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John Donne, metaphysical poet

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by

Sarah Cox

on 24 January 2014

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Transcript of John Donne, metaphysical poet

Love Poetry
Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,

Where we almost, nay more than married are.

This flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;

Though parents grudge, and you, we' are met,

And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
From "The Flea"
Theological Poetry
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,

For, if above all these, my sins abound,

'Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace,

When we are there; here on this lowly ground,

Teach me how to repent.
from "Divine Meditations I"
Works Consulted
Love, marriage, and consequences
1598: Secretary to Lord Egerton
Secretly marries Anne More, Lady Egerton's niece, who is 16!
Punishment: no dowry, brief imprisonment, social exile (temporarily)
Anne More dies during birth of 12th child
King James eventually pressures him to become Anglican Royal Chaplain
Metaphysical Poetry
Uses paradox, imagery, and subtle argument to startle reader into new perspective.
Often employs extended metaphor known as a conceit.
"Poetic style in which philosophical and spiritual subjects were approached with reason and often concluded in paradox." - www.poets.org
Early Life
Born 1572, London
Born into Roman Catholic family during religious unrest
Studied Oxford, Cambridge, but took no degrees--to do so would be to subcribe to Anglican 39 Articles
Younger brother's death in prison for being Catholic led Donne to convert to Anglicanism

John Donne, metaphysical poet
Later life
1621, dean of St. Paul's Cathedral
Highly influential in London: charismatic, thought-provoking minister and poet
Dies London, 1631
Conceit
Elaborate, extended metaphor
the compasses in "A Valediction, Forbidding Mourning"
www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/john-donne

www.poets.org
Full transcript