The themes and stylistic content of John Donne’s The Sunne Rising

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John Donne’s “The Sunne Rising” is a deeply thoughtful love poem, rejoicing the satisfying union between two lovers, whom appear to ignore the claims of the outside world. Donne uses various themes and stylistic content within the poem to show his strong feelings towards his lover. The two lovers in the poem appear to be in the centre of a living and attractive world.

For a love poem, ‘The Sunne Rising’ begins with a very aggressive tone and high energy. From this we see the determination to win an argument with the sun and also in reality with the reader.

“Busie old foole, unruly Sunne,

Why dost thou thus,

Through windowes, and through curtaines call on us?”

From this strongly worded stanza, we can see that the lover shows no appreciation of the sun, and appears to be against nateur. From the manner of language used by Donne, it appears that that the lover is wide-awake, even though we are given the impression that he has just awoken. He is not tempted to leave his world which appears to be the room he is in.

One of the main themes of the poem is that lovers are victims of time,

“Must thy motions lovers seasons run?”

Donne shows that he feels that time should stand still when people make love as it obliterates all reality. When the sun rises, his night of passion must come to an end, which makes him angry with the sun.

Donne’s awareness of the reality outside the bedroom is shown by his choice of analogies when praising his lover,

“………………………………………tell mee

Whether both the India’s of spice and Myne

Be thou where thou leftst them, or lie here with mee.”

Rather than indulge in vague, abstract compliments he chooses exotic, precious commodities: these items are not merely of economic worth but show a vast world by being discovered and an appreciation of new wealth. Also, the highly confident “tell me”, used as an imperative, suggests that Donne is asking a question to which no answer is required. He does not want the sun to offer affirmative or negative, he merely asks that he observe the lover’s happiness

Although Donne refers to the sun as a nuisance, it is essential to their living,

“Thy dreames, so reverend, and strong”

It is ironic, because if the sun was to go away, he would be left in peace with his partner, however they would not be able to survive without the sun as it is an crucial part of life and they would surely die without it. The lover speaking in the poem may realise this, as he changes from insulting the sun, to complimenting it by saying that it’s rays are “reverend , and strong”. He describes his love for his partner to the sun as if to make it feel guilty for waking them and make it go away.

“The Sunne Rising is an aubade poem. Donne celebrates his fulfilled and happy love, he then goes on to talk about the two of them forming a world. Despite his claims to ignore the outer world, the poem suggests that he is reaching out for it, so that he can draw it into the room he is in so that he can show his happiness to everyone.


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