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"The Flea", a witty poem of seduction and conceit, taken from JohnDonne's "Songs and Sonets" is the poem that I have chosen to compareto "Song", another poem of John Donne's where he is passionatelypleading with his wife not to be disheartened about his departureabroad. Both poems which belong to " Songs and Sonets", written around thetime of the 16th century, show that their title suggests they are bothshort poems, following the traditional form of a sonnet, consisting offourteen lines. However, they are not "songs" in the conventionalsense we think of and none of them are written as a sonnet. In fact,Donne's poems were intended for circulation around his local pub,"Lincoln's Inn", where he could impress his male friends with hisbawdy poetic nature. " The Flea", emphatically rejects the Petrarchan tradition of lovepoetry, where the woman is seen as a goddess, an object of desireworth worshipping by a man. Instead, Donne wrote poems that saw theearthy reality of sexual relations between a man and woman. The poem,whose historical convention probably started with Ovid, shows that itwas common in Elizabethan times to envy a flea for its access to thefemale body. Donne throughout the poem makes references to the flea,presenting a conceit produced of wit, integrity and persuasion.The title, which presents the conceit, is in fact the structure of thepoem, the entire poem depends on this conceit. At first, this is apuzzling image to the reader, it seems bizarre and inappropriate. However, as the poem continues, Donne's argument does also, and we seehow reality is conveyed by the vivid imagery of the flea. Donne usesa three-part syllogism in this poem which he delivers in a matter-of-fact- tone:" It sucked me first, and now sucks theeAnd in this flea, our two bloods mingled be"Here Donne shows manipulation towards the woman. He reveals anattitude that is persuasive, but manipulative by saying that sincethey are one in the flea, they should make love anyway, seeing as theyare already joined. I question whether this is love, or lust? Donne presses on with his argument, he develops a series ofpersuasions to attempt his mistress into bed with him:" How little that thou deny'st me is."Here, Donne is again being manipulative; he is scornful and isappealing to her to see how desperate he is for her to agree. Byusing a triple structure, he is appealing to her knowledge and isshowing emphasis:" Tho

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