In his love poetry, Donne exhibits a more varied range of feelings than the Elizabethans. Moreover, his imagery, diction and versification are startlingly different. Discuss.
John Donne is regarded as an incredible poet of his age. His poems are classified into two main categories. The first is love poems, whereas the second is divine poems. The love poetry of John Donne is praiseworthy, in which he has a variety of moods and expressions. The classic trend of praising the lover and the fear of his rejection was turned down by John Donne. He painted the real imagery in his poems, in which he mentioned woman as a normal human being without any exaggeration. The concept of god and goddess, in love poetry of John Donne, can hardly be found. He is not a worshiper of women. He gives the world a pure definition of love, which is above board.According to him, the passion of love is equal in man as well as in woman. It is true that at that time, Petrarchan style was being followed by every poet. In fact, everyone loved the conventional poetry but it was John Donne, who broke this convention and did not follow it. Instead of following the Petrarchan style, he imitated his experience about love and knowledge of his own mind. Although, he used the Petrarchan devices yet his imagery, style and allusions are totally different from them. In this case, he is a rebel, as he did not follow the conservative style, which was being followed by everyone.
John Donne, instead of praising the woman and her physical beauty, declared that like ordinary human beings, she also shares the same feelings as felt by every man.He was of the view that woman can also betray and deceive. He believed on equal love, which emerged from both sides. Mutual lovemaking was the idea of John Donne. Man is not superior and the women is not inferior in any case. He put them under one flag regarding the passion of love. It is eminent that John Donne was fond of sex yet he did not praised the lips, hairs, cheeks or any other part of woman’s body. He defined love enthusiastically. Conjugal love was best in his eyes. He saw the world differently as compared to writers, belonging to Elizabethan age. His feelings are different and there are a lot of mood in them, which also differentiate him from the traditional writers.
John Donne’s love poetry can further be divided into three parts. First form of his poetry is Cynical, which is extra martial love and sex affairs. Second form is Conjugal, which is preferable in his eyes. Third and last form is divine, in which love is regarded as worship of God.
John Donne has complexity in his poems. It is much difficult to count number of moods, which he has in his poetry. Somewhere, the tone is rugged, somewhere it is harsh and on many occasions, it is adorable. The theme of every poem depends on the mood of the poet. In this backdrop, John Donne is adjudged as a poet having varied range of feelings than the Elizabethans.
As far as his imagery, diction and versification are concerned, he is man of letters in this regard. As mentioned above, he borrowed Petrarchan devices yet his vast knowledge is enough to mould his writing style. There are certain allusions in his poetry but they are totally unconventional. He was a discoverer by passion and loved to discover new things. Moreover, he was a good student and have good knowledge about science. Thus, he uses his experience and knowledge to express his feelings.His allusions are realistic. For instance, he is famous in describing the separation of lovers with an image of two legs of compass. His references are from science, alchemy and even from law. These were the techniques, which gave his poetry a logical touch and at the same time distinguished him from classical writers.
John Donne also experienced the love as well as sex and thus had a good knowledge about it. Most of the poets idealized the love and treated it as a worship of woman but Donne’s views were totally opposite from those writers. He knew the flaw of humans. He was well aware with the weakness of flesh and sex, therefore, he treated love as a realistic passion instead of idealizing it. However, he did not limit the love to the extent of body but also created a connection between the body and soul.
With these observations, it can be adjudged that John Donne was not a conventional poet. He was different, in his imagery, in his diction, in his range of feelings and defining love. The meaning of love, according to him is both spiritual and physical. Neither he focused only on spiritual love nor only on physical but he linked physical body with the soul and defined that they both are necessary for true love. He is not worshiper of physical beauty; he is not idealistic; he is not traditional; he has different range of moods and above all, he is different from Elizabethans.Realistic elements are key ingredients of his poetic work. If, today, his poetry is being read in different parts of the world then it is due to his unconventional style of writing.Thus, he was dissimilar from other writers and it is the only reason his work is as fresh today as it was in his own era.