Flea Versus Nightingale

The term “metaphysical poetry” which flourished in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries employs unusual verse forms, complex figures of speech applied to elaborate and surprising metaphorical conceits, intellectual tone, abundance of subtle wit, dramatic tone and philosophic element.
Although these poets – John Donne, George Herbert, and Andrew Marvell- differed from one another, all three exercised an important influence on the society of the next generation. They were innovating, had freethinking and they wanted to break the boundaries. They broke down their time’s dogmas, and the aim of this article is to point out in what sense they are ahead of their time. While doing that it is useful to touch upon the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
These centuries were a time of exploration, both scientific and geographical. “The New World was being explored, and astronomical observations by Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo led to the discovery of a new order of the heavens. England also saw the emergence of modern, experimental science, which proposed to discover the true order of the physical world”. (Conrs, 2004; p. 124).
Science had enroached on belief, and of that enroachment Donne was profoundly aware. Once science had invited attention to its own anatomy of the world, “the fables, mythologies, and even all the hierarchies of sentiments and images which poets had used, seemed unacceptable and childish” (Evans, 1940; p. 44). Donne’s lyric poetry is quite reverse to that age. He deliberately rejected the conventional conceits and images such as flowers, sky, moon, etc. He coined new images which were an outcome of popular belief of scientific discoveries. His vocabulary is rich and diversified. “Donne as an individualist defining his role in an age of social, economic, religious, and political change.” (Peters, 1985; p.263). The distinguishing quality of metaphysical poetry as practiced by Donne and his successors is “not simply...