John Donne’s Poetry Relate to The Cultural Climate in 16th- And 17th-century England

Donne as a metaphysical poet, a note on the poem The Sun Rising.

John Donne was one of the most remarkable literary figures of the Elizabethan age. Donne stood different in the sense that he broke away from great Elizabethan traditions and revolt against the easy, flexible style, stock imagery and the pastoral conventions of the followers of Spenser. Donne’s poems especially religious poems reveal the struggle in the mind of English people who lived in 16th and 17th century before taking orders in the Anglican Church, their horror of death, their terror of the rage of God and their desire for God’s love.

John Donne’s poetry relate to the cultural climate in 16th- and 17th-century England

Introduction

 John Donne was one of the most remarkable literary figures of the Elizabethan age. Donne stood different in the sense that he broke away from great Elizabethan traditions and revolt against the easy, flexible style, stock imagery and the pastoral conventions of the followers of Spenser. Donne’s poems especially religious poems reveal the struggle in the mind of English people who lived in 16th and 17th century  before taking orders  in the Anglican Church,  their horror of death, their  terror of the rage of God and their desire for God’s love. In Donne’s poem The Sun Rising pasteurizes the peculiar blend of passion and rationalism or feelings and thought. Analyzing Donne’s poem especially The Sun Rising a reader can find cultural, historical and religious elements of 16th and 17th century England.

Analyzing Donne’s poetry one can find the fact that most of all his works minutes the peculiar emotional and ethical tension of 16th and 17th century England. Donne follows the medieval ideologies of men as a mortal presenting at different layer. Donne’s poems especially his love poems clearly demonstrate the complex transformation of medievalism to modernity. In ‘The Sun Rising’ the poet constitutes the idea that love is not scheduled in to time. The poem is often regarded as an intellectual practice in reversing the existing social and cultural systems in the 16th and 17th century England.The poet addresses and the sun through the following expressions; “Busy old fool, unruly sun//Why dost thou thus/Through the window and through curtains call on us?”( The Sun Rising-John Donne). (http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/sunrising.htm)

 Here the reader can understand Donne overturns the various conventional concepts about sun such as the centre of universe and the golden eye of heaven. YU Qiao-feng  asserts;” In their eyes, the sun becomes “the busy old fool” and the hours, daysand months “the rags of time”, which seems inconceivable” Review on the conceits used in “The Sun Rising”- (http://www.linguist.org.cn/doc/su200707/su20070709.pdf)

The ending of 16th century new scientific discoveries being made in England and as a result of this a new social system had emerged in English society. Through his poems Donne pictures poet’s confused mind by new discoveries and changing social systems. Donne provides allusions to scientific inventions and discoveries and geographical explorations which occurred in 16th and 17th century. The people in 16th and 17th century England have searched for a final destination or specific beliefs both personal and religious life. The reader can find this ideology in Donne’s poem The Sun Rising.The poet sings;” Shine hre to us and thou art every where;/ This bead thy entire is, these walls, thy spheare” (http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/sunrising.htm)

.References about both Indies help the reader to understand about Donne’s effort to express historic and cultural elements in his works. Poet also describes the significance of natural resources in these regions.

As a follower of metaphysical ideology Donne give sense connecting to philosophical conjecture and rational abstraction. Donne’s love poems reveal the change of attitude both the poet and the society towards women folk. Even though Donne reveals a different style in conventional love poems one can find the fact that the poet does not overcome the influences of 16th century English community. The poet compares his lady lover as a kingdom and he rules that kingdom. In the third stanza poet begins; “She’s all states, and all princes, I;”/ Nothing else is”. (http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/sunrising.htm)

Donne’s love poems often demonstrate the conflict between physical passion and religious intensity. Scientific discoveries and other inventions greatly influence the social and religious life of 16th and 17th century people in England. Some of them have kept doubt in their mind about the existence of god. In The Sun Rising poet ridicule the sun enhances the concept love in a supreme status. The book entitled Culture and values: a survey of the humanities by Lawrence Cunningham, and John Reich gives the comment that;“We might expect a similar progression from light to darkness in hi s work, yet throughout hi s life the two forces of physical passion and religious intensity seem to have been equally dominant.”  Culture and values: a survey of the humanities By Lawrence Cunningham, John Reich- (http://books.google.co.in/books)

End of the Elizabethan period people in European countries especially English people e have the tendency to break the conventional beliefs and customs as a result of colonization and geographical exploration. People had changed traditional concepts of lovemaking. Poet sings; “Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime, / Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time. “.The Sun Rising. by John Donne- (http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/sunrising.htm)

 Here Donne explores that love is beyond earthly restrictions. 

Conclusion

To conclude, Donne’s poems explore the ideological conflict between religious intensity and bodily desires. A reader can easily find most of his works demonstrates the social and emotional crisis of his age. In the poem The Sun Rising Donne reveals people’s tendency to break conventional concepts and ideologies. The glimpses of existing patriarchal society can see most of his love poems, especially in The Sun Rising.   Elements of scientific inventions and geographic al explorations in 16th and 17th century play a vital role in Donne’s works. Analyzing Donne’s love poems, especially The Sun Rising a reader can understand the elements of social and cultural life of 16th and 17th century England is visible in his poems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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