The term "Metaphysical" applied to Donne and his
was actually a derisive label by Drummond of Hawthorneden.
Later Samuel Johnson
fixed the term to Donne, et al., in his Life of Cowley,
"men of learning, and to show their learning was their whole
Metaphysical Poetry attempts to
synthesize passion and
intellect in an obscure fashion by:
"New Science" with non-Petrarchan passion
language with far-fetched metaphors (conceits)
meditative refinement with violent realism.
abrupt speech patterns instead
of Elizabethan smoothness
has a jerkiness with its
unexpected pauses, stresses, temposB
$Conceits that refer to physiology, astronomy,
chemistry, geography, biology (science allusions). A revolt
traditional, stylized images of the Spenser-Sidney type, but
and "unpoetic"--snoring, beds, weaning children, body moles,
objects. "yoking together heterogeneous [as opposed to
in love and religion, in
contrast to the Elizabethans' optimism and exuberance -- a
the pain and anguish of love and faith. (Donne is perhaps the
most morbid of
major English poets.)
atmosphere of a world disrupted and confused. The sane, ordered world of the
("The Great Chain of Being") have given over to chaos
Eliot)--their best works fuse sensation, emotion, and thought.
startling, and highly intellectual analogies are made.
Chief Poets: Donne, George
Crashaw, Henry Vaughan, Edward Taylor