John Donne conceits were intellectual and strenuous yet cavalier poets of 17th century imitated him but kept their use of simple, direct and colloquial language intact while representing their individual personality through their poems. It was assumed that Donne metaphysical style of poetry influenced the cavalier poets but strangely exact meaning of Metaphysics is not known to people and especially students of English literature have varied view on metaphysical aspect of poetry. Metaphysics is considered as a form of mysticism which is beyond common person understanding and when someone like Donne uses sort of mystic conceits, it will certainly appeal to intellectuals only.
Pain is a physical reality but it can be understood metaphysically too; need is to trace the only difference of circumstance. We know everything but realize nothing & this is the only difference of being physical and metaphysical. Our whole understanding of criticism, appreciations lies on the platform of knowledge and realization. When critics says that cavalier attempt no plumbing of the depth of the soul then how can we interpret this stanza from ‘Epitaph for Maria Wentworth’ by Thomas Carew?
“Else the soul grew so fast within,
It broke the outward shell of sin,
And so was hatch’d a cherubin.”
Thomas Carew and other cavalier poets, who were considered as the supporter of Charles I, stayed in his court except Robert Herrick; who kept away the royalty in his poetry. We have no clue whether they used their poetry as a medium to circulate any royal agenda across nation. In his poem ‘Ask Me no More’, apart from the anaphoric significance of the term ‘Ask me no more’, these words have some mysticism which can be understood only by realization because knowledge creates questions and realization is an ultimate answer. Ask me no more is a direct attempt to vanish the knowledge because knowledge never allows us to believe that flowers can sleep in the orient deep beauty of beloved.
“For in your beauty’s orient deep
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep.”
He further created imagery ‘The ability to form mental images of things or events’ which not at all looks created by mind alone otherwise mind can never apprehend that nightingale can sing melodiously with her warm notes through the throat of beloved or lights of the star can sit affixed in the eyes of beloved. Thomas Carew did not look worried even if whole nature and its beauty gets hibernated – for whole appreciation and admiration of beauty for him was somewhere deep in his beloved. He urged that beauty is beyond physical boundaries. In his another poem ‘The Unfading Beauty’, he insisted that old times extinguish the fire of physical endurance and whole appreciation of physical beauty of beloved turns worthless as this beauty never stays longer. He quotes –
“Kindle never-dying fires”
In his poem ‘Ersuasions to Joy – A Song’ Thomas Carew affirmed with lucidity that beauty of his beloved remains afresh without decay. He quotes –
“If those bright suns must know no shade,
Nor your fresh beauties ever fade”
But Carew showed reticence about ‘what is that beauty is all about’? ‘How can we kindle those fires which never extinguish’? Perhaps his reluctance towards these questions is apprehensive through the reference of the term ‘Ask me no More’. John Donne once said through his poem, ‘The Good Morrow’ that –
“If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desire and got, ’twas but a dream of thee”
Donne also speaks in identical tone in more mature manner but remain close-lipped completely about the description of that innocent & immortal beauty. In that sense Thomas Carew- A cavalier poet and John Donne – A metaphysical poet spoke about those same secrets undisclosed. In John Donne poetry, there is part of physical love and beauty admiration because he himself believed that body is the first medium whose union is as essential as the union of souls. There is a path of sensuous apprehensions to spiritual growth according to John Donne. ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder’ is a common quotation but very crucial here because cognition & Concept of beauty is metaphysical in itself. Here is the question to analyze or criticize the poem with realization. Poets never appear on earth to impart any knowledge but for introspection and close self-analysis, they uses their poetic sense efficiently and this efficiency can only analyzed by diction, conceits, wit, irony, symbols, figure of speech etc. If cavalier poets ever imitated John Donne witty and erudite style of poetry, they preserved their own style of simplicity but that simplicity should not be understood in the term of common or ordinary poetry. Sometimes simple quotes are so insightful and they appeal to masses.