Short essay on the Metaphysical Poets and definition of Metaphysical Poetry

Short essay on the Metaphysical Poets and definition of Metaphysical Poetry

Question: What is Metaphysical Poetry? Write a short essay on the Metaphysical Poets.


‘‘Meta’’ means beyond and ‘‘Physics’’ means the science of concrete things. Metaphysical Poetry concerned with the experience of man. Apparently, those who write metaphysical poems are called metaphysical poets. The creator of metaphysical poetry, John Donne is successful along with his followers, not only in that period but also in the modern age.

Metaphysical poetry

Metaphysical poetry is a type of poetry in which abstract ideas are dealt with such as love, faith, God, belief, etc. To put it differently, Metaphysic means abstract things. Metaphysical poems are lyric poems. They are brief but intense meditations, characterized by the striking use of wit, conceit, irony, and wordplay.

Features of metaphysical poetry:

  1. Abrupt beginning
  2. Abstract theme
  3. Colloquial language
  4. Regular rhyme scheme
  5. Metaphysical logic and conceits
  6. Use of allusion etc.

Poets of Metaphysical World

The term ‘‘Metaphysical poet’’ is given to a diverse group of 17th-century English poets whose work is notable for its ingenious use of intellectual and theological concepts in surprising conceits, strange paradoxes, and far-fetched imagery. This is a very broad term, but joins together a number of 17th-century poets, most notable among them are highlighted below:

John Donne (1572-1631)

Donne is considered the master of metaphysical poetry. He is the founder of metaphysical poetry. He creates a new trend for writing poetry. Donne’s material of poems is abstract but he gives it full poetic concrete pictures. Especially his imagistic writing, use of conceit, abrupt beginning with dramatic style, and colloquial diction made his poems highlighted.

George Herbert (1593-1633)

Herbert followed the lead offered by Donne but he also made contributions that were quite distinct. His distinguishing characteristics is his simplicity of diction and metaphor. He draws his metaphors from everyday domestic experience, employing a range of simple commonplace imagery in contrast to the sophisticated imagery of Donne. ‘‘The Temple’’ and ‘‘The Country Parson’’ are his notable works.

Click here: For all the notes of History of English Literature

Henry Vaughan (1621-1695)

Vaughan is considered one of the major metaphysical poets, whose works ponder one’s personal relationship to God. He saw mankind as poets restless and constantly seeking a sense of harmony and fulfillment through contact with God. He has the arrogance of a visionary. Vaughan’s images are more universal or cosmic. ‘’Silex Scintillans’’ is his famous works.

Andrew Marvell (1621-2678)

Marvell is marked by the extraordinary variety and he is gifted with the most subtle imagination. His technique of drawing upon philosophy to illustrate his argument gives his poems and intellectual appeal. His most notable work is ‘‘To His Coy Mistress’’.

Richard Crashaw (1613-1649)

Richard wrote many metaphysical poems following Donne. He may be characterized by the brilliant use of extravagant baroque imagery. By his brilliant and rapid short lines and brief intervals, he carried English prosody to a higher refinement and to a more glittering felicity. ‘‘Steps to the Temple’’ and ‘‘Delights of the Muse’’ are his famous works.


To sum up, undoubtedly, we can say that the metaphysical poets develop the store of English poetry. Metaphysics means a subject that deals with things, which do not have concrete shapes. These poems have been created in such a way that one must have enough knowledge to get the actual meaning.

Ruhul Huda
Ruhul Huda

You can call me Mr. Huda. I am a researcher and doing this work for years. I like to learn everywhere. So, feel free to share your experience with me.

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