John Donne’s “The Sun Rising”

John Donne’s “The Sun Rising” exemplifies the bliss of genuine love. Donne exhibits his characteristic style here by beginning the poem in his abrupt and dramatic style .As in Andrew Marvell’s “To his Coy Mistress” he endeavours to win over Time and Space. He belittles the Sun, that is the centre of the solar system and the forerunner of days and nights as ” BUSY old fool, unruly Sun. The Sun comes across as the tribal chief imposing his whims and fancies on the members of the tribe. Why do the lovers have to constrain themselves to the time-bound rules and regulations of the Sun. The phrase ‘lovers’ seasons’ point to the fact the lovers have seasons of their own, that pertains to individual choice. He may go about his trivial mechanical routine of waking up ‘late school boys’ and apprentices who have developed an aversion to work. The country ants and courtiers may buckle under his pressures. He is termed a “Saucy pedantic wretch”-unworthy in temperament, in show and in action respectively. Love is above seasons and climates. Hour, minutes and seconds are depicted as the rags worn by Time.

The Sun is bound by the illusion that his ever-stinging rays are powerful and command attention. They can be shunned of in an instant by the trivial act of just shutting the poet’s eyes. Nevertheless ,he would not do that lest he loses sight of his beloved. He affirms that the sparkle in his beloved’s eyes are ample to bedazzle the Sun. As the Sun traverses the whole world, he can adjudge whether the lady is more precious than the East and West Indies. During the times of Donne, the East Indies and West Indies were the abode of invaluable gems, gold and spices. As the poet’s lady love comprises in her all the kingdoms on the earth, and since he is her Master, the poet is richer, therefore, than any other king on the Earth. Therefore, as the Sun rules over time, the poet endeavours to reign spatially. In Platonic overtones, the poet proposes that the poet and his lady are the souls or very archetypes of kings and states. Furthermore, they also constitute the world embracing all its imperfections. Thereby, their existence is a pervasive truth nobody can deny. All the rest are just cheap imitations. The honour that they embody is the highest paradigm ,the rest of the world can only mimic. All material prospects of the world are sheer ‘alchemy’ for the poet.” Alchemy’ is a science according to which chemists in the Middle ages rendered base metals into gold. Therefore, Donne signifies that all other material aspects appear counterfeit before their genuine love. The poet utilizes hyperboles to exaggerate their persistent use by the Petrarchan sonneteers.

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Since the lovers constitute the world and the Sun’s duty is to illuminate the earth. It is enough that he warms the lovers. He responsibilities are considerably minimized and the Sun is rendered atleast half-as happy as the lovers themselves, which in itself is a great deal. The final line:” This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere” refers to the Ptolemaic System of Astronomy. According to the Egyptain astronomer,the earth occupied the centre of the universe, and other planets like the sun and the moon revolved around it, each attached to a sphere. Therefore, if the lovers stand at the centre, in position of the earth, and the four walls function like the spheres to which the sun is attached. Thus John donne’s quaint humour comes across revealing an erudite senslibility. A.J.Wyatt asserts: “It is the wit of a an intensely passionate ,well-stocked mind ,which sees parallels in everything for its subject, which deepens the object of its contemplation by relating it as widely as possible to the full life.”

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