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
Engaging with the text
Enjoy the Text
- If studying the poems becomes a chore, you will gain little from them.
- Although the language may seem unfamiliar, even difficult, at first, most people find they have less difficulty following the poetry if they hear it read out loud.
- Metaphysical poetry has given rise to many interpretations and is full of ideas and challenges – allow yourself to think!
Get to Know the Text
There is no substitute for reading the text – even four or five times!
- Familiarising yourself with the imagery, ideas and language of the Metaphysical poets takes time, but is essential if you are to have your own well-informed response to it.
- Critics and study-guides may suggest approaches
- Ultimately it is your opinion which counts, based on your own knowledge and understanding.
Know the complete text
Examiners often report that students seem to know a few poems well, but not the others. Study in class may tend to focus on the first few poems in the book you are using, discussing ideas, language and imagery to the reader, and then to become less detailed as the class grows more familiar with these concepts. So make sure you are familiar with a wide variety, even the more difficult ones. For example, you should know at least one poem for each of the Themes mentioned in this guide. Certain poems cover two or three themes, so they are often good ones to be familiar with. But remember, examiners get very tired of reading commentaries on exactly the same few poems from each candidate, for example A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning or The Flea.
Listen to the text
The language the poets use is carefully chosen and structured. You need to hear it.
- Listening to a professional tape-recording of the text will help,
- An even better method is to read it out loud yourself, or with a group of friends.
- Making a tape-recording of yourselves gives you a recording for revision purposes.
Analyse the text
In order to ensure that you are fully aware of the poet's techniques and use of language:
- Be prepared to work through analysing each poem.
- The analysis given in this guide cannot cover everything. Strike out on your own and see what else you can discover in each section: summary, theme, language, imagery, structure.
- Work through the questions asked. Hopefully you have discussion and question times in class, and you can air some of your problems and discoveries.
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