is to attain sainthood in the field of love.

4. What is “The Phoenix Riddle”? 

Ans: “The Phoenix Riddle” means the singular existence of the mythical bird Phoenix, its death and its rebirth from its own ashes.

5. What does the Phoenix symbolize in “The Canonization”?

Ans: In “The Canonization”, Phoenix symbolizes the immortality of love that exists between the poet and his beloved.

6. What do the dove and the eagle symbolize?

Ans: The dove and the eagle symbolize docility and aggressiveness respectively. 

7. Why does the poet compare himself and his beloved to the eagle and the dove?

Ans: The poet compares himself to the eagle and his beloved to the dove to show the mixture or combination of aggressiveness and docility in their act of love making. 

8. Who are canonized in the poem "The Canonization"?

Ans: The speaker and his beloved are canonized in the poem "The Canonization".

9. What, according to Donne, would render them sainthood?

Ans: The poems to be written by others praising the pure love affair of the poet and his beloved would render them sainthood.