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17th Century


									17th Century
John Donne
by an
painter, ca.
An older John
                John Donne
• Roman Catholic
• Appointed secretary to high official in QEI’s court
• 1601- married Anne More (father opposed and
  was actually illegal because she was a minor)
• 1614- converted to Anglicanism- became a
• Became Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral- highly
  influential minister
• Twelve children, five died in infancy
•   Deep learning
•   Dramatic wit
•   Metaphorical style
•   Intellectual poetry
•   Two categories of poems: metaphysical
    and religious
      John Donne (1572-1631)
• Metaphysics (OED): “The branch of
  philosophy that deals with the first
  principles of things or reality, including
  questions about being, substance, time
  and space, causation, change, and identity
  … theoretical philosophy as the ultimate
  science of being and knowing.”
       Metaphysical Conceit
• Conceit (Silvae Rhetoricae):
  “An extended metaphor…. Unlike
  allegory, which tends to have one-to-one
  correspondences, a conceit typically takes
  one subject and explores the metaphoric
  possibilities in the qualities associated
  with that subject.”
        Metaphysical Poetry
• Rhythms of colloquial (spoken) English
• Speaker often sounds blunt, angry,
  brooding, or as if he is thinking out loud
• Always using brains- highly intellectual
• Contains conceits: metaphors
• Love poem
• Cynical view of love (disillusioned)
• Playful skepticism about finding true love
  and a faithful woman
• An example of his unusual comparisons
  (child-mandrake; catch- a falling star)
• Judges women harshly
• Hyperbole and metaphor
            Holy Sonnets
• Divine poems, written before 1615
• Meditations on sin, death, salvation,
  moving between extremes to examine the
  possibility of redemption
            “Holy Sonnet 10”
•   Sonnet, but not a conventional structure
•   An example of his religious poetry
•   Death itself will die- eternal life
•   Death depends on fate, chance, and kings
•   Scornful tone; almost pities death
              Meditation 17
• Deeply religious
• All mankind is connected “of another”
• Compares church to a continent and a
  living organism
• Affliction- a treasure because it will bring
  man closer to God
• Death as a means to an end
                     Civil War
• Stuart monarchs: James I (1603-25), Charles I (1625-49)
• 1629 Charles I dissolves Parliament
• 1642 Civil War begins: Parliament (dominated by
  Puritans, “Roundheads”) vs. king’s army (“Cavaliers”)
• 1649 Charles I tried for treason and executed
• Interregnum: Puritan Oliver Cromwell (d. 1658) rules
  the Commonwealth as Lord Protector
• 1660 Restoration of Stuart monarchy under Charles II
Above: Charles I (1600-49), by an unknown artist
Right: Charles II (1630-1685), ca. 1685
A Cavalier
From French for
“horseman”: a
knight or horsed
warrior, typically
one who is also a
courtly gentleman
Specifically, the
Cavaliers were those
who fought on the
Royalist side to
support Charles I in
the war between
him and Parliament
      Cavalier Poets (“Sons of Ben”)
• Robert Herrick (Anglican priest, friend of Jonson;
• Henry Vaughan (Welsh, fought for Royalist cause;
• Richard Lovelace (courtier of Charles I, fought for
  Royalist cause; 1618-57)
The “Chameleon”:
Andrew Marvell (1621-
Wrote poems in praise
of both Republicans /
revolutionaries and
Friend of Milton (a
Puritan), but satirized the
Restoration regime
under Charles II
Right: Nicholas Ferrar and George Herbert
in a window (installed 1933) at the church of
St. Andrew, parish of Fugglestone-cum-
Bemerton, to which Herbert came as a
deacon in 1630

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