How does John Donne blend passion and thought in his poetry?
Ans. The members of Metaphysical School of Poetry always looked for a connection between their thought and feeling. John Donne, head of the Metaphysical School of Poetry, draws upon several spheres of knowledge such as geography, medieval philosophy, sea discoveries etc. which prove that the world of love is more important than the geographical world.
Donne’s ‘The Sun Rising’ illustrates the peculiar blend of passion and thought, feeling and ratiocination. The delight of satisfied love is the feeling in the poem but it is expressed in intellectual terms and not merely in an emotional tone. The blending of feeling and thought is expressed well in the following lines:
“She’s all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.”
We again see the mingling of passion and thought in ‘The Canonization’. The supreme feeling of satisfaction in love is expressed in the following lines:
“Call us what you will, we’re made such by love; Call her one, me another fly,
We’re tapers too, and at our own cost die…..
We can die by it, if not live by love,”
But there is an intellectual tone imported in the poem through the complex conceits as well as arguments. Donne reasons out how lovers are canonized on made into saints. In his poem, emotions are shaped and expressed by logical reasoning and both sound and imagery are subservient to this end.
In ‘A Valediction : Forbidding Mourning’, Donne progresses from thought to thought with a measured and weighty music. Here there is no intellectual jugglery, but a series of reasonable comparisons. He looks for intellectual figures, analogous to an emotion which is itself both felt and thought.
Thus, Donne has effectively combined thought and feeling, emotion and intellect or logical arguments in his metaphysical love poetry. By using wonderful and far-fetched similes, wits, conceits and arguments, he has brought out concentrated passion, intellectual agility and dramatic power which have given his poetry a kind of novelty and distinction from his predecessors.