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George Herbert 1593-1633 was one of the major English metaphysical poets He was born in Wales and was educated at Cambridge He was an English clergyman and has become famous for his distinctive religious poetry Herbert who was greatly influenced by the work of John Donne another important metaphysical poet distinguishes himself from early convention of poetry golden poetry which is artifice Being a religious poet Herbert was notable for the purity and effectiveness of his choice of words His verse is marked by quietness of tone precision of language and the use of conceits What is striking about Herberts style is its clarity and directness Like John Donne Herbert uses his poems to question the nature of his relationship to God often using conceits combined with fairly simple conversational tone to achieving a sense of naturalness and simplicity An example to Herberts conception of poetic invention can be seen in his poems Love I and Love II George Herbert criticizes the golden poetry and its artifice by claiming that simplicity is better Golden poetry is a poetry that has pastoral images and it is very artificial in art form subject verse structure and in language It has physical images since it is poetry of the eye Herbert distinguishes himself from this early conventional poetry by using metaphysical poetry Metaphysical poetry is concerned with the experience of human beings of love romance sensuality relationships learning art and in Herberts case especially mans relationship to God Its associated with drama and non conventional imagery which moves beyond physicality The hallmark of Metaphysical poetry is the metaphysical conceit a figure of speech that employs unusual and paradoxical images It is based on the intellect so we cant base our analysis only on sight and includes intellectual wit learned imagery and subtle argument In love poetry the metaphysical poets often draw on ideas from Renaissance Neo-Platonism to show the relationship between the soul and body and the union
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