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Metaphysical poetry

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Notes Petrarchan and Metaphysical conceits and poetry

Notes Petrarchan and Metaphysical conceits and poetry


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  • 1. Conceit: an elaborate metaphor Creates a striking parallel between two very dissimilar things See the back wall for YOURS!
  • 2. Petrarchan Conceit  The comparison is usually an impassioned man suffering because of a beautiful but cold woman  “My love is like to ice, and I to fire”  “Or how comes it that my exceeding heat is not delayed by her heart frozen cold”
  • 3. More Petrarchan Conceits “In me thou see’st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west Which by and by black night doth take away, Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest”
  • 4. “MARK but this flea, and mark in this, How little that which thou deniest me is ; It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee, And in this flea our two bloods mingled be”
  • 5. BUSY old fool, unruly Sun, Why dost thou thus, Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ? Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run ? Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide Late school-boys and sour prentices, Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride, Call country ants to harvest offices ;
  • 6. Metaphysical Conceits Uses witty, unexpected comparisons drawn from very odd places. Highly intellectual and complicated logic that controls the poem
  • 7. John Donne 1572-1631
  • 8. Metaphysical Poetry “For God’s sake hold your tongue and let me love” Described as harsh and angry Very intellectual—reading them is often like trying to solve a puzzle Critics: “Just showing off”