'Twickenham Garden' by John Donne is a meta-physical poem
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1) 'Twickenham Garden' is a meta-physical poem in the sense that the main focus is about love and the fact that Donne cannot receive any back from the girl he has fallen in love with. In this poem love is mentioned continually throughout in different contexts. In the first stanza Donne is describing his state of misery and loneliness and the inner turmoil he suffers from falling in love with a woman he cannot have. The first line: "Blasted with sighs, and surrounded with teares" is showing his sate of mind, he feels as though his heart had been 'blasted' with the sighs he utters when he is alone and depressed. The metaphors Donne uses to express these feelings are meta-physical because they deal with feelings and other none physical attributes like a broken heart. The line "O, selfe traytor" shows that he himself is not happy with the fact he has fallen in love with a married woman, He feels as though his heart has betrayed him. The final line "True Paradise, I have the serpent brought" makes it seem as though as he walks through this lush garden that plants wither and die, as he walks past as if he is some kind of bad disease on this 'paradise'.
With this he pictures a couple come up and collect some water from him (which represents his tears) and leave with it in a vial. The Line "For all are false. That tast not just like mine;" is talking about how no one has really tears of emotional pain except him. All other tears are fake except for his, for true emotions are not displayed through tears of others. The attack on women starts with the lines "Nor can you judge womans thoughts by teares, Than by her shadow, what she weares" because this shows that he believes that woman do not cry for real, he believes they just turn on the tears like a tap. He says that womans tears tell you as much about what they are feeling as does their shadow tell you about what they are wearing. The attack on women continues and reveals to us why he is having this attack at woman. "O perverse sexe, where none is true but shee, who's therefore true, because her truth kills mee." He is saying that no woman on earth is faithful to their husbands except the woman he falls in love with, and her faithfulness to her husband is killing him because it is not him she is being faithful to.
In the flea his language is soft and persuasive. He tries to be as nice as possible because this is a woman he really wants. But in 'Twickenham Garden' his tone, while bitter, isn't too hostile towards the woman. This gives us the impression that he doesn't want her to dislike him but he still wants to state his point. In 'The Flea' Donne's attitude to love is not too obvious. But we can tell from the way he is speaking to this girl that he knows that love is important to her, or t woman in general. Donne shows that he is sexist in this because it makes it seem as though he thinks all women only want love then they will sleep with him. In 'Twickenham Garden' his attitude to love is bitter and resentful. He talks about how it makes him feel happier in winter and how it seems that the trees are mocking him with their happiness. 1) Why is Twickenham Garden a meta-physical poem? 2) How does Donne use imagery related to the seasons and nature in this poem? 3) Compare Donne's attitude to love in this poem to one other of his poems? Tony Wenham 12HE
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