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The Sun Rising By John Donne And To His Coy Mistress By Andrew Marvell

2679 words - 11 pages

The Sun Rising by John Donne and To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell

John Donne and Andrew Marvell were two of the most outstanding of the
English Metaphysical poets of their era. In both of the poems to which
this piece of extended writing refers, highly intellectual and complex
imagery is used to make us discover the hidden meanings behind their
unconventional love poetry. Both poems were written at a similar
period, and though both authors were similar in ways, there are also
points of diversity.

John Donne was a renowned clergyman, loved and respected greatly for
his ingenious fusion of wit and humour he injected into both his
sermons and his poetry. Donne's work was widely published during his
life and though shunned by his family for renouncing the Roman
Catholic tradition, attending both Oxford and Cambridge and receiving
no degrees and a shocking secret marriage to Anne More, Donne managed
to make a healthy living and laugh at his mishaps. The poet, in
characteristic pun later summed up the latter experience as, 'John
Donne, Anne Donne, undone.'

By way of contrast, Andrew Marvell was the son of a working vicar. He
attended college but after the death of his father, he decided to
travel from country to country in an unsettled manner. Not much is
known about Marvell as prior to his death, very few of his works had
been published. From what is recorded though, we believe that during
these 5 years in which he spent travelling between Holland, Italy,
France and Spain, he wrote all of his poetry that has now become well
known. After his travels he applied for a job as assistant secretary
to the council of state and after 4 years was finally given the
position thus concluding his short lived, unrecognised, literary
career.

I believe that the most successful poem of, 'The Sun Rising and 'To
His Coy Mistress' is the latter. Both of the poems are written aiming
to flatter their lover but for different reasons. In this essay I hope
to give you an insight as to why I believe this claim to be true.

'To His Coy Mistress' was written with the aim of praising the woman
addressed in this poem as, 'Lady,' and then gently persuading her
through flattery to go to bed with him. This intense mixture of love
and lust draws us in. Marvell is frequently described as a
Metaphysical poet and while this is unquestionably true, he also takes
elements from other types of poetry such as cavalier. In 'A critical
history of English Literature,' David Daiches says, 'His best poetry
combines true metaphysical wit with perfect classical grace and poise
to a greater degree than any other poet of the century…[He] stood
alone, creating his own synthesis out of the clashing elements around
him.' This describes the mood and perfection taken with his work in
all circumstances. The poem is written...

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