The Immortal Poets Society discussion

John Donne > The Sun Rising

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message 1: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices,
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long;
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, All here in one bed lay.

She's all states, and all princes, I,
Nothing else is.
Princes do but play us; compared to this,
All honor's mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world's contracted thus.
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

message 2: by Richard (last edited Feb 06, 2017 09:37PM) (new)

Richard | 1 comments I think the motif of the sun as an entity who pries into private doings is at least as old as Greek mythology, if not older.

This reminds me of the scene in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet where the married couple do not want to part in spite of the fact that it is morning. (Juliet says, "It was the nightingale, not the lark...")

I might be wrong, but I think there's also a scene in The Tudors where Anne Boleyn wakes up and grumbles at the sun for being too intrusive.

message 3: by Jonathan (last edited Feb 06, 2017 10:02PM) (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
Richard wrote: "This reminds me of the scene in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet where the married couple do not want to part in spite of the fact that it is morning. "

Yeah, this poem reminds me of that scene too, now that you mention it. This is not just a motif through the ages, but I am seeing it throughout Donne's works (see "Break of Day") as well. I am a night owl, so I am not so fond of the "busy old fool" myself.

message 4: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Moran | 95 comments Mod
This is somewhat of a comical poem, but I think it has a message as well. It is humorous how the speaker addresses the sun as a "busy old fool" (1), and a "saucy pedantic wretch" (5). The form of the poem is an apostrophe to the sun. I suppose this adds to the humor. Perhaps, Donne is intending to play on the fact that past cultures worshipped and prayed to the sun. The speaker of this poem is rebuking, mocking, and then taunting the sun.

The speaker is using his animosity towards the sun to tell how wonderfully he thinks of his lover. He could eclipse the sun beams by simply blinking, but he doesn't want to stop looking at his lover for so long (13-14). He challenges the sun to see if the India's spices and mine's are "where thou left'st them", or does the speaker have them with him in his bed (17-18). The sun is only half as happy as him and his lover (25).

The speaker finally realizes his bed is the center of the sun and his walls the outer limits (30). This another one of his conceits. How could his bed be the center of the sun? This is what Donne is known for.

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