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- As opposed to theatre, the poetry of this era was personal and private.
- John Donne and George Herbert were the most significant of all the metaphysical poets.
- The term ‘Metaphysical’ was termed by 18th-century critic Samuel Johnson.
- Metaphysical poets were highly regarded in 20th-century British poetry and criticism after three centuries of neglect and disdain.
- Their conceits, metaphors and images, paradoxes and intellectual complexity make the poem a constant challenge to read.
- There lies a conflict between sensuality and pleasure and the presence of profoundly religious concerns and experiences in their works.
- T. S. Eliot recovered most of the works of Donne and Herbert
John Donne and George Herbert
- They were experimenters both in poetic form and subject matter they used.
- They were innovators in the linguistic directness of expression.
- They reflect the desire to expand the human horizons in their poetry.
- To challenge his position in relation to the society, to his self-perceptions and to love and religion is the feature of Donne’s poetry.
- On the other hand, Herbert’s works are filled with doubt or praise towards God.
- He considered himself as a covert to Herbert.
- His works present a world of innocence bordering on the mystical that resembles the themes of Romantics.
- There exist a taste of the countryside in his works.
- He wrote love poems, secular poems as well as devotional poems.
- Silex Scintillans (1650) is the first major volume of his poems.
- He wrote lyrics and songs with a cynical tone.
- He is first noted for an elegy to John Donne.
- His best-known masque (1630) is Coelum Britannicum.
- His poems written in his last years are erotic, satirical and express passion vividly.
- e.g. Mediocrity a Love Rejected.
- He wrote most joyful poetry in the 17th century.
- He is often compared to Walt Whitman for his unconventional and exuberant verse forms.
- His work Roman Forgeries documented the falsification of Church documents by the Roman Church during the 9th century.
- He gave an original depiction of childhood experiences and a desire to return to the young age.
- He explores the infinite possibilities of the human mind and spirit and finds God in human; ‘ life: life is all’.
- After converting to Catholicism, he fled from his country.
- He wrote religious poetry.
- His main themes are- ecstasy martyrdom.
- His secular poems hold the themes of love and quest for “that not impossible she.”
- His most important works are Steps to the Temple and Carmen Deo Nostro
- His poems range from political to passionate.
- He is accused of being time-server.
- His poem To His Coy Mistress brings together Renaissance themes of love and transience and images of time passing.