Elements of Metaphysical Poetry?I would like to know more in general about the elements of metaphysical poetry, what they do, what effect they have? I know that the elements include: conceit,...

Elements of Metaphysical Poetry?

I would like to know more in general about the elements of metaphysical poetry, what they do, what effect they have? I know that the elements include: conceit, allusion, paradox, irony and so on.

Also about the poem The Sun Rising by John Donne which uses elements of conceit and allusion. also The Good Morrow.

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rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The basic elements of "metaphysical poetry" include a certain naturalness and directness of language, an emphasis on the argumentative (often taking the form of the use of questions), and use of hyperbole and allusion; the metaphysical poets' subject matter is usually philosophical or divine, and although their approach to it could be rational, often the effect of their verse is to acknowledge the essential paradox of life.

We can see many of these elements at work in Donne's "Good-Morrow." The poem is, essentially, the words of the speaker to his beloved upon waking in the morning. The speaker poses a question (somewhat humorously) at the very beginning that forms the conceit of the whole poem: "I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I / did, till we loved?" The question suggests that the speaker and his lover have entered a new state, a new way of living, since meeting. This transformation is described in the second stanza, using hyperbolic imagery ("For love, all love of other sights controls, / And makes one little room an everywhere"). The third stanza follows this conceit out to an unexpected conclusion—the transformation caused by love in the first paragraph is, in fact, a kind of immortality: as long as they love, they will endure ("If our two loves be one, or, thou and I / Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die").

In "The Sun Rising," the speaker addresses the sun; the central conceit of the poem is that the sun is an unwelcome guest, interrupting the speaker and his lover in bed; as in "Good-Morrow," love has "transformed" the speaker, who tells the sun that he is more powerful in that he can banish the sun's beams simply by closing his eyes ("Thy beams, so reverend and strong / Why shouldst thou think? / I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink"). In fact, the speaker uses this power to do the sun a favor and redefine the scope of its duties ("Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be / To warm the world, that's done in warming us").

Both poems use argumentation and conceit to reach what are essentially irrational or paradoxical conclusions.

kc4u | Student

The Metaphysical school of English poetry is more about a certain notion of style than themes or content. These poems were called 'strong lines' in their times. This strenuousness of style is integral to it.

1. Wit that is essentially ironic.

2. Poetry of erudition as conveyed in very versatile references to different socio-cultural and scientific theories. This is often called the Allusive style of the Metaphysicals.

3. The logical structure or what T.S.Eliot calls "tough reasonableness"

4. A combination of levity and seriousness.

5. The epigrammatic style.

6. The use of conceits--far-fetched images

The Sun Rising is an extremely intelligent love poem which makes fun of the typical eulogistic reference to the beloved in romantic poetry and refers a lot to the Heliocentric theories.

The Good Morrow too, is a subtly undercuting love poem where the speaker uses allusions that range between the Bible and the Alchemy and so on.


nitu03 | Student

rest everything is covered in other answers given here,just one thing I would like to add here is :

1) Metaphysical means something above physical level.

2) Also we can say that metaphysical poetry is a combination of logical and imaginative approach.

vonn | Student

Metaphysical poetry is a literary art that talks on the philosophy of knowledge and existence.

It uses figures of speech:

a. Juxtaposition - it gives the whole idea and content in the poem through comparing and contrasting two objects

b. Irony - emphasizes the real truth or the facts.The American Heritage Dictionary's define irony: “incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.”

c. Allusion -refer names, place or literary characters that can add to the message of the poem. To decipher it, you must look on the similarity of the poem and the mention name

d. Conceit - an intellectually but imaginative poetic comparison or image of two objects or ideas