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Poem of the week: The Anniversary by John Donne

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Written with a musical setting in mind, this metaphysical celebration of 'everlasting' fidelity sings with love and intellectual honesty

John Donne was the grandson of last week's poet John Heywood. It's not impossible that Heywood saw the young boy who would turn out to inherit his talents, growing up to take the verbal wit he so enjoyed to bold new heights of poetic expression. Donne was born to Heywood's daughter, Elizabeth, in 1572. Although by this time, Heywood was in exile in Malines, and had only six years or so to live, he had permission from Elizabeth I to visit England. John Donne, of course, was also a child of precarious political times.

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