I like Donne. I’m not sure why I do. When I read Elegie: To HIs Mistress going to bed, I thought his imagery was fascinating and downright beautiful at times. He has an incredibly good grasp of metaphor and simile, which goes on to create highly visual poems… that at the same time not just inspire a visual image, but also appeal to your other senses. Yet, I find that he’s a bit of an oddball.
After all, in Elegie: To HIs Mistress going to Bed, he did strip himself first before his mistress and in fact was fantasizing in advance of his mistress stripping… He comes off as suave, charming, dominant in fact because of how he persuades the mistress to strip… but then we suddenly find out, its he who has submitted, its he who has taken off his clothing. Say Whaaa?
At the same time, could it be said that Donne has gained a sort of… control over his mistress? By placing himself in a vulnerable position, by making this beautiful speech to his mistress, he is making a very strong demand for his mistress to join him. If not over his mistress, over his audience? By entrapping us in these brilliantly structured metaphors, and spiriting us away to America, we are held in his metaphysical grasp, only for him to let us down and in a sense trick us, bewitch us…
So, in that case… who is the fool? Donne or the audience?