October 22, 2003
By: John Donne (1633)
Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
- ↑ A fun and clever carpe diem poem, “The Flea” is an extended conceit and logical argument in a microdrama of seduction. In 1894, critic Edmund Gosse called the poem a “gross and offensive piece of extravagance,” but acknowledges that it, along with “The Good Morrow,” are detailed, personal, and has “the stamp of life on them” (Bloom 2008, p. 101). While not published until after Donne’s death, “The Flea” was likely written in the 1590s when the poet’s interests leaves the pursuit of earthly pleasure and begins his more philosophical musings that characterize his mature works (Bloom 2008, p. 117).
- ↑ I.e., The flea has had a mini consummation—what the woman denies the man—by penetrating, sucking, and mingling the blood of the couple. “Swells” in line 8 suggests a pregnancy.
- ↑ The young lady goes to kill the flea, and the young man stops her, if only for a moment.
- ↑ The young lady has killed the flea.
- Bloom, Harold, ed. (2008). John Donne and the Metaphysical Poets. Bloom’s Classic Critical Views. New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism.