1847 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Donne

Edward Farr, in Select Poetry, chiefly sacred, of the Reign of King James the First (1847) xii.



This celebrated poet and preacher of the reign of King James was the first and the most vigorous of that poetical school, which critics have held up to ridicule under the character of "metaphysical." His collected poems were first published after his death, which took place in 1631, under the title of "Poems, Letters, and Elegies." Ben Jonson predicted that Donne would perish as a poet, for want of being understood. His great offence appears to be harshness of versification; but admitting that he is frequently rugged and sometimes obscure, this once favourite writer may nevertheless be pronounced to be a true and often a delightful poet.