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metaphysical poets - Donne


nann harwood

on 22 October 2012

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Transcript of metaphysical poets - Donne

Metaphysical 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, w'are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three. The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do. What does the flea represent?

How is love depicted in the poem?

What is the message that the man is trying to tell the woman? Metaphysical conceits in "The Flea" Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say'st that thou
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee. John Donne (The Flea)
Andrew Marvell (To His Coy Mistress)
George Herbert (Easter Wings)
Ben Johnson (To Celia, To My Son)
Robert Herrick (To the Virgins to Make
Much of Time)
1500’s-1600’s WHO and WHEN Especially complex and ingenious figures of speech
A kind of METAPHOR that makes surprising connections between two seemingly dissimilar things
Used for an analytical and psychological investigation of love and life

A lover’s tears are newly minted coins
The king’s court is a bowling alley
Lovers are holy saints
Lovers as two prongs of a compass METAPHYSICAL CONCEITS Lyric poems—brief but intense meditations

Striking use of wit, irony, wordplay =

Written in lines of unequal and varying length and
rhythms that reflect unpredictable movements of an active mind CHARACTERISTICS Explores intellectual and bold emotion
Uses allusions—especially to philosophy
Includes images from science, law, medicine, religion
Explores: love, God, Soul, Freedom, Nature of Reality; Reason for Being What is a metaphysical poetry? The Whole Experience of Man:
Meta=beyond; Physics=science Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy.
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Who is the speaker betrothed to?
What is the theme of the couplet?
Have we previously in the poem (say around lines 3 and 4) seen language of violence? Why is this significant? Batter My Heart I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but O, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.

Who is the “another” in line 5?
What is the simile?
Paraphrase lines 7 & 8 Batter My Heart What is the rhyme structure? (which is typical for his Holy Sonnets)

What is the theme generally presented in the couplet? “Batter My Heart” from the Holy Sonnets Some have argued this might be an autobiographical poem. If so, what do you think it is referring to?

Why is this poem classified as “metaphysical poetry?” Valediction Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

What is the meaning of “obliquely?”
Explain line 35 Valediction If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
They soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do.

If their souls are not one soul, what does the poet suggest they act like? Explain this metaphysical conceit (which is the most famous of them all!) Valediction Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.

What is the importance of “therefore?”
Explain the comparison to gold Valediction But we, by a love so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

How is their love different than that of the previous lovers? Valediction Dull sublunary lovers love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.

What does “soul is sense” mean?
What is the poet saying about love? Valediction Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

What is the moving of the earth?
What is a trepidation of the spheres?
Why might the latter be innocent in contrast to the former? Valediction So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Who is the poet addressing?
What is the extended simile?
Why does he want their parting to be quiet? Why is this different than Renaissance poets? Valediction As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
The breath goes now, and some say, No; Valediction A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
“Batter My Heart”

What meaning does the word “as” have?
How do virtuous men die?
What do their friends disagree about? John Donne’s Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new.

What is the three-personed God?
What is the first-person narrator asking for? Batter My Heart And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home

Explain the development of the metaphysical conceit.
What is the double entrendre in line 32? Valediction
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