The Sun Rising - John Donne


THE SUN RISING (relationships, time, limitations, control, restraint, ambiguity, tone) 

personifies the sun, undermining its control over day/night 

  • "busy old fool, unruly sun", "pedantic wretch" - undermining, dismissive tone, could be seen as insulting - annoyance at the sun, which is usually a symbol of life and new beginnings  

  • Challenges the troubadour poetry, where daybreak parts lovers - instead the speaker greets the sun undismayed and employs a teasing, boastful tone 

  • AO3/AO4: arguably jealous of the sun? Donne found himself at age 30 with neither prospects for employment nor adequate funds with which to support his household due to his secret marriage to Anne Donne in 1601.  

  • AO3 John Carey: suggests "how useless he felt in unemployment; how important he thought it to be integrated into the world and the court. The poem’s first word has jealousy and resentment in it, as well as contempt." 

imperatives, speaker takes on a controlling attitude, although comically impossible 

  • "go chide" 

  • "call" 

  • "go tell"  

  • however it still shines "through windows and through curtains" - time cannot be stopped by human construction, and in fact is controlled by "the rags of time" and "seasons" 

  • AO3ii: perhaps accepts/recognizes the sun's out of his control, recognition of the restraint despite his controlling, ordering attitude 

ocular imagery and hyperbole to empower love over controlling forces  

  • "thy beams...eclipse and cloud them in a wind" blinking and sleep can block the sun, child-like tone? 

  • "not lose sight of her so long is her eyes have not blinded thine" beauty and love overpowers the sun, whom the speaker undermines once again. She is capable of blinding the sun rather than vice versa, hyperbole gives her sublime and powerful traits 

shifts in 


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