HSC Notes: 2 Unit Related English:
The Sunne Rising
Busie olde foole, unruly Sunne;
Why dost thou thus,
Through windowes, and through curtaines call on us?
Must to they motions lovers seasons run?
Sawcy pedantique wretch, goe chide
Late schoole boyes, and sowre prentices,
Goe tell Court-huntsmen, that the King will ride,
Call countrey ands to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clyme,
Nor houres, dayes, months, which are the rags of time.
Thy beames, so reverend, and strong
Why shouldst thou thinke?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a winke,
But that I would not lose her sight so long:
If her eyes have not blinded thine
Looke, and tomorrow late, tell mee,
Whether both the India's of spice and Myne
Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with mee.
Aske for those Kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
And thou shalt heare, All here in one bed lay.
She'is all States, and all Princes, I,
Nothing else is;
Princes doe but play us; compar'd to this,
All honor's mimique; All wealth alchimie,
Thou sunne art halfe as happy'as wee,
In that the world's contracted thus;
Thine ages askes ease, and since thy duties bee
To warme the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art every where;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy spheare.
Through the Poem
- unruly Sunne - the poet has been woken
by the Sun. Donne shocks from the start -
the first line conveys arrogance and rudeness,
but it is directed at the Sun.
- sowre - bad-tempered. In these few lines
Donne puts the sun in its place - its job is
with the boring, bad-tempered, ordinary people,
not with the lovers. Note that the lovers are
already at a celestial level at this stage - they
are above the "countrey ants" the poet
- There is a change of attitude in this stanza.
Wheres in stanza 1 Donne was annoyed and arrogant,
now he gets insulting and grandiose. He attacks the
popular notion of the strong, powerful sunshine by
pointing out that he can cut the Sun out of his
life merely by closing his eyes.
- However, even with this arrogance, he is forced to
admit that without the Sun, he would not be able
to see his lover. And here his attitude begins to
change again - through the rest of the stanza it
becomes less antagonistic towards the Sun and more
complimentary to his lover and their situation
- ...and tomorrow late... - a very unsubtle
hint that the Sun gets up too early.
- the India's of Spice and Myne - ie, the
East and West Indias. This is the beginning of a
conceit that lasts the rest of the poem - Donne and
his lover, and the room they are in, expand to become
the whole world - at least, they have by the last
stanza. In these two lines Donne says his lover is the
East and West Indias - in Donne's day, the source of
the world's most precious materials: spices, metals, and
- The conceit continues. The first two lines imply that
the lovers are every country, every where. There is
also "conqueror / conquered" imagery here - where the
Prince has completely control of his country, and the
country submits to him.
- Princes doe but play us...All wealth alchimie -
Everything is false, apart from Donne and his lover.
- Thine age askes ease... - the tone is arrogant
but playful. Donne decides that the Sun must be tired
continually journeying around the world - and since the
rest of the world is false, there's really no need to.
To illuminate the only true, real world, the Sun need
only shine in the room containing Donne and his lover.
- Direct address is used, as is common in Donne poetry,
in the first stanza.
- Conceits used:
- Lover's bedroom becomes the world: This bed thy
center is, these walls, thy spheare
Imagery and Learning
- India's of Spice and Myne
- Use of Sun-related imagery
- Reuses the notion of "Hundreds of Petrachan and
Elizabethan poems" that the "Sun is the touchstone
of ecstatic tribute"
- "The exaggeration of language mimics the assurance of
- "Every insult to the Sun is a compliment to his mistress."
- Note the movement of the poem. In Stanza 1, Love and
the Sun are separate. By Stanza 3, Donne has joined the
two - love and the Sun are one and the same. The poem
also becomes more intellectual as it advances - possibly
as the speaker and his lover wake up! However, this
"intellectuality" also, ironically, takes the poem from
the plausible to the ridiculous. A simple way to examine
the movement of this poem is to examine the first lines
of each stanza.
- Busie olde foole, unruly Sunne
- Thy beames, so reverend and strong,
Why should'st thou thinke?
- She'is all States, and all Princes, I
- Note the constant use of Sun-related imagery: "Eclipse
and cloud" in stanza 2, "these walls, thy spheare" in
Stanza 3. The "spheare" is significant - circles and
spheares were considered the perfect shapes. By the
last word of the last stanza, Donne, his love, and the
Sun are united.
- There is a very sensual aspect to this poem: the glow of
the sun, the extremes of conceit, perhaps an element of
a sexual boast with "All here in one bed lay" in stanza 2.
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