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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.
• 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
• 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.
• 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,
• In 1593, Donne’s brother
Henry died of a fever in
prison after being
arrested. This made
Donne begin to question
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
Holy Sonnets X.
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.
• 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.
LORD, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories :
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did beginne :
And still with sicknesses and shame
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Let me combine,
And feel this day thy victorie,
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.