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The Sun Rising - John Donne

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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 shoulds't 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 th'Indias of spice and mine

Be where thou left'st 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's all states, and all princes, I;

Nothing else is.

Princes do but play us; compared 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.




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I found it rather boring

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

usually i love poetry like this. but as i read the second stanza as i got to the third stanza the poem became predictable. the poem is beautifully woven and crisply weaved as there can be for a poem but it read like a shoelace on a shoe cliche'...it is an astute unkeen obsergvation by me. i still enjoyed nevertheless...



Larsen M. Callirhoe

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Hi Victor, Thank you for finding this and posting it with a link to the commentary. I like this intricate and passionate Alba, I find nothing boring about it. Donne captures the passion of a young man in love and instead of comparing his lady love to a rose as so many millions of poets have done, he chooses the sun and then reverses the comparision whereby the sun, the source of all energy, pales in comparison to his lady. I realize the language is archaic but it was the language of the day and I think it contributes to the musicality of the piece. It is predictible, as predictible as any poem about 2 lovers in the height of their passion.


The form is simple yet complicated. Once is fairly easy but to repeat the frame 3 times, not so much. The structure of this poem is:

  1. Stanzaic, 3 decastich stanzas
  2. Metric, primarily pentameter except the first 2 lines. L1 & L2 are in reality hemistiches and could be placed on one line making up a single pentameter line but broken into 2 lines, L1 is trimeter and L2 is bimeter .
  3. Rhymed, abbacdcdee.

I think this a great example of the Alba and have linked the poem to my explanation of the genre. Thanks again.




~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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