Emotion over Reason in Religious Poetry

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John Donne and George Herbert are both known for being seventeenth century metaphysical poets. Metaphysical poetry is an intellectual poetry that uses a comparison that focuses on and science, religion, and mathematics. John Donne grew up into a religious family and was ordained an Angelican priest later in his life. George Herbert was also very religious; he was ordained a priest just as Donne had been. John Donne was acquainted with Herbert’s mother which caused him to become one of Herbert’s main influences. Both Donne and Herbert focused on writing religious poetry that would spread their beliefs. John Donne wrote “Holy Sonnet 10” an emotional religious poem about Death not having power because God promises an eternal life so Death itself is just temporarily doing God’s work. George Herbert wrote “Love (III)” which was also a religious poem that is about a guest who is a sinner and feels unworthy to be in the presence of Love who is personified as God. Throughout the poem Love tries to make the guest feel welcome regardless of what he has done. Both Donne and Herbert write their poems to express their faith in a way that also expresses how they feel. Although they use some reason throughout their poems ultimately their poems are emotionally based. In seventeenth century poetry Donne and Herbert found emotion more important that reason in their poems.
In “Love (III)” by George Herbert emotion was driving factor in the poem. God is personified as Love, the host and the guest is a sinner who feels unworthy. In the last stanza Love and the guest exchange words, “My dear, then I will serve,”/ ‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’/ So I did sit and eat.”(Herbert lines 16-18) The guest is offering to serve God, and a...

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...to convince himself of what he says rather than he is trying to convince Death. By the speaker doing that exact thing it not only shows the speakers fear of Death but Donne’s fear as well. In some ways Donne is writing to help his own doubts, although his doubts are subtle he manages to overcome them through writing “Holy Sonnet 10”. The emotion in the poem is driven from Donne’s own emotion. Without emotion the poem would lose the confidence it has. The poem would focus mainly on what Donne knows about his religion rather what he believes about his religion and that in ways makes it more close to his actual feelings. In conclusion emotion was more important in both “Holy Sonnet 10” and “Love (III)” because without either they would lose their complete meaning..
In seventeenth century poetry Donne and Herbert found emotion more important than reason in their poems.
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