Metaphysical Poems

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Metaphysical Poems

By | April 2013
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Metaphysical Poets

John Donne and Andrew Marvell were considered metaphysical poets based on their use of conceit and wit in depicting similar situations through different metaphors. They would use original analogies to create fitting and insightful comparisons, usually to persuade. John Donne and Andrew Marvell have been called metaphysical poets. This is a,” name given to a group of English lyric poets of the 17th century” (Metaphysical poets)” The term metaphysical poets came to be used almost one hundred years after the death of the two poets. John Donne died John Donne in1631 and Andrew Marvell died in 1678. The term later became known as ‘metaphysical poetry,’ (which was referred to by contemporaries, as ‘strong lived’. The term meant something more than the poet’s fondness for indulging in speculations of philosophy. A device used by metaphysical poets is conceit. Conceit, in literature, is defined “fanciful or unusual image in which apparently dissimilar things are shown to have a relationship.” (Conceit) “The device was also used by the metaphysical poets, who fashioned conceits that were witty, complex, intellectual, and often startling.” (Page 1) A metaphysical poem tends to be short and closely woven. The poem usually intends to persuade. Two poems that use this pattern are Donne’s “The Flea” and Marvell’s “To Coy his Mistress.” In both poems, the speaker presents the element of a metaphysical conceit. The concept of love is the main focus, and this is where the metaphysical conceit is apparent. The men in the poems are trying to convince the women of their love/lust, but both women refuse the advances. The difference in these poems is the metaphor used. Donne uses the flea, while Marvell uses the concept of time. In “The Flea,” the speaker uses the flea jumping from himself to the young lady as his way to argue that they should engage in a sexual relationship. The speaker begins the poem with “Mark this flea” (line 1), which has sucked...