King Henry VIII asks the Pope for an annulment (cancellation) of his marriage because his wife has not given him a male heir to the throne. The Pope says no. Because of this, Henry breaks away from the Catholic Church and forms the Anglican Church, or Church of England.
English Civil War is fought between Protestants, who control Parliament, and Catholics loyal to the Catholic king, Charles I. The Protestants win, but after their leader, Oliver Cromwell, dies, and a Catholic king returns to the throne.
Protestants in Parliament get William of Orange and his wife Mary to invade England. They remove the Catholic king, James II, and rule England together.
James II flees to Ireland, where he is supported. English forces follow him and defeat him. Several harsh economic laws—the Penal Laws-- are passed. These laws are designed to financially punish Ireland for supporting James.
Donne refuses to acknowledge Henry VIII as the head of the Church. Because of this, he does not get a degree from school.
Donne’s brother dies in prison after giving sanctuary (a safe place to stay) to a Catholic priest in 1593. Sometime during this decade, Donne converts to Anglicanism.
During his life, Donne is known for his sermons, but throughout his private life, he writes very personal, unconventional poetry. His style, including long metaphors called conceits, is now known as Metaphysical poetry.
Jonathan Swift writes “A Modest Proposal,” a satirical attack on the treatment of poor people in Ireland by the English government.
The Cavalier poets took inspiration from Classical (Greek and Roman) poetry, and used conventional, traditional structure for their poems. Their poems were usually about less serious topics.
Like the Cavalier poets, Neoclassical writers and artists tried to imitate Classical (Greek and Roman) forms of writing and art. Jonathan Swift, a satirist influenced by the Roman writers Horace and Juvenal, was a Neoclassical writer.