Metaphysical poetry = the Stuart age
The metaphysical poets were a loose group of British lyric poets of the 17th century, who shared an interest in metaphysical concerns and a common way of investigating them. These poets themselves did not form a school or start a movement; most of them did not even know or read each other.
The term Metaphysical is misleading
- – it means something beyond the physical world, but none of this poets were interested in metaphysics (nowadays the term is used in connection with the poets; it has nothing to do with what is beyond physical).
- – they rejected the conventional elements of Elizabethan poetry
- – metaphysical conceits: unusual images (comparison whose ingenuity is more striking than its justness), far fetched
- – comparisons, joining things that are primarily unlike
– JOHN DONNE:
His works are notable for their realistic and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. Common subjects of Donne’s poems are love (especially in his early life), death (especially after his wife’s death), and religion. John Donne’s poetry represented a shift from classical forms to more personal poetry.
– GEORGE HERBERT:
playing with the shapes and sounds of words
– RICHARD CRASHAW:
used erotic terms to make tension between secular and divine (ecstasy, martyrdom, bliss of suffering)
– HENRY VAUGHAN
– THOMAS CAREW:
themes of rejected love and expressing passion