John Donne is known as the father of English metaphysical poetry because of prudent use of language, critically implied wit or conceit, supervising symbols, and dramatic openings. Donne has laid the foundation of Metaphysical poetry and has given a whole new genera to the poetry. He is the pioneer as well as the chief spokesperson of metaphysical poetry.

Almost all the poems of Donne has distinctive metaphysical elements, but few poems like “The Sun Rising”, “The Good Morrow”, “A Valediction of Weeping” are perfect manifestation of Donne’s metaphysical magnificence. The common concepts which are chosen by most of the poet as the subject of their poetry are love, death, beauty, etc. Donne has also verbalized these concepts in his poetry but he has taken these concepts into a whole new level by uttering these concepts using a peculiar kind of critical language totally different from that of traditional language.

In “The Sun Rising”, he prudently uses conceit and wit to enhance the view of love by describing his lovers as the monarchs in the realm if love. In “The Good Marrow”, Donne describes how love creates its own perfect world:

For love, all love of other sights controls,

and makes one little room, an everywhere.

The use of wit in Donne’s poetry is totally different from that of Elizabethan poets’ use. The mere use of wit by Elizabethan poets is for the sake of embellishment. Donne’s use of wit is not decorative; rather it is in the form of hyperbolic statement in a serious manner. His use of conceit and wit often exhibits his immense knowledge, intelligence, and learnedness. For instance, in his poem “The Sun Rising”, his comparison of his beloved’s beauty to the beauty of India, shows his knowledge with the present happenings around the world.  Another remarkable use of conceit which displays the intelligence of Donne, is the use conceit of two arms of Compass in “The Valediction of Mourning” to compare the two lovers who are apparently separated but are always interconnected with each other; both cannot function if separated from each other.

Such kind of use of wit and conceit has given Donne’s poetry a remarkable importance. There is no one who can outshine Donne’s perfect implication of metaphysical elements in his poetry. His work has not only influence his contemporaries, but also has influenced the later generation. He is the pioneer of metaphysical poetry and irrespective of time, he is highly appraised for his immense contribution to the Metaphysical poetry.


Literature Review on John Donne As a Metaphysical Poet
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