Metaphysical poets, selected poems Contents
- Donne, John
- John Donne's early life
- John Donne - from Catholic to Protestant
- John Donne's marriage and its aftermath
- John Donne - The Reverend Dean
- Herbert, George
- Crashaw, Richard
- Vaughan, Henry
- Marvell, Andrew
- King, Henry
- Lovelace, Richard
- Cowley, Abraham
- Philips, Katherine
- Cleveland, John
- Social / political context
- Religious / philosophical context
- Literary context: ideas and innovations
- Aire and Angels
- A Hymn to God the Father
- A Hymn to God, my God, in my Sicknesse
- A Nocturnall upon St. Lucies day
- At the Round Earth's Imagin'd Corners
- A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
- Synopsis of Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
- Commentary on Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
- Language and tone in Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
- Structure and versification in Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
- Imagery and symbolism in Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
- Themes in Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
- A Valediction: of Weeping
- Batter my heart
- Death be not Proud
- Elegie XIX: Going to Bed
- Elegie XVI: On his Mistris
- Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward
- Lovers' Infiniteness
- Oh my blacke Soule!
- Satyre III: 'On Religion'
- Show me Deare Christ
- Since She Whom I Lov'd
- Song: Goe, and catche a falling starre
- The Anniversarie
- The Dreame
- The Extasie
- The Flea
- The Good-morrow
- The Sunne Rising
- This is my playes last scene
- Twicknam Garden
- What if this present
- Affliction I
- Easter Wings
- Jordan I
- Jordan II
- Love II
- Prayer I
- The Church-floore
- The Collar
- Hymn in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
- Hymn to St Teresa
- St Mary Magdalene, or the Weeper
- To the Countesse of Denbigh
- Ascension - Hymn
- The Night
- The Retreate
- The Water-fall
- A Dialogue between Soul and Body
- On a Drop of Dew
- The Coronet
- The Definition of Love
- The Garden
- The Mower Against Gardens
- The Mower to the Glo-Worms
- The Mower's Song
- The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Faun
- The Picture of Little T.C. in a Prospect of Flowers
- To his Coy Mistress
- Upon Appleton House, to my Lord Fairfax
What makes a good Metaphysical Poets exam answer?
Try to be different
- It is amazing how many candidates choose the same three or four poems to answer any number of questions. Typically, these are The Sunne Rising; The Good Morrow; The Flea; A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning; Batter my heart; The Collar; To his Coy Mistress. There are equally good other poems to illustrate your answer or to analyse. You need to show the examiner you have not been spoon-fed answers.
- If you are asked to answer from ‘TWO or THREE poets', don't necessarily start with John Donne.
- Try to find examples of conceits others than fleas and pairs of compasses.
What to Prepare
- Be sure of the main features of metaphysical poetry, and have examples ready.
- Have to hand several series of poems that compare well with one another. The Themes and significant ideas already provides such groupings to do with themes. But have some groups which are linked by imagery, verse form and genre (e.g. pastoral; elegies and odes; lyrics and songs).
Show your Knowledge
- You will probably be invited to focus on TWO or THREE poems or poets. But show that you know other poems and poets by passing references and comparisons. Don't spend much time doing it, but try to show what you do know.
- Similarly, try to show by a passing remark that you understand any biblical, scientific or philosophical references, but don't stop to explain them at length unless it is central to your argument. The examiner will already know the explanation.
- It is always more difficult writing about a number of poets rather than just one. If you can do it well, then you will impress the examiner immensely. But know your limitations. If you really feel you would do best sticking to just one poet, then choose those questions that allow you to do so. Don't choose a question that invites discussion of TWO poets, and then spend 90% of your time talking about your favourite before going on to the other.
1. A branch of philosophy 2. The Metaphysical Poets were a group of seventeenth century English poets who used philosophical ideas extensively in their imagery and especially in conceits.
Figure of speech in which a person or object or happening is described in terms of some other person, object or action, either by saying X is Y (metaphor); or X is like Y (simile). In each case, X is the original, Y is the image.
1. Associated with spiritual care 2. A literary work depicting sheperds or rural life.
1. A poem written in a certain classical metre. 2. A poem lamenting the death of someone; a poem of mourning.
A poem addressed to a certain person, either living or dead, or to a certain object of veneration or praise.
The words of a song
Relating to, or contained in, the Bible. The Christian Bible consists of the Old Testament scriptures inherited from Judaism, together with the New Testament.
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