In this work, Donne uses metaphysical conceit to compare suffering and treasure. Metaphysical conceit is a style an author uses where he or she tells the readers of things in absurd or even shocking manner. However, the truth in these lines eventually becomes clearer as the readers begin to think more and dig deeper between the lines…
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In this particular work, Donne mentions that there are two forms of treasure --- affliction and gold --- and both treasures are linked to suffering. On “affliction”, Donne is reinforcing the ideas initially stated on the first part of his masterpiece. He is showing that people are interconnected to each other and that another person’s suffering should be deemed as our own. He mentioned that since everyone has their own share of sufferings in this world, taking in a share of our neighbor’s sufferings does not mean we are begging for it, for we do not beg of something that we already possess. It may seem absurd to think of wanting to share another’s sufferings. However, on a broader viewpoint, if reflected upon and applied positively to one’s self, sufferings and hardships make us stronger and bring us into a deeper relationship with the Creator, thus making us more ready to face Him when the “bell rings for us.” (Donne, 174) On “gold,” Donne mentions, “If a man carry treasure in bullion or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current moneys, his treasure will not defray him as he travels.” (Donne, 174) One may wonder how gold can be linked to suffering. On a personal standpoint, a traveler carrying “bullion” or “gold” is burdened with a useless and heavy weight since it cannot be used for his travel or personal expenses and necessities. Therefore, if this heavy weight (gold) does not do the traveler any good (none coined into current moneys), this gold is merely an affliction, not a treasure.
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“Works of John Dunne: Meditation 17 (By John Dunne) Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/other/1406782-works-of-john-dunne-meditation.
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