The Sun Rising
This is a dramatic poem where the speaker and his lover are in bed together. The speaker personifies the sun, and is speaking to it throughout the poem. As the sunlight comes through the windows, the speaker tells the sun to leave them alone. He seems to feel that their life together is complete, and that the sun is being a nuisance. He then tells the sun that his lover is worth more than anything the sun can ever find outside their bedroom. It is a love poem of an unusual kind.
In this poem, composed in the form of a dramatic monologue, the poet lover is angered at the Sun and calls it names for disturbing the time him and his lover are spendong together. . He addresses the Sun as “busy old fool”. He calls it unruly because, by peeping in to the bedroom through windows and curtains it disturbs the lovers. The poet-lover tells the Sun that lovers’ seasons do not run to its motions. He advises the Sun to go and do such routine and dull jobs like chiding late-schoolboys and apprentices, waking up court-huntsmen and peasants.
The expression “country ants” is imagery. It refers to the peasants, drudging like ants. However, the poet and his lover are not like ‘them’, they are superior to all that is going on around them and they should not be disturbed. They get up with the Sun and toil the whole day, till sunset. Love knows no season, no climates. It is not affected by time. In this section of the poem we come across personification like “busy old fool” and “saucy pedantic wretch” to show the annoyance the poet has at this intruder.
The poet’s wit is apparent when he tells the Sun that he has no reason to think that his beams are “so reverend and strong”. The poet lover could eclipse and could the beams of the Sun with a wink. He does not do so because he does not wish to “loose her sight so long. ” This indicates that the love between the poet and his lover is so obsessive, so strong and has such potency that he does not even want to lose sight of her for her second. The Sun travels all over the world in twenty four hours. The poet asks the Sun to go round the world, see all Kings, come back tomorrow and say if
Donne uses hyperbole to exaggerate the importance of himself and his lover, “in one bed lay”- he is insinuating that all important elements of the world are there in the their bed and in their room. They are everything. To Donne, this moment with his love means everything and he describes it as such. The same imagery continues in the concluding verse of the poem where “She’s all States, and all Princes I”. The poet’s mistress is all States. She is the world. The Sun can shine over only half of the world at one time. The lovers, on the contrary, are the world.
It logically follows that the Sun is “half as happy as we”. When we come to this part of the poem we notice a shift in the mood of the poet. The Sun is no longer the “busy old fool” or the “saucy pedantic wretch” of the first verse or stanza. It is now an aged fellow in need of ease. The poet offers it the needed ease; the Sun’s duty now is warming the world. It warms only half of the world at a time. By shining on the lover’s bed it can shine over the whole world at a time. “Let the bed be the centre and the walls the sphere” of the Sun with this arrangement the aged Sun can do its duties with ease.
At the beginning of the poem the poet asked the Sun to go away from there. Now he invites the Sun to go round their bed and shine on them. He does not want to lose his lovers sigh for even a second- shows how much he loves her. The poet addresses the sun as a person and rebukes the sun because it has wakened him and his lover from their sleep. He demands to know why lovers should obey time. He also shows his dominance over the sun, calling it a ‘saucy pedantic wretch’ and tells the sun to bother other people instead such as late school boys or workers imploring or more time to sleep.
He tells the sun to find the royal court people and farmers to let them start their day instead of controlling the lovers, because time does not exist in love and unlike season or climate or sun, love doesn’t change. Hours, days and months are just silly, useless measures. The poet challenges the sun about its strength, that the sun isn’t is high and mighty because he can make it disappear by winking, except he doesn’t want to lose sight of his lover. He teases the sun that his lover’s eyes are so beautiful and bright that it can blind the sun.
He tells he sun to go to far away countries like India or stay because the entire world is with him in the bed. The sun can also find kings but he and his lover are so superior that even the kings will say the most important people are in his room, ‘all here in one bed lay’. The poet claims that his lover is ‘all states’ and in fact the whole world itself and he is the ‘prince’ that rules it, nothing else exists other than them. They are the celebrity, and even other princes want to mimic them.
He declares that honour and science are nothing compared to their love and that the sun is only half as happy as they are. He says the sun is old and so it should rest because its duty is to warm the world and since they are the world, the sun has completed its duty. Then, the poet cleverly turns the sun’s refusal to leave into a show of its generosity and by shining at them, it has centered itself upon the room of his love and so they are the sun, the center of the universe