Commentary on The Sunne Rising

The first stanza

The whole of The Sunne Rising is a far-fetched apostrophe to the sun, which is personified quite disrespectfully. Donne calls it ‘Busie old foole' and ‘Sawcy pedantique wretch'.

Conventionally, love poetry is aware of the seasons, particularly Spring, and the seasons are, of course, defined by the sun. Donne wants to reverse this. The lovers should define their own seasons and the sun should keep out of the business. Rather, it should do fairly ordinary, trivial things like ‘chide/ Late schoole boyes' and other people who need to get up in good time.

The second stanza

Having established in his mockery of the sun the lovers' own timekeeping, Donne then gives the sun a job that would benefit the lovers. The sun can tour the earth and report back if there is anything of value or of royalty that is not already here in the lovers' bedroom, that is to say, in each other.

The third stanza

The expectation is that the sun won't have found a single thing. ‘All right,' says the poet. ‘Just stay here and warm us.' Donne proclaims that the sun will then be everywhere, since the lovers' world is a complete world of its own.

Investigating The Sunne Rising
  • Donne is making fun of the sun:
    • Pick out words and phrases which suggest this
    • What is the actual season in which this was written, do you think?
    • What is the geography of the lovers' world?
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