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The Triple Fool Summary & Analysis
by John Donne

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"The Triple Fool" is the 17th-century English poet John Donne's witty, rueful reflection on the power—and the limits—of poetry. Heartbroken by unrequited love, the poem's speaker tries to alleviate his suffering by writing a poem about his grief. For a moment, he thinks he's managed to trap his pain in verse. Then he's knocked flat when "some man" sets his poem to music, and he's forced to feel all his heartbreak afresh through the power of the song. Art might "purge" and contain a painful feeling, this speaker concludes, but it can also just give that feeling more power—and "love and grief" will always have the last word. This poem was first published in 1633, two years after Donne's death.

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