The Sun Rising

The Sun Rising

 by John Donne

               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.

Summary of The Sun Rising

  • Popularity of “The Sun Rising”: John Donne, a great English poet, wrote ‘The Sun Rising’ also known as ‘The Sunne Rising’. It was first published in 1633. The poem speaks about two lovers who are disturbed by the rising sun. It illustrates that the speaker does not want anyone to bother him while they are together.
  • “The Sun Rising” As a Representative of Love: The poem reflects the speaker’s boundless adoration for his lover. The poem begins when the speaker, lying in bed with his lady. He scolds the rising sun, asking why it is irritating them through curtains and windows. He asks the sun to go and bother those who start their work early in the morning. To him, it should not interfere with the speaker’s time with his lover. He also challenges the strong sparkling sunbeams by saying that he could eclipse them merely by closing his eyes. He compares his beloved to every country in the world as if she means a whole world to him. Thus, his whole world is compressed in that bedroom. Therefore, he commands the sun to do its job by keeping them warm.
  • Major Themes in “The Sun Rising”: Authority of love, nature, and God’s creation are the major themes of this poem. Throughout the poem, the speaker develops this idea that his love is grand that even the universe itself exists within their pure relationship. He considers himself as the ruler of the universe, and in doing so, he beautifully portrays the entire world into his small bedroom. He challenges the authority of the sun by claiming that it cannot exercise its power in the lover’s domain. To him, it should go away and disturb others. In the end, he commands the sun to warm them in their bed.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “The Sun Rising”

Literary devices are tools that the writers use to enhance the intended impact of their writing. They also enable the readers to interpret the writer’s message. Donne has also used some literary devices in this poem to make it superb. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been analyzed below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /oo / in ‘Busy old fool, unruly sun’ and the sound of /o/ in ‘Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime’.
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick successions. For example, the sound of /th/ in ‘Go tell court huntsmen that the king will ride’.
  3. Apostrophe: An apostrophe is a device used to call somebody or something from afar. Here, the poet has used an apostrophe to call the sun to express his feelings. For example, “Busy old fool, unruly sun.”
  4. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /t/ in “In that the worlds contracted thus” and the sound of /l/ in “Busy old fool, unruly sun.”
  5. Enjambment: It is defined as a thought in verse that does not come to an end at a line break; instead, it continues to the next line. For example,

“Whether both th’Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.”

  1. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “Busy old fool, unruly sun”, “Through windows, and through curtains call on us” and “This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.”
  2. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to non-human things. The poet has personified the sun throughout the poem.
  3. Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is a sentence that is posed to make the point clear. For example, “Why shouldst thou think?”, “Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?” and “Through windows, and through curtains call on us?”
  4. Symbolism: Symbolism is a use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings different from their literal meanings. Sun symbolizes powerlessness, whereas the room is the symbol of the universe.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “The Sun Rising”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. End Rhyme: End rhyme is used to make the stanza melodious. For example, “sun/run”, “clime/time”, “thus/us” and “think/wink.”
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABBACDCDEE rhyme scheme.
  3. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are three stanzas in this poem, with each having ten lines.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below are useful when describing someone’s beauty.

“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.”