ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Summary of the Poetry from John Dunne to Milton

Updated on December 27, 2017

Poetry of John Dunne and Milton

The period from John Dunne to Milton spans just half a century. Both poets are considered among the foremost English poets and have an assured place in the history of English literature. John Donne lived from1572 – 1631, while Milton lived from 1608-1674. For some time the life of both poets overlapped. Both poets have made a mark in English literature. Milton became famous earlier and the value of John Donne as a poet was recognized much later. In fact a good 200 years later.

John Dunne

John Dunne was a satirist, lawyer and cleric in the Church of England. He is considered one of the foremost exponents of metaphysical poetry. Metaphysical when applied to poetry means poems with love, science, romance and sensuality integrated with man’s relationship with God. These poems are lyrical poems containing intense meditations. John Dunne was greatly influenced by the church as such his poetry had a religious bent.

Metaphysical poets

Along with Dunne the other metaphysical poets were George Herbert (1593-1633), Andrew Marvell (1621-1678) and Henry Vaughn. They had their own distinct styles which was sensual and included love poetry, religious poems and sermons. The Metaphysical poets were overtaken by the romantic poets a century later. Marvell had a connection with John Milton. He was his secretary and once when Milton was jailed during the Restoration; it was Marvell who had him set free after he had petitioned for his release. The poets Andrew Marvell and George Herbert never published their poems during their life time and their verses were published posthumously.

John Milton

John Milton who lived during the same period was a scholarly man of letters. He was also a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England, led by Oliver Cromwell. His monumental work ‘Paradise Lost’ puts him in the top bracket of English literature. Milton had the mortification of losing his eyesight towards the end of his life, yet he took it in his stride and there is no remorse or self pity at this handicap being thrust on him.

In contrast to John Dunne and his compatriots, Milton was not a metaphysical poet. Though he lived during the same period his style and themes were of an entirely different genre. Milton concentrated on social issues and religion. In his epic ‘Paradise Lost’ Milton’s goal was to justify the ways of God. His primary aim was to explain the ways of God to man.

Milton achieved international recognition during his lifetime. During this period he wrote ‘Areopagitica’ a condemnation of pre-publication censorship. Milton was an erudite man and wrote in English, Latin and Italian.

Milton and Dunne’s interpretation of Mans Relationship with God.

Milton and Dunne are studies in contrast. Milton in ‘Paradise Lost’ recounts the fall of man in the Genesis. He relates graphic conversations of Adam and Eve with God. He describes the demons and their exile to Hell. Donne on the other hand in ‘Holy Sonnet XIV’ creates an entirely different scenario. He illustrates man’s utter dependence on God. John Dunne was highly religious and his poetry brings out the rationality and beauty of faith in God. Both the poets thus wrote poetry touching two different aspects of man’s relationship with god. The fact is that both poets had god as a central theme, though they interpreted man’s relations with the almighty differently.

Milton and Politics

Milton was aware of John Donne. He travelled every day from school to home and crossed St Paul's. In all probability he listened to the sermons put on during this time by John Donne. Milton’s poetry had a different approach from Donne and the Metaphysical poets. He was more alive to the political scenario of that period. England was in turmoil with Cromwell and Milton sided with him. Cromwell is a towering figure in English history and at that time he was all powerful. That may have rubbed off on Milton, as he sided with Cromwell. John Donne was not that politically inclined, influenced as he was more by the church.

Last Word

Poetry of both poets Dunne and Milton is a treasure. The short period saw other poets emerge during the time of these two poets. Nothing however matches the luminosity of these two. Both poets made the English language richer and now almost 400 years later we can appreciate the greatness of these two poets.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you Michele for commenting and appreciating.

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Great comment Gypsy Rose

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you for letting us know about these poets. Voted up.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Thank you for sharing a fascinating read. Passing this on.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)