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
Structure and versification in Nocturnall
A Nocturnall upon St.Lucies day consists of five 9-line stanzas. Donne employed the 9-line stanza also in Twicknam Garden and A Valediction: of Weeping, but the rhyme scheme used here is just slightly different from the latter poem, being abbacccdd.
Each stanza shortens in the middle, the fifth line being only an iambic trimeter, often forming a sense break, too.
The overall stanza pattern, therefore, is:
A strong beginning
A subdued centre with some break of thought, moving to
A stronger conclusion.
Dramatic changes of rhythm
It is the rhythms of the poem that critics have noted in particular. One critic notes an ‘elegaic slowness ... like hammer-blows' which die away to the centre of the stanza, then increase in volume into ‘numbing thuds'. Certainly, the stanza form does allow for dramatic rhythmic changes. For example, in stanza 4, the repetition of ‘Yea plants, yea stones' followed by ‘All, all ...'. The last line of the poem certainly can be made to sound like a ‘numbing thud:
Both the yeares, and the dayes deep midnight is.
- What is the effect of ending a poem on the word ‘is'
- Look at some examples of lists of words, such as‘absence, darkness, death'
- What is their rhythmic effect?
- Examine the balance of monosyllables andpolysyllables
- Do you notice anything interesting?
- Compare A Nocturnall upon St.Lucies day with Twicknam Garden
- Which seems the more powerful expression of melancholy and grief?
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