This guide to selected devotional poems by three seventeenth-century English poets appears in a series of guides to the classics by popular professor, author, and literary expert Leland Ryken. Lyric poems possess unique qualities that make them a complement to the novels and plays that we most customarily think of as classics. Devotional poetry of the seventeenth-century is poetry of the very highest standard, packed with meaning and artistry. It takes Christian experience and doctrine as its subject matter. That subject matter is then handled within the poem in such a way as to lead to a deeper understanding of God and his truth and a richer feeling toward it.
This volume leads readers through the devotional poetry of three seventeenth-century poetic geniuses: John Donne, George Herbert, and John Milton. Poems are preceded by tips for reading, such as a summary of the content core of the poem and its structure. A partial explication of the poetic texture follows each poem. Marginal notes define difficult or archaic words in the poem. There is also a section for “Reflection or Discussion” for each poem. Introductory pages are devoted to each of the three poets at the beginning of their sections.