Love and Metaphysical Poetry

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Ingenious concepts, sticking conceits, heated arguments, sublime paradoxes and far‐fetched imagery are just a few features of Metaphysical poetry. Poetry that enables its audience to take a journey with the poet throughout life’s battles, luxuries and treasures, is simply a phenomenon. Today, we are very lucky to have the luxury of many metaphysical poems; however, today we will be exploring just two. These being A Valediction Forbidding Mourning and To His Coy Mistress. Both poems possess different themes and features that will be compared and contrasted throughout, however, are connected through the discourse of love. The four letter word with so much meaning, but what really is love? Can a definite meaning be placed upon or it, or is it perhaps a matter of opinion?

John Donne’s poem, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning is a plea written to Donne’s wife asking her not to mourn his absence. The Latin title provides an insight into the poem’s meaning, ‘when we part, we must not mourn’ or in simpler terms, ‘to bid farewell’ (A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, 2009). Donne explains that a maudlin display of emotion would only denigrate their love. This allows the connection to be made that the love shared between Donne and his wife is something more special than that of a normal or mundane relationship. They are sole mates and although they may be physically apart, they will remain together spiritually. Therefore the key discourse found in this poem is one of love.

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning was written with the purpose of comforting Donne’s wife while he was away on business. In 1611, Donne was sent on a diplomatic mission to France; while his wife remained home in England, hence the creation of A Valediction...

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...ne rhymes with the one before it. Both A Valediction and To His Coy Mistress follow iambic tetrameter.

Overall, both Donne and Marvell were very successful at portraying their views on love. Both poems present a different argument of what love is and perhaps even compare lust to love. In A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, Donne is trying to convince his lover that they do not need a physical relationship to keep their love strong, whilst in To His Coy Mistress; Marvell is trying to induce his lover into believing that they need a physical relationship.

Metaphysical poems allow readers to momentarily leave the life they live and join the poet’s transcendent world. Ingenious concepts, sticking conceits, heated arguments, sublime paradoxes and far‐fetched imagery are just a few features that together provide the brilliant phenomenon of metaphysical poetry.
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