John Donne: Poems

The Differences Between Donne and Spenser College

Though his poetry was largely ignored and dismissed during his time, John Donne is known today for being one of the best poets of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He gained this reputation by creating poetry that was different, that made him stand out among his peers. Perhaps the best way to examine those unique characteristics is by analyzing one of Donne’s poems and one by another famous poet during his time, Edmund Spenser. By comparing and contrasting Edmund Spenser’s Sonnet 75 and John Donne’s “The Blossom,” the qualities of Donne’s poetry that are new and unique for the time prominently stand out.

There are a few characteristics that Donne’s “The Blossom” and Spenser’s Sonnet 75 have in common. For starters, both poems imply the action of speech, with Spenser addressing his lover and Donne addressing a flower and then his heart. They both make use of symbols early on: Spenser uses the ocean as a metaphor for death and Donne uses a flower to represent newly bloomed love. Aside from that, however, Spenser’s and Donne’s poems are different in both form and subject.

Sonnet 75 is found within Spenser’s “Amoretti and Epithalamion,” which was released in London in 1595 (Spenser 585). It is difficult, however, to date Donne’...

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