The term “metaphysical poetry” which flourished in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries employs unusual verse forms, complex figures of speech applied to elaborate and surprising metaphorical conceits, intellectual tone, abundance of subtle wit, dramatic tone and philosophic element.
Although these poets – John Donne, George Herbert, and Andrew Marvell- differed from one another, all three exercised an important influence on the society of the next generation. They were innovating, had freethinking and they wanted to break the boundaries. They broke down their time’s dogmas, and the aim of this article is to point out in what sense they are ahead of their time. While doing ...view middle of the document...
360) . The way to appreciate the Metaphysical Poetry and Poets follows to examine primarily Done who is accepted the milestone of Metaphysical poetry and also his successors. These distinguishing features can be put in this way;
First and foremost, in that times “new science” did not receive wide acceptance. However Done responded with a mixture of excitement and anxiety to such ideas as these: And new philosophy calls all in doubt/The element of fire is quiet put out/The sun is lost, and the earth, and no man’s wit/Can well direct him where to look for it. (Jones, 1969; p. 372). In this respect, he foresaw and used the “new science” – which would be gain acceptance several decades later- unlike most of the writers of his age. This indicates one proof of his broadmindedness. Besides, “To His Mistress Going to Bed” Donne calls his beloved’s body “... O my America! My new-found-land...”, thereby linking the conquest of exploration to the conquest of seduction. To convince his beloved to make love, he compares the sexual act to a voyage of discovery. Like America, the speaker explains, she will be discovered and conquered, too.
Moreover, their verse style strikes the reader by directness of the speaking voice and familiar tone of speech. It surprises and shocks the reader. They suggest not only with courtly politeness, but also with direct colloquial vigour. For instance;
Busy old fool, unruly sun,/Why dost thou thus/Through windows and through curtains call on us?/Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run? (The sun rising, Donne). Stress, intonation, gesture are imposed on us as we read; we have the sense of a living speech, individual and intimate. It has a colloquial vigour. Donne’s originality in diction includes words not merely from the vocabulary of science but from colloquialism.
Emphasizing male and female sexuality in the poems is also a prevalent point of reference in metaphysical poetry. The most spectacular example of this is may be “The Flea” of Donne. He uses “flea” as a conceit, to represent a sexual unian with his significant other.
Using paradoxical metaphors, puns, ambiguities, double meanings, witty conceits are feature of what makes them. “The Definition of Love” by Marvell features puns, ambiguities, paradoxes, and double meanings with the subject of despair and the imposibility of desire. Despair is paradoxically described as “magnanimous”. Magnanimous Despair alon/Could show mr so divine a thing,/Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown/But vainly flabbed its tinsel wing.
Donne took metaphors from all spheres of life, especially from crafts and the sciences, and made frequent use of the 'conceit': a surprising, ingenious, far-fetched turn of...