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
Language and tone in The Extasie
The language of The Extasie is an amazing combination of emotionally charged and philosophic language, in which the poet undertakes a patient argument to analyse the lovers' state of being. So there are all sorts of markers that an argument is being conducted:
- ‘If any...'(l.21)
- ‘(We said)' (l.30)
- ‘We see by this'(l.31)
- ‘Wee then'(l.45) etc.
The argument is quite technical:
- ‘We are the intelligences, they the spheare'(l.52) (see Aire and Angels for a discussion of this);
- ‘As our blood labours to beget/ Spirits, as like souls it can' (11.61-2).
This technicality suggests the theory of the day, which, whilst outdated to us, nevertheless still works as imagery, even if not science!
The language is also emotionally charged:
- ‘Sat we two, one anothers best' (l.4)
- ‘as yet was all the meanes to make us one'(l.9)
- ‘And we said nothing, all the day'(l.20).
This is so simply put, yet what an extraordinary state it is describing. When was the last time you sat with someone for even an hour without saying anything to them and yet being in harmony with them? The ending, too, is extraordinarily simple after such a complex argument. Donne is not trying to impress or convince, but to bring to a quiet and satisfied resolution.
- What would you say the tone of The Extasie is?
- Can you see where the voice would become quieter or more dramatic in a reading of it?
- Where, for you, do the difficulties of the poem lie?
- Is it in what is being expressed?
- Or is it in how that is done?
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