Tuesday 4 June 2019

Metaphysical poetry by John donne notes , meaning , features

What is Metaphysical Poetry ? Discuss John Donne as a metaphysical poet ?

John donne,metaphysical poetry definition meaning


The term "Metaphysical" was applied more or less accidentally to designate a particular group of poets. John Dryden , while writing on John Donne , Mentioned the term 'Metaphysics' saying 'He affects the metaphysics'. Dr. Samuel Johnson subsequently employed the word to attach it to a race of writers that may be called the metaphysical poets. Since then the group of poets who wrote under the influence of John Donne has been termed as Metaphysical poets.

Metaphysical poetry thus came to mean a specific type of poetry with certain characteristics features , common to these groups of poets .Metaphysical poetry is very often defined as some thing fantastic or vague . But this is not true and this poetry does not denote any queer or vague trend , but rather bears a number of specific features that give it a distinctive merit .Read More Metaphysical poetry by John Donne notes , meaning , features.

In metaphysical love poetry as well as religious verses , such characteristics features are sufficiently indicated , they may be well illustrated with reference to some of the 17th century like John Donne , Henry Vaughan , George Herbert , and Andrews Marvell . The Meta physical poets are thus generally grouped together not because they lived in a particular age but because they shared some common features . What starts out prominently in these poet is a blend of emotional and intellectual qualities of a sensitive alert heart and a vigorously active mind. READ BEOWULF AS AN EPIC POEM

Metaphysical poetry by John donne notes , meaning , features .



Characteristics of Metaphysical poetry

1. The first characteristics that Metaphysical poetry bears is concentration .

The metaphysical poet do not muse or debate upon a particular idea or point . He rather keeps his reader confined to an idea or a line of arguement . He tends to be brave and his poetry is always characterised by its closely concentrated ideas. This concentration marks the speciality of the eminent meta physical poets like Donne , Vaughan and Marvell.

2. Another important feature of the metaphysical poetry is found in their constant use of Conceits .

A conceit invites a comparison in which there is more of dissimilarity than of similarity . This is like a flash made by two completely unlike stones. Metaphysical poets abounds in such flashes . Their poem presents the comparison which invite the mind to stay beyond the common point of resemblance and thereby give a pleasant shock. Read more for Metaphysical conceit and wit .


Metaphysical conceit and wit


The presence of conceit has given on intellectual bias to metaphysical poetry . Metaphysical poets are reflective and they exhibit more intellect and less emotions . Their Conceits are often the expression of the inner psychology of human mind . Their property is analytical as well as intellectual and here they cover a wide range of thoughts and ideas in varied moods and fashions . The reflective aspects of Metaphysical poetry is seen particularly in the presence of wit . Of course , the elements of wit is not marked equally in all the metaphysical poets , although it is not even absent from metaphysical religious verses . 

There are some delightful wit present even in the sacred poems of Donne , Herbert and Vaughan .

The analytical habit of the metaphysical poets is the very cause of the peculiarity of their imagery , diction and versification . The imagery of the metaphysical poets appears often extravagant and far fetched . In fact , the poets are found to employ only those words that strike the mind with thoughts . The metaphysical poets usually evokes poetical moods and feelings not with conventional phrases and images but rather with intellectual or common place matter  , with geographical or scientific facts or terms .Read Further John Donne as a metaphysical poet.




John Donne (1573-1631) is known as the founder of the metaphysical school of English poetry . His poetical genius can be felt in his love songs , elegies and religious verses .

John Donne's "A Hymn to God the Father" is the ideal metaphysical poem. A metaphysical poem basically deals with abstract thought and it mainly  focuses on intellectual and philosophical concerns. This type of poetry is centered around the idea of conceit, and metaphor that combines two unlike ideas into a single idea.

In the poem "A Hymn to God the Father"'s .Donne is talking about sins and the forgiveness of sins. He himself committed a horrible sin and due to which he is going to die in the end. Throughout the poem, he incorporates a "big picture" through conceit. Here in this poem Donne compared committing sins with death. His extended metaphor is the idea that sins equal death. John Donne presents this poem in a flat tone and minimal imagery; he leaves out emotional aspects so that the audience can focus on the poem's metaphysical content.

"Holy Sonnet No. 10" is a another poem written by John Donne and this poem  is a good example of metaphysical poetry as it discusses two topics existence and truth

Donne brings light to our existence as something that we can not control and accepts the truth of the matter. The topic of the poem is overcoming the fear of death and living life because death is inevitable. This is an example of conceit because Donne is connecting two unlike things into a single idea, using minimal imagery in order to get the reader to focus mainly on the idea he is trying to get across.READ MORE Metaphysical poetry by John donne notes , meaning , features .





1. George Herbert (1593-1633) is another notable name in metaphysical poetry . He is essentially a religious poet . The essence of his poetic creation is perceived in his unfailing devotion . His works are marked with simplicity and they are the spontaneous expression of his profound Christian faith .

2. Henry Vaughan is also a religious poet. His poetry unlike Herbert's, to mystical and his conceit are all in keeping with the typical metaphysical fashion .

Two others important metaphysical poets are Richard Crashaw (1613-1649) and Abraham Cowley.

 3. Crashaw is a perfect exponent of metaphysical poetry , both in his secular verses and in his religious. His conceit are more elaborate than Donne's and in him is found a perfect exhibition of Metaphysical imagery and technique.

4.  In Abraham Cowley (1618-1667) is found an original master . His lyrics are full of thoughts and imagination , distributed in equal proportion. His imagery and versification are found quite original and his technique mastery is well evident in his odes . 

5. Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) , the last great name in philosophical poet but his poetry remains admirable for its lyrical fervour and technical grace .READ GEOFFREY CHAUCER FATHER OF ENGLISH POETRY

The extent of the influence of metaphysical poetry is well marked in modern English poetry . The concise approach and the intellectual bias of metaphysical poetry are found to characterized much of modern English poetry . John Donne's importance in English poetry is found much enhanced by his immense impact on 20th century English poetry. E.S Eliot finds in him the just blend of emotions and intellectual which is an example and an inspiration for the reversification of the poetic tradition.

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