John Donne was a famous English poet, best known for his metaphysical poetry. Apart from having the art of writing metaphysical poetry, Donne also had a distinctive style of writing love poetry. His style of love poetry separated him from all the famous Elizabethan love poets. At the time, when Donne was writing poetry, love poetry was both literary exercise and fashionable, however, Donne’s love poetry had the intensity and depth of feeling writing in a peculiar language full of conceit and wit. Donne had not only marked his name as the most influential metaphysical poet but also had mastered the genera of love poetry.
Unlike Elizabethan love poets, who indulge themselves in praising the beauty and aesthetic element of this passion, Donne implies sensuous elements to describe the passion. Dryden write about Donne’s love poetry: “Donne affects the metaphysical not only in his satires but in his amorous verses where nature only should reign. He perplexes the minds of fair sex with nice speculations of philosophy when he should engage their hearts and entertain then with the softness of love”. Simply put, Donne has taken love poetry to a whole new level. His readers are compelled to view love from an entire different prospective which is more intellectual rather than emotional. It does not mean that Donne’s Love poems are devoid of meaning; his love poems certainly have honest emotions but the way he utters his love emotions is quite intellectual and philosophical.
The love poems, which are addressed to his wife, Anne, such as “The Valediction Forbidding mourning”, define the post-marital love between husband and wife and the charms of a happy married life. In his poem “The Sun Rising”, he beautifully describes the life with his beloved. The poet is so content in the company of his beloved that even the beam of the Sun seems to disturb him. In the poem “The Good Morrow” the intensity of love is on it heights as the poet contemplates that whether he and his beloved were actually alive before they met each other. He denies the life he had before he met his soul mate.
Donne was a brilliant poet who never let his emotions and passion overcome his prudent use of wit and intelligence. He always keeps a check and control over his emotions and presents them in an intellectual way. Grieson writes ”Donne’s poetry is a very complex phenomenon, but two dominant strains in it are just these: the strain of dialectic, subtle play of argument, and wit; and the strain of vivid realism and a record of passion”.