Treasure Island

John Donne

(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631 / London, England)

The Sun Rising


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 schoolboys, 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 tomorrow late, tell me
Whether both the'Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst 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; compar'd 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 centre is, these walls, thy sphere.

Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2001

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  • Ian Fraser (12/2/2009 10:59:00 AM)

    The most famous love poem ever written? If not, surely one of the best. The first stanza is a whole glitter of famous phrases. Nothing again ever written has captured the pride, arrogance and wild delight of young love, a very naughty piece of writing, and of course utterly blasphemous; no wonder Donne renounced all his early secular writing when he entered the priesthood and how sensible he was not to destroy it. A must for anyone's top 100. (Report) Reply

  • Lara Feltham (6/7/2007 8:36:00 AM)

    its not really a very romantic poem it you look at it carefully though. its more about Donnes conflict with the Sun and how he scolds mother nature for interrupting his affairs, which in this case he would wish to prolong. he does seem to be very smitten with his lover- 'shes all states, and all princes i; nothing else is, ' but as is with Death, Be Not Proud, Donne revels in slandering things in life which we cannot control- death/ the rising of the sun, arguing that he CAN control them if he wishes to, 'i could eclipse and cloud them with a wink, ' initiating some sort of power struggle.
    As this is a conceit, which Donne has been described as 'a master of' there are two contrasting ideas- the idolization of his lover, and his contempt with the Sun. A conceit combines two dissimilar ideas into one single idea- Donne uses his passion for his lover as a means of arguing against the Sun.
    So although there is a romance present within the poems content, i would say the 'unruly sun' dominates. (Report) Reply

  • Fritha Glegg (4/5/2007 5:10:00 AM)

    I adore this poem cause I think it really shows his passion, and that passion is so heartfelt and all-consuming, that you can't not admire him for it.

    It's such a clever poem too, you really have to think and i think this makes it all the more romantic. (Report) Reply

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