John Donne

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John Donne is the name in English Literature who gave new direction to the literary activities of his age. He is in a sense founded the metaphysical lyric, which was practiced by scare of writers. As Dowden says, “We are told that in the decline of the greater poetry of the Elizabethan period, a metaphysical school arose and that John Donne was the founder or the first eminent member of this school.” John Donne set up a new tradition in versification by and large Donne must be regarded as an original poet, “a poet who gave much more than what he borrowed from his age.” The word “metaphysical” has been defined by various writers differently. The learned critics feels that “metaphysical poetry” is inspired by a philosophy, philosophical conception of the universe and the role assigned to human spirit in the great drama of universe. However in very simple tone, we can interpret the term metaphysical as meta (beyond) and physical (physical nature). “There is a harmonious blend of passion and argument which is an essential characteristic of metaphysical lyric.” In brief, the term, “metaphysical poetry” implies the characteristics of complexity, intellectual tone, abundance of subtle wit, fusion of intellect and emotion, colloquial argumentative tone, conceits which are always witty and sometimes fantastic, scholarly allusions, dramatic tone and philosophic or reflective element. These metaphysical poets have specific characteristics as ‘Dr. Johnson’ points out that “The metaphysical poets were men of learning, and to show their learning was their whole endeavor. They neither copied nature nor life neither painted the forms of matter nor represented the operations of intellect. Their thoughts are often new, but seldom natural.” As we find all these characteristics and features in John Donne’s poetry, therefore it is easy to say that John Donne is the metaphysical poet. However it is Dryden who first of all used this term for John Donne by...
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