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Seven Metaphysical PoetsA Structural Study of the Unchanging Self$
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Robert Ellrodt

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198117384

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198117384.001.0001

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George Herbert and Henry Vaughan

George Herbert and Henry Vaughan

(p.127) Chapter 7 George Herbert and Henry Vaughan
Seven Metaphysical Poets

Robert Ellrodt

Oxford University Press

George Herbert composes, or pretends to compose, when spurred on by a present emotion or incident. By his inclusion of the past in the present, Herbert tempers the vehemence of emotion. Herbert's intuition of time and his sense of form in the composition of his poems are interrelated. The contraction of space is more obvious than the contraction of time in The Temple. Henry Vaughan's Silex Scintillans was written in close imitation of The Temple; yet his intuition of time and space offers a clear contrast to both Herbert's and John Donne's. While his predecessors had been poets of the here and now, he is the poet of distance and retrospection. The present is not absent from the poetry of Vaughan, but it is always filled with the memory of the past or the expectation of the future. Vaughan's world is the natural world, characterized by an intense awareness of life and its circulation in the universe. It is therefore a world of vegetation and growth, and furthermore a world of sympathy and animism.

Keywords:   George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, poetry, time, space, world, emotion, future, present

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