A lot of my students have requested me to write on John Donne love poems which are full of metaphysical elements. A deep study will prove that John Donne is as a love poet and a metaphysical poet in English literature. So, let’s start.
What is metaphysical conceit?
My dear students, before going to start the deep discussion about John Donne as a metaphysical poet, we have to know what is metaphysical conceit. A conceit is basically a smile or a comparison between two dissimilar things. In a conceit, the dissimilarity between the two dissimilar things compared is so great that the readers is always fully conscious of it, even while he agree to the likeness, implied by the poet. John Done had a unique genius which T.S Eliot calls “Unification of sensibility”.
The conceits used by Donne in his poems are vividly learned, but in fact the Elizabethan poets and dramatists already used conceits in their writing. Shakespeare used conceits in their writings. Shakespeare used conceits in abundance. But an Elizabethan conceit differs from a metaphysical conceits. Donne has taken conceits from the rich and varied experiences of his own life and vast horizons of knowledge and the world around him.
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The sun rising poem analysis or metaphysical conceit in the sun rising
“The Sun Rising’ is one of the remarkable and outstanding poems in John Donne poems where Donne employs a series of brilliant outstanding, bold and extravagant conceits to glorification his beloved. The poet claims that he can eclipse and cloud the sun with a wink of his eyes. The beloved who lies in the bed with him is a combination of both East Indies and West Indies. Thus she represents both the East Indies because she is as frequent as species and as rich as silver and gold mines of West Indies. The lovers and beloved are compared to all the staes and all the princes of the world rolled into one. He says in the following ways:
“She’s all states, all princes I
Nothing else is”
The lover’s between is considered to be the epitome of the whole world. If the sun shines on the lover’s bedroom only and does not travel other places, it will still be warming the whole world.
“Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere
The bed thy center is these walls thy sphere”
These are all mind-blowing and fantastic conceits or ideas
The canonization metaphysical conceit or as a metaphysical poem essay- john donne poems
A plent of scholastic conceit is found in John Donne another remarkable poems “The Canonization”. The poet imagines that a lover’s sighs have the power to down ships; his tears can flood the grounds and so on. But the poet’s love doesn’t cause any harm or damage to anyone. The poet says in the following ways in the poem:
“Alas! Alas! Who’s injured by my love?
What merchant’s ship lave my sighs drowned?
Who says my tears have overflowed his ground?”
The beloved is one fly and the lover is another fly. And they are tapers or candles too, because they both burn themselves out in mature love. Paradoxically the lovers will be canonized like Christian saints. The lovers can contract the whole world-countries, towns and courts, because their eyes became a mirror in which the world could be seen in minute.
A valediction forbidding mourning as a metaphysical poem or theme – john donne poems
In “A valedication: Forbidding Mourning”, we find several ingenious conceits which are enough to create the substance of metaphysical poem. Donne employs the conceits of “twin compasses”. Their sows may be two but they are united at a center like the two sides of a compass. The lover and beloved are like the two legs of pair of compasses and she is fixed one is center. The poet says in the following ways in the poem:
“If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two
Thy soul the fixed foot makes no show
To move but doth if the another do”
The good morrow metaphysical conceit or as love poem
In “The Good Morrow” we have come fantastic conceits. Before falling in love, these lovers had been satisfied with childish pleasure or sleeping like the seven Christian Young men of Ephesus. In this poem the two lovers are compared with two perfect hemispheres which know no change or decline. The poet says in the following ways in the poem:
“Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north without declining west”
The lovers can not die because they love each other equally and their two lovers are one:
“If our two loves be one or thou and I
Love so alike none die slacken, none can die”
Twicknam garden as a metaphysical poem or short summary
In “Twicknam Garden”, the poet through a series of conceits, gives an expression to his disappointment in love his frustration and profound grief. The poet’s love is a spider which converts “manna to gall’. Again we have got an equally brilliant conceit where Donne compares of love to be serpent in the Garden of Eden. The tears of poet are compared with the wine of love and lovers are asked to taste the poet’s tears and then to taste their mistress tears.
In the light of our discussion, we can say that John Donne as a metaphysical poet the conceits employed by Donne are learned and departing from the conventional Elizabethan type. Although Donne’s conceit or image is coarse, complex, obscure and for fetched, yet it imparts a sense of pleasure as it has an astonishing like with the whole john donne poems.
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