Donne's love poetry and modern reader
Donne is definitely egotistical, introspective and analytical in his love-poetry. He never dwells upon the physical beauty and features of his beloved. He never compares his beloved to an angel or a red rose that newly springs in June. Donne's concept of love is entirely different from that of Dryden. According to Dryden, love is a diversion, a kind of sport, an entertainment. Donne in his songs and sonnets never dwells upon abstract or spritual love. His serious love poems are neither ideal like those of Dante nor unideal like those of Roman lyricists. Donne writes of mutual love between men and women not as one pleasure among other pieasures, or an experience among other experiences or as an experience that intensifies other experiences or as a starting point for voyages into unknown modes of being rather as something complete and sufficient in and for itself. He does not use this experience as a mere starting point ...view middle of the document...
People were fumbling their way in this world of doubts and suspicion. They were desperateiy struggling for oneness and the ultimate truth.
Donne takes various perspectives that used to sustain man in past and tries to feel and experience them. Unfortunately, he comes out with only a half truth each time. Donne was a seeker like Adam and Prometheus. He was frustrated, afflicted and tormented like them. He suggested that intellect was useless and the ultimate truth and reality could be found only in passion, the passion of love or the passion of faith. Only the idealistic and materialistic critics find the intense personal drama of Donne's poetry meaningless or much ado about nothing.
Donne, in his love, is not courting a mistress but is trying to make clear both to himself and to a kind of wife-mistress precisely what thier relationship means to him and it mean everything to him. It alone is completely real and there is nothing in comparison with it. Donne never sacrifices the actual to the ideal and the finite to infinite like Blake and Shelley. He attempts to achieve completeness within incompleteness by a renunciation of the world not in favour of otherworldliness but in favour of a kind of private world where there is nothing else except his beloved.
Donne's love poetry is characerized by a lot of argumentations, counter argumentations and dramatic movements. These arguments and counter arguments are ingenious and scholastic in nature and spirt. Moreover, the language is precise, strictly denotative and uncharged with familiar and the subject or experience extremely delimited and particular. The dramatic element is produced by an exquisite interaction between the logical structure and speech rhythm. Every word receives the right emphasis and performs maximum amount of work. Donne's poems are almost always argumentative rather than meditative. He confines himself to the development and illustration of some very definite point, however, tender or impassioned or excited his arguments may be. He takes up a supposition and then support it with arguments from analogy. His poems are both close continuous arguments and continuously poetical. By means of prose nanlysis, we can separate arguments from poetry but we can not separate poetry from arguments.