Compare and Contrast Poems by John Donne and Michael Drayton

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Compare and contrast the following poems, Michael Drayton sonnet 61, ‘Since there’s no help’ and John Donne, ‘A valediction: Forbidding Mourning’ with attention to style, imagery, language and formal qualities. Analyze the poems and comment on their effects. When looked at very closely, poetry of the 16th and 17th century was very similar in ways of expressing feelings and thoughts. However this has not prevented the two from having amazingly huge differences between them, whether it is in the theme or structure. I6th century poetry, otherwise known as Elizabethan poetry was mainly based around courtly love conventions. The unattainability of the lady, passions of the lover and cold emotions of the beloved and expression of the beloved’s beauty were all characterized themes of the Elizabethan poet. Courtly love poets promised to stay loyal to the ones that they loved and this affection can be seen throughout their poetry even if their beloved did not return that same level of love. On the other hand 17th century poets (cavaliers) were not so fond of chasing after a lady’s affection if that lady did not feel the same way. They saw this as un- masculine and shameful and believed that you cannot make women feel a certain way about you that they did not feel already. These poets seem to celebrate beautiful women who are attainable and do not abstain from sexual relations outside of marriage as opposed to the celebration of a beautiful woman who is unattainable and does abstain from sexual relations outside of marriage like the poetry of the 16th century. “ [Cavalier poets] showed us that it was possible for poetry to celebrate the minor pleasures and sadness’s of life” (Skelton, 1960:9-10). This essay will go on to look at two poets, Michael Drayton, a 16th century poet and John Donne, a 17th century poet and examine these differences as well as comparing their poems looking at the style, imagery and language used. The first
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