John Donne: Poems

An Analysis of Donne’s “The Sun Rising” 12th Grade

John Donne addresses his poem “The Sun Rising” to the sun, but the theme of the poem is the joy of true love. The poet derives infinite joy by loving and by being loved. The poet’s wit and irony are here directed against the sun for trying to interfere in the lover’s happiness.

In the opening stanza, the sun is addressed as “busy, old fool” flashing his light into the lover’s bedroom, perhaps with the intention of waking up and parting them. It is unfair on his part to expect the lovers to act according to his movements. He may go about his trivial errands like pulling up ‘late school boys’ and lazy apprentices who hate to work. The country ants and courtiers may knuckle under his authority but not so the lovers. Love is above time, which is regulated by the sun. For lovers, seasons, hours and days have no meaning.

The argument against the sun is continued. The sun need not think that his light is dazzling and worthy of respect. If the poet closes his eyes, the sunlight is rendered dark. But he does not like to lose sight of his beloved by closing his eyes. In hyperbolic language he asks the sun if the eyes of his beloved are not brighter than sunlight. Gazing into her eyes, the sun may feel dazzled. Roaming over the whole world,...

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