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Examples Of Metaphysical Poetry

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The term “Metaphysical Poet” was first used by John Dryden and later coined by Samuel Johnson in the 20th century. The term was used for the poets of the 17th century, it was a period of intense ferment in all areas of life — religion, science, politics, domestic relations, culture. Metaphysical literally means to transcend above or beyond the physical world in order to gain perspective. The term permanently got associated to poets like John Donne, Andrew Marvel, Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw, and George Herbert. Their writings were a deliberate reaction against the 16th century verses which were smooth and had a sweet tone. The Metaphysical Poets, therefore, adopted an uneven, rigorous and energetic tone and were concerned with man’s experience;…show more content…
Metaphysical conceit as defined by Helen Gardner is “heterogeneous ideas yoked by violence together”. They used rather strange imagery, frequent paradoxes and extremely complicated thought. The poets exploited all knowledge to find “dissimilar images”. It was a response to Petrarchan conceit, which was type of conceit used in love poems. The metaphysical were tired of clichéd comparison of eyes to sun or cheeks to apples, and therefore, developed a much more subtle and intellectual metaphysical…show more content…
They used very vivid imagery in the poems, besides being richly sensuous. For example in “The Bermudas” the poet uses the images of the bright oranges that shine in the shade of trees “like golden lamps in a green night”. The pomegranates are described richer than the jewels. The islands are imagined as “riding the ocean’s bosom”. “The listening winds” receive the song being sung by the pilgrims. The phrase, “the watery maze” is by itself admirably as conveying the idea that the pilgrims could have been lost on the sea, not knowing the direction in which to sail. One of the most vivid images is that of the whales which seem to carry the ocean upon their backs but which can be destroyed by the power of God: “He the huge sea-monsters wracks,/ That lift the deep upon their backs.”
The imagery in “The Garden” is very pastoral, it could be a reference to the garden of Eden. Unlike other metaphysical poets, Marvell derives some of it from classical reference, such as the myths of Apollo and Pan. The speaker then presents an image of his soul detaching from his body, but remaining in the garden. The image suggests that during the soul’s time on Earth, it is possible for it to transcend some of the physical body's limitations, as we see in the speaker's previous contemplation of a “green thought in a green
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