The Sunne Rising By John Donne : Critical Appreciation

Introduction :

The Sunne Rising is a typical poem written by John Donne. The Poet expresses a lover’s vexation ( frustration) against Sun Rising. He ridicules the Sun. He says to Sun that it has no right to peep through windows and curtains of Lover’s bedroom.

Poet tells the supremacy of love which transcends time and space (which has no effect of time and space.) It knows “no seasons and no climes.” He presents his views about love in distinct words.

Central Idea of this Poem :

The central idea of this poem is the supremacy of love. Poet expresses a lover’s views against Sunne – Rising. He rebukes the Sun for its peeping through the windows and curtain of bedroom where Poet and his beloved are making love to each other.

He reminds the sun of its duty. It has no right to interfere in the atmosphere of lovers. Because, Love is beyond the time and space. It can not be effected by the scrap of time.

The lover advises the Sun to rest and retire from its duty. To the lover, his beloved is center of all happiness and riches of wealth. It should provide warmth in his bed- chamber which is the symbol of entire universe. Thus, Poet establish the supremacy of love rebuking or chiding the Sun.

Subject Matter :

First Part of Poem :

This poem is not a normal love poem. It is inspired by the poet’s love for his wife. In the opening lines, Poet rebukes the Sun. Because, it does not know the rule of love. He calls the Sun – Busy, old fool and unruly.

It is also called insolent, vain and hateful. Because, It peeps through the windows and curtains and wants to show its power.

Busy old fool, unruly sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?

The lover reminds its duty. The Sun must go and warn school boys who are late for school, alert lazy learners and call the court huntsman to attention that King will ride. He has no business to interfere the peaceful atmosphere of the Lovers.

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,

Poet says that Lovers are not governed by time and its scrap as season, hours, years etc. Their love is beyond the power of time.

Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Second Part of Poem :

The lover warns that the Sun should not pride or boast of its powerful rays. Indeed, The people of world regard the Sun with respect.

 Thy beams, so reverend and strong
Why shouldst thou think?

However, Love grants such strength to the lover that he can easily destroy the light of the Sun in a twining of an eye. But, He would not like to lose sight of his beloved even for a short time. The lover is surprised that the eyes of the Sun are not dazzled by the beauty of his beloved.

I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long;

He challenge the Sun to return tomorrow and tell him that His beloved is the most beautiful in all over world. It should inquire of the kings. The bed of lover contains all the wealth of happiness and all the riches of Earth.

Look, and tomorrow late, tell me,
         Whether both th’ Indias of spice and mine
         Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with me.

Third Part of Poem :

The lover and the beloved are compared to all the states and all the princes of the world.

   She’s all states, and all princes, I,
 Nothing else is.

Poet says again that Sun is not as happy as the lovers. For the lovers their bed-chamber is a paradise. To them, the riches of the world are contracted within the four walls of the bedroom.

  Thou, sun, art half as happy as we,
 In that the world’s contracted thus.

To the lover, his bedroom is the epitome (center) of the whole world and its walls are the sphere (entire universe).
The lover advises the Sun to rest for a while and retire from its duty.

It should shine alone in their bedroom which is symbol of entire universe. So, by shining in our bedroom you would be shining in the whole world.

Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.

A Successful love poem :

The Sunne Rising is one of the most successful love poems of John Donne. As a love poet, He deals with the physical side of it and spiritual side of it also. He presents a situation of married love. Two lovers in bedroom who refuse to get up when the Sun shines on them in morning.

The poet claims that Both lovers embody the world and the entire world is contracted into four walls of their bed room. It is the duty of the sun to warm the world but it can very well perform this task by warming their bedroom.

Full of metaphysical conceits :

This poem is full of metaphysical conceits. For example, The beloved is compared to both the Indias of spice and mine.

both th’ Indias of spice and mine

The lovers are compared to all states and all the princes of the world.

She’s all states, and all princes, I,
 Nothing else is.

Diction :

Donne was the father of metaphysical poetry. Diction of Donne is obscure with all the conceits. His language is bold and extravagant. For examples :

He chides the sun in a bold language, The Sun is “ Busy, old fool, unruly sunSaucy, pedantic, wretch.

Extravagant Fancy :

The poet uses extravagant fancy. He says that Both lovers are like states and princes. Princes only imitate them. All the world is contracted within the four walls of their bedroom.

If the Sun shines on them. It is a sense — shining everywhere — the bed becomes its center and the walls of the bedroom its sphere.

Conclusion :

The poem is remarkable for its boldness of thought and originality. In this poem, the lover rebukes Sun-rising because, It disturbs the lovers. Love is above the sense of time. It knows no hours, days and months. The whole world has contracted into lover’s bedroom.

Thus, The sun need not go round the Earth. It should pay a visit to the lover’s Bed-room and it would meet the whole world there. Finally, He permits the Sun to stay in his bedroom. In this way, He establishes the supremacy of Love.

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