Eliot The Metaphysical Poets Essay

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In this essay I will critically analyse the poem, The Flea written by John Donne in which he makes light of his sexual intentions with his lover.

In the first stanza of the poem, Donne tries to convince his lover to have sexual intercourse with him.

Donne and often Cowley, employ a device which is sometimes considered characteristically metaphysical: the elaboration of a figure of speech to the farthest stage to which ingenuity can carry it.

Donne develops a comparison of two lovers to a pair of compasses.

A though to Donne was an experience; it modified his sensibility.

When a poets mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly merging disparate experience; the ordinary mans experience is chaotic, irregular fragmentary.So it is to be maintained that metaphysical poetry is the elaboration of far-fetched images and communicated association of poets mental processes.Johnson employed the term metaphysical poets, apparently having Donne, Cleveland and Cowley chiefly in mind.Instead of calling these poets metaphysical, he calls them the poets of the seventeenth century.He assumes that these poets were the direct and normal development of the precedent age.Eliot praises the metaphysical poets for their successful attempt to unite what resists unification.To unite thought and feeling, the poetic and unpoetic, form and content, was the main quality of the metaphysical poets.The essay may be summarized under four headings: According to T. Eliot, it is extremely difficult to define metaphysical poetry.The difficulty arises when we are to decide what poets practised it and in which of their poems.At first one would not realize that this is his intention because he uses a flea to describe sex which is a very far-fetched description of the act hence this poem being metaphysical.‘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.’ (Lines 7 – 9) Donne is very convincing in the second stanza where he speaks of the duration of their relationship being long enough to consider being married to each other.


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