John Donne As A Metaphysical Poet
The term in the metaphysical or metaphysics in the poetry is the fruit of renaissance tree, becoming over ripe and approaching pure science. The term metaphysical can be interpreted as beyond =Meta, Physical Nature=Physical. The word metaphysical has been defined by various writers. R.S Hillyer writes, “Literally it has to do with the conception of existence with the living universe and man’s place therein.” Loosely it has taken such meanings as these difficult, obscure, philosophical, ethereal, involved supercilious, ingenious, fantastic and incongruous.
Dryden was the first to use the term in connection with Donne by saying that he “affects the metaphysics.” Dr. Johnson revived this epithet and wrote an essay on the metaphysical poets in his “Life of Cowlay.” He pointed out the following peculiarities of the metaphysical poets.
a) They were men of learning and made a pedantic display of their strange knowledge.
b) They affected a peculiar with which may be deserved (a kind of discords concors) a combination of dissimilar images or discovery of occult resemblance in things apparently unlike.
c) Their fondness for analysis which broke an image into bits, led them to the dissection of emotion rather than a direct impassioned expression of it.
d) Harshness and irregularity of their verse which is poetry only to the eye, not to ear.
John Donne is the classic representative of metaphysical poetry. His instinct compelled him to bring the whole of experience into his verse and to choose the most direct and natural form of expression by his learned and fantastic mind. He is colloquial and rhetorical and erudite in all his poems. There is a plenty of passion in this kind of poetry. In the “Anniversary”, Donne gives a lofty expression to the love and mutual trust of himself and his wife, his restless mind to seek far-fetched ideas, similitude and...