17th ; 18th century british poetry

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Last updated: December 10, 2019
John Donne
when he was young his poems were elegant, witty, courtly, cynical and always defiantly secular, when he was old his poems were very religious, known for contemporaries for his religious writings especially his sermons, his earlier nonreligious poems(songs and sonnets) were not published until after his death

Ben Jonson
was a contemporary of both John Donne and Shakespeare, extremely well educated, poems were based on latin models which he knew in the original language, his great satiric comedies were “Volpone” “The Alchemist” and “Bartholomew Fair”, his petry was less personal then Donne’s but he dealt with death of his first son

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George Herbert
had both a political career(public orator as a member of parlament) and a religious one(pastor), his poems were collected and published after his death, poems show his attempts to find a comfortable relationship with him and God because he thought humans were unworthy of God’s love,

Robert Herrick
although he was a priest he became widely known for his decidedly secular verse, as an admirer of ben jonson he achieved the same elegant wit and used some of the same poetic forms as jonson

Richard Lovelace
lived a life of social, educational, and personal success until the civil war in england , then he was twice imprisoned by the puritan gov and he died in obscurity(unknown), his famous lyric “To Lucasta, On Going to the Wars” express both personal and political commitment in a combination that exalts them both

Andrew Marvel
managed to have a public career both under the puritan interregnum and under the monarchy, in his poetry he also combined two traditions: the classical backround and smooth texture of ben jonson, and the witty intellectual passion of john donne

John Milton
was a writer of fierce conviction and passionate intelligence who set out to accomplish in his words “things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme”, his influence on later writers can hardly be measured, he studied at cambridge, knew italian, greek, hebrew, aramaic, french and spanish,

John Dryden
was successful at every literary form he tried and he tried all except the novel,at first he wrote poems that mark a particular occasion, then went to play writing and wrote highly successful heroic tragedies and social comedies,he also wrote famous commentary on dramatic theory and did translations of homer, virgil, juvenal and others, he is best known for satiric poems

Alexander Pope
was short 4″6′, the 18th century’s most brilliant poet, poetic style composed of witty graceful couplets, the inspiration for most of his famous work was a society joke

Thomas Gray
is best known for his meditation on death and human glory

The bait
This poem shows Donne’s ability to take the standard pastoral form and apply it to a traditional spiritual metaphor

Death, be not proud
The poet warns death to avoid pride (line 1) and reconsider its/his position as a “Mighty and dreadful” force (line 2). He concludes the introductory argument of the first quatrain by declaring to death that those it claims to kill “Die not” (line 4), and neither can the poet himself be stricken in this way.

A hymn to God the Father
The speaker says that since he will soon die and come to “that holy room” where he will be made into the music of God as sung by a choir of saints, he tunes “the instrument” now and thinks what he will do when the final moment comes. He likens his doctors to cosmographers and himself to a map, lying flat on the bed to be shown “that this is my south-west discovery / Per fretum febris, by these straits to die.” He rejoices, for in those straits he sees his “west,” his death, whose currents “yield return to none,” yet which will not harm him. West and east meet and join in all flat maps (the speaker says again that he is a flat map), and in the same way, death is one with the resurrection.

Still to be neat
criticizing women who wear makeup, because he personally prefers a natural

On my first son
We begin with good-bye. The speaker is saying farewell to his son after only seven years.

Sad. It seems that the speaker blames himself in a way for the loss of his son. The speaker then envies his son, who (since he’s dead) is free from both the physical and the mental pains of life. The son also won’t have to worry about the hassles of getting old, either.

The speaker then asks his son to tell anyone who asks that he (the son) is Ben Jonson’s best piece of poetry. Then, for his own sake, the speaker vows in future not to like the things he loves too much.

Though i am young and cannot tell
both death and love are very emotional (both do aim at human hearts), both can cause pain (love wounds with heat, as death with cold).

Easter wings
a poem full of deep imagery not only in its words but also in the visual structure of the stanzas. the downward spiral of human life. It all starts with Adam who, in addition to being the first man, was also the first Loser, bungling away the “wealth and store” God gave him and sinking into poverty. Because of Adam, Herbert also has it bad. In the second stanza, he goes from one sad s-word to the next, getting serious about how sickness, shame, and sin wore him down to nothing.

The collar
the speaker is complaining about the constraints of living a moral and virtuous life. In the first two lines, he decides he has had enough, striking a board and crying “No more, I will abroad!” He decides to leave this way of life. He feels freed by this rebellion. He then thinks about his moral life being one of servitude; the only fruits of his “harvest” are the thorns of the plant. (This may also be a reference to Christ’s crown of thorns, one of the burdens of his sacrifice.

) During his religious life, he recalls not partaking of the wine (his “sighs did dry it”).

The pulley
when God made man, he poured all his blessings on him, including strength, beauty, wisdom, honor and pleasure. However, as in Pandora’s box, one element remained. We are told that God “made a stay,” that is, He kept “Rest in the bottome.

” We might, in modern parlance, call this God’s ace. God is aware that if He were to bestow this

The argument of his book
is a mere inventory, a poetic table of contents to the diverse “topics” treated in the hundreds of poems to follow, from the simple things of nature, “Brooks, Blossomes, Birds, and Bowers,” to the grand themes of divinity, heaven, and hell.

Delight in disorder
delighted with general disorder. It is a contrasting poem that shows pleasure in minor disorders such as finding it appealing to see someone in a specific type of clothing that may be a sign of poverty or sensuality.

to lucasta, on going to the wars
A speaker asks his honey to cut him some slack when he goes off to war. Yes, he’s leaving her, and true, that’s uncool, but he’s doing it for one very good reason: he couldn’t love her as much as he does if he didn’t love and value his own honor even more.

to his coy mistress
he wants to get in bed with the girl by saying they will die soon

on his blindness
how will he serve God right if he’s blind

a bad writer passing on his legacy to another bad writer

the rape of the lock
begins with a passage outlining the subject of the poem and invoking the aid of the muse.

Then the sun (“Sol”) appears to initiate the leisurely morning routines of a wealthy household. Lapdogs shake themselves awake, bells begin to ring, and although it is already noon, Belinda still sleeps. She has been dreaming, and we learn that the dream has been sent by “her guardian Sylph,” Ariel. The dream is of a handsome youth who tells her that she is protected by “unnumber’d Spirits”—an army of supernatural beings who once lived on earth as human women.

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