One of the most original and controversial poets in the history of English literature. John Donne ( 1572-1631 ) is best known for his metaphysical poesy on subjects every bit diverse as the joys of sexual love and humanity’s subservience to God. John Donne wrote energetic. strict but uneven lines characterized by complex. witty conceits—contrasts and paradoxes—startling drawn-out metaphors. and dramatic imagination juxtaposing the earthly and the Godhead.
Eighteenth-century critic Samuel Johnson noted that in Donne’s work. “The most heterogenous thoughts are yoked by force together ; nature and art are ransacked for illustrations. comparings. and allusions. ” The Age of John Donne The age of John Donne was an age of passage. standing midway between the age of Shakespeare and the Jacobean age ( 1572-1631 ) . The age of Donne would efficaciously and well cover the first 30 old ages of the 17th century. This age stands halfway between the age of Shakespeare-and the age of Milton.
There is. nevertheless. some over-lapping which can non be avoided because literary periods or ages can non be separated chronologically. It was a period of singular literary activity. a kind of protraction of the Elizabethan age. The resurgence of larning had influenced non merely Italy and Germany but besides England. The classics were studied circumstantially and from a new angle. The re-discovery of the literature and civilization of the past-known as humanism-gave the authors a new mentality on life. Life was a cheery game and non a regretful repentance.
The new ideal adult male was to be a perfect courtier. a perfect soldier. a perfect author and. above all. a perfect gentleman. For this. he had to undergo comprehensive preparation and a strict subject. Many alterations in the political. societal and economic spheres were being effected. Colonial enlargement and addition in industry and trade made people mercenary. The survey of mediaeval literature developed the heads of the readers. Though instruction was non so widespread. the common adult male spared no chance of obtaining cognition from any beginning.
Medieval beliefs held their land both in John Donne and his coevalss. The Reformation was a direct challenge to Rome. Why should Pope be supreme in the affairs of faith? Religion. after all. is a personal affair and no command should be tolerated from-outside. Patriotism in its wider intension was responsible non merely for a new literature. but besides a new religion. The maltreatments and failings of the Catholic faith were laid bare. The new Church of England came into being.
Donne. like some of his coevalss. felt within himself the struggle of religion. His agnosticism. his humanitarianism and his acquisition made him dispute the religion of his ascendants. The consequence was that after a good trade of heart-searching and hesitation. Donne embraced the Established Church of England by 1598. But it was non until he was ordained in 1615 that he became a confirmed Anglican. The heritage of Queen Elizabeth. who died in 1603. was one of peace and prosperity. It was besides one of centralisation.
Although her monarchy had non been an absolute 1. she delegated her authorization sagely. and nationalism was trueness to the Queen. Religion and political relations were closely linked. Elizabeth. as the supreme caput of the Church of England. maintained spiritual tolerance as the Puritan and Catholic minorities strengthened. James I. once James V of the Scotland. took over the English throne in 1603 at the decease of Elizabeth. Though widely hailed at first. Englishmans quickly became disillusioned with him. James did non understand the people he ruled. nor the nature of his office.
He allowed his front-runners and the Spanish authorities to act upon him ; his failure to acknowledge the lifting power of Parliament. his reversion to stiff positions of absolute monarchy. and the luxury and the corruptness of his regulation. and spiritual splits widened and Puritanism and Roman Catholicism became more hawkish in their battle against the established Church of England. Political discord. intermingled with turning spiritual discord. was brought to a caput by his insisting on the unity of Church and province. The struggle between Church and State led work forces o admiration which was superior. with the reply resting in man’s ain scruples.
The inquiring of civil authorization. of where true sovereignty should lie. do it possible to arise against a male monarch. The growing of the in-between category. the rise of political parties. and the alienation of the Puritans led to a long civil war. Charles I. who began his regulation in 1629. following the decease of his male parent. was beheaded in 1649. whereupon a Commonwealth was begun by the Puritans. taking to the eventual military absolutism of Oliver Cromwell. who. however. brought some step of peace and stableness to a disruptive England.
Yet the thought of a military absolutism was detestable to Englishmans and upon Cromwell’s decease in 1660. Parliament invited Charles II. in expatriate in France. to return to England and restart the regulation of the Stuart male monarchs. Life History John Donne was born in 1572 to a comfortable London household. His female parent came from one of England’s most distinguished Catholic households. John Donne was the grandson of the playwright John Heywood. the nephew of Jasper Heywood. who led the Jesuit mission to England in the 1580s. and a great-great-nephew of the Catholic sufferer Sir Thomas More.
After having his early instruction from the Jesuits. in 1584 Donne began analyze at Oxford. Oxford would present Donne his grade merely if he renounced his Catholic religion. as was standard pattern at the university at that clip. Defiant. Donne left Oxford and pursued legal surveies at the Inns of Court in London. where he was known both for his foppishness and his serious survey of legal and spiritual issues. During this period Donne wrote many quips. sarcasms. poetry letters. and laments which were shared among friends in his literary circle but remained unpublished during his life-time.
After finishing his jurisprudence grade in 1596. Donne accompanied the Earl of Essex on two naval expeditions against Spain. authorship of his experiences in the verse forms “The Storm. ” “The Calm. ” and “The Burnt Ship. ” Returning to England in 1597 Donne became secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton. Four old ages subsequently Donne in secret wed Ann More. Egerton’s sixteen-year-old niece. Enraged. More’s male parent had Donne imprisoned until 1602. Donne left prison without a professional place. societal standing. or much hope of a calling.
From 1602 to 1615 Donne was able to back up Ann and heir turning family—which finally included 10 children—only through the generousness of friends and frequenters. His letters from this period chronicle his battles with depression and unwellness. Strong spiritual feelings. assorted with rational discontent. deep cynicism. and desperation are apparent in the Holy Sonnets. which Donne wrote but did non print at this clip. It was besides during these old ages that he wrote his finest love poesy. Donne had been offered a place in the Anglican Church every bit early as 1607 but did non accept ordination until 1615. when it became clear that King James I would progress him through the Church.
He became the King’s chaplain ; and the following twelvemonth he was made deity reader at Lincoln’s Inn. Ann died in childbearing in 1617. In 1621. a mere six old ages following his entry into the priesthood. Donne became Dean of St. Paul’s. and his discourses became widely heard and admired. He stated that he was happy in the rejection of “the kept woman of my young person. Poetry” for “the married woman of mine age. Divinity. ” Nevertheless. when he was struck with a febrility in 1623 and thought he was deceasing. he wrote “Hymn to God the Father” and “Hymn to God My God. in My Sicknesse. ” John Donne died in 1631.