Metaphysical Poetry Essay

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Compare the representation of time and space in two metaphysical poems of your own choice, paying special attention to metaphysical metaphors and conceits.
John Donne introduces tears as a metaphor in the second line of this poem about lovers saying goodbye. The tears of the narrator’s lover are described with the metaphysical conceit, “Fruits of much grief they are, emblems of more,” (SOURCES), and this sets the precedence for the exploration of time and space throughout the poem. In the first stanza, the narrator states that because of tears “…thou and I are nothing then, when on a diverse shore.” (SOURCES) using a fluid related metaphor to describe a physical distance, and starting the visualisation of space, the vastness of which increases
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The poem itself has the word “valediction” in its title, but it is unknown how long the two lovers will be parted. The ambiguity of the farewell is important, as it is an example of the time this was written in. It was difficult to estimate how time-consuming a journey across long distances by sailing in the 17th century would be. In the third stanza there is another reference to time “Weep me not dead, in thine arms, but forbear / To teach the sea what it may do too soon;” (SOURCES), furthering the ambiguity of the poem, as it not only once again makes a reference to an unspecified set of time, but also how the narrator could potentially die, making their farewells eternal. “To His Coy Mistress”, also a poem about two people, deals with how their time together is finite in the sense that they will eventually die. The poem starts with the lines “Had we but world enough and time, / This coyness, lady, were no crime.”, then the narrator explains in detail how he would appreciate her if they were without physical limitations. Like in “A Valediction: of Weeping”, there is a gradual build-up in the grandiosity of the examples the narrator uses. He starts with a day, but the second time he references time it has escalated into a span of over a thousand
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