The metaphysical poets were segregated in the seventeenth century to form a new and distinct style of poetry that employed immaculate wit, complex metaphors and luminous imagery. John Donne’s poetry is no exception to the form and thematic volume of the metaphysicals. Donne explores ideas in a manner which some readers find confronting and enlightening through relentless use of metaphysical conceits and his direct address to an individual or god. Donne confronts and enlightens seventeenth century readers with his elaborate perspective on love and his perception of death. Although these are two dissimilar subjects, they are interwoven in many of Donne’s poems which includes, ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,’ ‘The Flea,’ and ‘Death be not proud.’ However, these poems also describe themes that are both enlightening and confronting in the contemporary context.
The theme of love in Donne poetry is developed around two different strands. This incudes the sexual or covetousness nature and the spiritual and holy nature. Donne explores both these ideas in ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning’ and ‘The Flea.’
Donne labels love as a spiritual and sacred element that is eminent during life and after it in ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning’. ‘So let us melt, and make no noise, No tear floods, nor sigh-tempests move; were profanation of our joys to tell the laity of our love.’ The ‘laity’ describes the collective Christian believers and delivers an allusion to the religious significance of the love present between the persona and their lover. The ‘melting’ of the lovers describes the change of state that is a direct allusion to the death or separation between the lovers and/or their souls. This comparison to death conveys the holy and spiritual elevation of the love shared in the poem as the heavenly and non-living spirits are strongly valued by the Christian religion and by seventeenth century readers due to their deep connection to... [continues]
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