Poetry Analysis Essay on the Ecstasy by John Donne and the Retreat by Henry Vaughan

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  851 Words
Date:  2022-12-10


The Ecstasy is amongst John Donne's famous poems that take a metaphysical style to showcase the love he had with his wife. Donne is well acknowledged to write about love in the most honest and direct ways, but the Ecstasy adopted a more complex set of analogies and imagery to bring out the theme of love. The first part of the essay hence intends to explore how to focus on how the image of horticulture is used to bring out the subject of love.

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The imagery of horticulture is well brought out in the poem through the discussion about transplanting. In the poem, Donne talks about "entregraft our hands" a symbol that brings about love between him and his wife. Flowers being associated as a symbol to express love, the poem talks about the plant to new soil. A symbol that shows case their love being planted and grown to blossom. The poet in 1.12 talks about propagation a term is well known to be relevant in horticulture. The word is ambiguous in the poem as propagation is also used to mean making pregnant that illustrate a symbol of sexual relations. In the poem, the image of horticulture is used to illustrate the product of love. As in 1.8 of the poem the poet talks about the graft to a new stock that represents a birth of love. Presumably, the new stock is flowers that represent a symbol of love planted by Donne and his lovely wife. The poet asserts that "A single violet transplant" "redoubles still and multiplies," creating an image of a flower planted with its violet color and how it redistributes to exhibit how the love of Donne and his wife blossoms and grows a flower.

Religion is a critical aspect of any living society. Through the Retreat, Vaughan does a deep religious poem that explains his chronicles as a child to adulthood. Exploring the poetry concerning his story, the second part of the essay will examine the image of purity as brought out in the poem. The retreat by Vaughan deploys imagery of innocence while exploring a theme of religion.

As Vaughan explained his life chronicles of purity when he was a small child later on becoming impure due to sins, exhibit an image of purity and sin in religion. At one instance in the poem, the poet refers himself to as an angel of God when he was young, innocent and full of life.The reference creates the image of purity in which the poet was pure of sin to relate himself with an angel. The poet attempts to showcase that purity is present in infancy and is only subject to change over time. He stresses that it's not just his perception to relate with himself with an angle, but it applies to everyone who once underwent childhood. The imagery of purity is once brought in the poem as the author correlates an infant purity with that of an angle. Bearing in mind that children are innocent creatures with little information on deliberately doing wrong to another, as compared to an angel apparent inability to sin. The correlation between the two creates imagery of a child purity to the failure of an angle to sin. The author relates an unequivocal affinity of infants to angels furthermore forming a more image of the innocence of the young child. The author in his poem articulates that he sees children in heaven creating an image of only the pure, will inherit the kingdom of God. As the scriptures stipulate that just the pure form the slightest sin shall see the kingdom of heaven, the author uses this form of imagery to communicate the importance of purity, in the Christian religion.


The imagery in the two poems was well presented though Vaughan imagery on purity in the Retreat more deep and concise. The two authors were well versed in there, and the central theme of love in Ecstasy and religion in the Retreat was well presented. The Ecstasy revolves around indirect ideas that circle the central topics he is discussing while the Retreat was more direct or addressing its central theme of religion. However, there exist similarities between the two poems as both deployed a metaphysical structure in writing their poems. In the Ecstasy, the author has brought together opposing concepts such as the medieval and the modern, the scientific and the religious and the physical and the spiritual. The author has used imagery to bring opposing comments together and enhance a better understanding. The poem, however, attracts criticism as a nasty poem that deploys Neoplatonic ideologies in expressing courtly love. On the other side, Vaughan Retreat is thematically superb. Through implementing useful rhyme- pattern, and syntax, the poem is musical with English perfection that makes it a masterpiece.


"Critical Analyses of Henry Vaughan's Poem THE RETREAT." The Terabithian. Accessed March 3, 2019. http://theterabithian.blogspot.com/2013/05/critical-analyses-of-henry-vaughans.html.

"Imagery and Symbolism in The Extasie >> Metaphysical Poets, Selected Poems Study Guide from Crossref-it.info." Free English Literature Study Guides - Crossref-it.info. Accessed March 3, 2019. https://crossref-it.info/textguide/metaphysical-poets-selected-poems/4/862.

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Poetry Analysis Essay on the Ecstasy by John Donne and the Retreat by Henry Vaughan. (2022, Dec 10). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/poetry-analysis-essay-on-the-ecstasy-by-john-donne-and-the-retreat-by-henry-vaughan

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