A Comparison and Contrast Essay on George Herbert and John Donne's Poetry

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  592 Words
Date:  2022-12-16


John Donne and George Herbert are two of the most well-known figures in English literature's history. Both of them wrote some of the greatest and most lasting pieces of poetry. Both were considered metaphysical poets. They used complex imagery and abstract ideas to communicate their ideas. Although they share many similarities, there are key differences between the poetry of George Herbert (and John Donne).

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Difference in Tone: Herbert's Reflective Nature vs. Donne's Intellectual Stimulation

First, the tone of the writing is what makes the difference between them. Herbert's poetry can be viewed as more reflective and contemplative, while Donne's poetry tends to be more intellectually stimulating. Herbert's poetry often focuses more on personal reflection and contemplation than Donne's. Donne's poetry, however, is more concerned with intellectual discourse or debate.

Contrasting Imagery: Herbert's Natural vs. Donne's Abstract and Philosophical

The second major difference is the imagery used in their poetry. Herbert often uses more natural imagery to express his ideas, such as birds and animals. Donne, on the other hand, often uses more abstract and philosophical imagery, such as mathematics and science.

Varied Approach to Structure and Form: Herbert's Traditional vs. Donne's Unconventional

The third major difference between the two poets is their approach to structure and form. Herbert often wrote in traditional forms, such as the sonnet and the villanelle. Donne, on the other hand, often used more unconventional forms, such as the epigram and the sestina. This reflects the fact that Herbert was more interested in the traditional conventions of poetry, while Donne was more interested in pushing the boundaries and exploring new ways of writing.

In terms of content, Herbert often wrote about topics such as religion, death, and love, while Donne often focused more on philosophical themes such as doubt and mortality. Herbert often wrote in a more lyrical and poetic style, while Donne often wrote in a more direct and argumentative style. This reflects the fact that Herbert was more interested in expressing his emotions and sentiments, while Donne was more interested in exploring ideas and concepts.


John Donne and George Herbert are the two most important figures in English literature's history. Although both poets wrote the most notable and long-lasting works of poetry, there were key differences between them. Herbert was more reflective and meditative, while Donne was more analytical and argumentative. Herbert used natural imagery more often to communicate his ideas while Donne used more abstract and philosophical imagery. Herbert wrote more in the traditional way, while Donne used more unconventional formats. Herbert wrote a lot about religion, death and love. Donne, however, focuses more on philosophical themes like doubt and mortality.

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A Comparison and Contrast Essay on George Herbert and John Donne's Poetry. (2022, Dec 16). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/a-comparison-and-contrast-essay-on-george-herbert-and-john-donnes-poetry

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