Close Reading: John Donne's "The Sun Rising"

Topics: Metaphysical poets, John Donne, Poetry Pages: 9 (2989 words) Published: November 20, 2011
Depto. de Lenguas Modernas
Profesorado de Inglés
English Literature

Close Reading
“The Sun Rising” By John Donne
Student: SALADINO, Luciana Andrea
Reg #: 15776/06

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 to-morrow late tell me,
    Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
    Be where thou left'st 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 is all states, and all princes I ;
        Nothing else is ;
Princes do but play us ; compared to this,
All honour'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.

John Donne: a metaphysical poet.

The metaphysical poet and clergyman John Donne was one of the most influential poets of the Renaissance. He was born London in 1572 to a prosperous Roman Catholic family during a time when anti-Catholic sentiment was rising in England. His father, John Donne, was a merchant who died when the poet was only four years old and his mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of and playwright and a relative of Sir Thomas More. He received a strong religious upbringing until his enrollment at the University of Oxford at the age of eleven. After only three years at Oxford it is believed that he transferred to the University of Cambridge for another three years of study, never obtaining a degree at either college.

Donne secretly married Anne More in 1601.Ann More was Sir Thomas Egerton's niece. He was one of the highest officials at Queen Elizabeth's court and Donne had been appointed his private secretary. As a result Donne was relieved from his position as a public officer and he was imprisoned for his amorous actions. He later wrote about his experience in poetry, "John Donne - Ann Donne - Undone."

Donne continued to live in London for the next few years working as counsel for the anti-Catholic pamphleteer, Thomas Morton from 1604 to 1607. It is also during this time that Donne began his writing with Divine Poems in 1607 and Biathanatos in 1608, later published after his death, in 1644. His love poems correspond roughly to the early period of his career. His poetry carries very particular traits for it abandons the rigid Elizabethan conventions, based on Petrarchism, improved with images taken from the field of earthly experience. “The Sun Rising”, the poem that is going to be analyzed, is one of his most famous poems.

Donne's next work, Pseudo-Martyr, which was published in 1610, won him favor with the king. The prose work was a treatise that said Catholics could swear allegiance to King James the first without renouncing the pope. In 1615 John became a priest of the Anglican church and began giving his now famous sermons. Later that same year, he optioned the position of royal chaplain. St. Paul's Cathedral appointed him Dean in 1621, a position he held for ten years. Just as Donne's fortunes seemed to be improving, Anne Donne died, on 15 August, 1617, after giving birth to their twelfth child. Struck by grief, Donne wrote the...
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