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Regarded by many as the greatest of the Metaphysical poets, John Donne
(1572-1631) was also among the most intriguing figures of the Elizabethan age.
A sensualist who composed erotic and playful love poetry in his youth, he was
raised a Catholic but later became one of the most admired Protestant preachers
of his time. "The Selected Poems" reflects this wide diversity, and includes
his youthful songs and sonnets, epigrams, elegies, letters, satires, and the
profoundly moving "Divine Poems" composed towards the end of his life. From
joyful poems such as "The Flea", which transforms the image of a louse into
something marvellous, to the intimate and intense "Holy Sonnets", Donne
breathed new vigour into poetry by drawing lucid and often startling metaphors
from the world in which he lived. His poems remain among the most passionate,
profound and spiritual in the English language.