This article explains what conceit in poetry is and also covers, 1. Metaphysical ConceitDefinition, Characteristics, and Examples 

2. Petrarchan ConceitDefinition, Characteristics, and also Examples

What is a Conceit in Poetry

A conceit in poetry is an extended metaphor that provides a comparison between two dissimilar things. The ax conceit is used in two principles in poetry; conceit have the right to either describe the conceits in metaphysical city or conceits supplied in Petrarchan sonnets.

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Metaphysical Conceit

Metaphysical conceit is one extended an allegory used to do a comparison in between two an extremely different things. Creating unconventional and audacious metaphors and also similes come compare very dissimilar points was a major characteristic of metaphysical poetry.

A comparison i do not care a conceit once the poet tries to prove a similarity between two very dissimilar things to the reader that is really conscious that the differences in between the claimed two things. A conceit offers a more facility and innovative understanding the a comparison. Thus, this to compare governs the totality poem or poetic passage. This comparison of totally dissimilar things also proves the skills of the poet.

The photos used in conceits were never ever conventional: metaphysical poets did no repeat the well-worn poetic images such together teeth choose pearls or cheeks prefer roses. Instead, they shown their expertise on a wide selection of topics such together science, trade, mathematics, etc. Therefore, the conceit also brought an pundit tone to poetry.

Examples that Metaphysical Conceit

John Donne is among the most influential metaphysical poets who provided conceits in his poetry. In “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”, that compares two lovers to the two legs that compasses. He says that bodies of the lovers might be united, but like the two legs of the compass, they space joined at the top.

“If they be two, they space two so together stiffTwin compasses room two;Thy soul, the fix’d foot, provides no showTo move, yet doth, if th’ various other do.

And though it in the center sit,Yet, once the other much doth roam,It leans, and hearkens after it,And grow erect, together that come home.”

John Donne additionally another clever conceit in his city “Flea”. In this poem, that compares the flea to a union in between two people. He suggests that their blood has come to be mingled once the flea suck blood native both that them. He supplies this discussion to guide his love attention to begin a sexual relationship.

“Mark but this flea, and also mark in this,How tiny that which she deniest me is;It sucked me first, and also now suck thee,And in this flea our 2 bloods mingled be..”


John Donne

Petrarchan Conceit

Petrarchan conceit, which to be popular during the Renaissance, is a hyperbolic comparison to explain a lover. This conceits were regularly used in love city to compare a lover come grandeur physics objects such together sun, moon, gems, etc.

This conceit is called after the Italian poet Petrarch who was well known for using such hyperbolic comparison. In his famous poem “Lasciato ài, Morte, senza sole il mondo,” (Death, you have left the people without a sun), Petrarch introduces the hyperbolic comparison in between his mistress and the sun. The Petrarchan was used and also refined through English writers such together William Shakespeare and also Edmund Spenser. Because that example, in “Romeo Juliet”, Shakespeare offers conceit to explain Romeo’s love because that Rosaline.

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“Misshapen chaos the well-seeming forms!Feather the lead, glowing smoke, cold fire, sick health,Still-waking sleep, that is not what that is!This love feel I, that feel no love in this.Dost thou no laugh?”


The ax conceit has two definitions in poetry. A metaphysical conceit is one extended metaphor which creates an unconventional comparison in between two really dissimilar things. A Petrarchan conceit is a hyperbolic comparison whereby the lover is contrasted to a cool physical object favor sun, moon, diamonds, etc.