John Donne was born in 1572 to a London merchant and his wife. The characteristic elements of John Donne's poetry are plentiful. Donne was the leader of a style of poetry writing called "metaphysical poetry," which was popular near the end of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century. This writing has complex figures of speech with unusual verse forms, meters, puns, metaphors, imagery, and paradoxes. Nevertheless, Donne has amazing wordplay, often sexual or subtle. From reading his poetry, one may find a sense of formality, as he writes of clever (and sometimes shocking) logic. He uses sensible irony with often a cynic view towards human motives. In addition, Donne also introduced metaphors and exaggerations called "conceits," which is an extended metaphor that was popular during his time. The most successful poems are remarkable for their combination of passion and thought. Donne uses a wide range of language showing his emotional and sexual feelings, such as in "The Flea." However, one can also see that even though he makes plenty of sexual and emotional references, he also manages to combine this with intellectual and logical arguments, such as in the poem, "To His Mistress going to Bed." Many of his poems have distinct characteristics coming through, such as a persuasive argument. Aside from metaphors, Donne also uses similes and writes poems as if they were riddles, like in the poem, "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning." John Donne uses amazing poetic devices, style and form in his three main themes of metaphysical love, death, and religion.
Some of Donne's early works between 1590 and 1601 consisted of songs, sonnets, and love poems. His writings of "physical love" are love that is primarily based upon the presence of the partner, such as in "The Flea." Donne celebrates the physical side of love when he tries to convince his beloved to sleep with him. John Donne has written many poems with a love theme, often with an idealized view of sexual love.