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Page 1: Metaphysical poets
Page 2: Metaphysical poets

The Metaphysical Poets

• They used very unusual


• The poems rely on wit.

• It establishes connections

between the things which

are totally different.

• The language is simple.

Page 3: Metaphysical poets

• They didn’t follow the courtly

love tradition. They

approached the love as

physical not platonic.

• Lady is there with him.

• There is a philosophical

relationship among the

creator, created and


Page 4: Metaphysical poets

• They illustrate and develop

ideas in a detailed and over-

complex way, often with an

effect of surprise.

• Unusual images are taken

from all fields of knowledge:

history, geography, astronomy,

alchemy, matehematics, etc.

Page 5: Metaphysical poets

John Donne

• John Donne (1572 ~ 1631),

the founder of the metaphysical

school of poetry and the

greatest representative of the

metaphysical poets, was born

of a family with a strong Roman

Catholic tradition. He was

educated at the Trinity College,


Page 6: Metaphysical poets

• In 1593, Donne’s brother

Henry died of a fever in

prison after being

arrested. This made

Donne begin to question

his faith.

Page 7: Metaphysical poets

• In 1615 he gave up Catholic

faith and entered the Anglican

Church and soon became

Dean of Saint Paul's Church.

• As the most famous preacher

during the time, he wrote

many religious sermons and

poems. And these were known

as his sacred verses.

Page 8: Metaphysical poets

The Flea


John Donne

Page 9: Metaphysical poets

The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,

How little that which thou deniest me is ;

It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee, 

And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.

Thou know'st that this cannot be said

A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead ;

    Yet this enjoys before it woo,

    And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two ;

    And this, alas ! is more than we would do.

Page 10: Metaphysical poets

O stay, three lives in one flea spare,

Where we almost, yea, more than married are.

This flea is you and I, and this

Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.

Though parents grudge, and you, we're met,

And cloister'd in these living walls of jet.

    Though use make you apt to kill me,

    Let not to that self-murder added be,

    And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Page 11: Metaphysical poets

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since

Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?

Wherein could this flea guilty be,

Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?

Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou

Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.

'Tis true ; then learn how false fears be ;

Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,

Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.

Page 12: Metaphysical poets

Holy Sonnets X.


John Donne

Page 13: Metaphysical poets

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee 

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ; 

For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow, 

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. 

From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be, 

Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow, 

And soonest our best men with thee do go, 

Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. 

Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, 

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, 

And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well, 

And better than thy stroke ;  why swell'st thou then ? 

One short sleep past, we wake eternally, 

And Death shall be no more ;  Death, thou shalt die. 

Page 14: Metaphysical poets

George Herbert

• He was born in Wales and

educated at trinity college.

• He was a member of parliament.

• In 1630, he became a priest and

moved to Sallsbury.

• He also occasionally

experimented with ‘hieroglyphic’

poems, whose shapes match

with their meaning.

Page 15: Metaphysical poets
Page 16: Metaphysical poets

LORD, who createdst man in wealth and store, 

    Though foolishly he lost the same, 

        Decaying more and more, 

            Till  he  became 

                Most poor: 

                With  thee 

            O  let  me  rise 

        As larks, harmoniously, 

    And sing this day thy victories : 

Then  shall  the  fall  further  the  flight  in  me. 

Page 17: Metaphysical poets

My  tender  age  in  sorrow  did  beginne : 

    And still with sicknesses and shame 

        Thou didst so punish sinne, 

            That  I  became 

                Most thinne. 

                With  thee 

            Let me combine, 

        And feel this day thy victorie, 

    For,  if  I  imp  my  wing  on  thine, 

Affliction  shall  advance  the  flight  in  me.