Critical Appreciation of “The Sun Rising” By John Donne

            Like all the other poems, “The Sun Rising” is also a typical love poem penned by John Donne. It has the freshness of ideas and the power to invigorate the nerves of the lovers.  Once again, John Donne stresses the idea of physical as well as spiritual side of love. It expresses the true feelings of a lover who is ready to make love with his beloved and is forced to make love because he is not ready to shun it. The underlying idea of the poem under discussion is: “Love is, no doubt, above the sense of time and a great reality that cannot be denied. Without any doubt, it is the reality that is beyond the limits of time and space. It is in fact the fact that is eternal.”
            The first stanza opens in a mocking tone which is both rude and arrogant. Donne places the lovers on a celestial plane and personifies the sun. He calls the sun a “busy old fool”and talks to the sun in a conversational manner. He also ridicules the sun as a “saucy pedantic wretch” and calls in question the right of sun to peep through windows and curtains of a lover’s bed room. The rising sun is actually signaling morning and the end of their meeting. He suggests the sun to do some other duties rather than disturb them.  He suggests the sun to do and scold the school boys who are late for their school, to go and inform the courtier-hunters so that they may inform the king to go out for hunting this morning and to tell the aunts to go about to collect their food.
                                    “Go chide
                                    Late school-boys, and sour prentices,
                                    Go tell court-huntsmen, that the king will ride,
                                    Call country aunts to harvest offices.”
            In the second stanza, the tone of the poet gets more aggressive and discourteous. He ruthlessly attacks the sun and tells the sun that the rays of the sun may be strong but only if he winks. But he does not want to wink because this winking of his eyes will deprive him of losing sight of his beloved. In this stanza, the poet very skillfully uses a conceit. He finds in his beloved all the fragrance and the gold of East and West Indies.
                                    “Look and to-morrow late tell me,
                                    Whether both th’Indias of spice and mine,
                                    Be where though left’st them, or lie here with me.”
In the third stanza, the speaker’s glorification of his love with his beloved reaches new heights. She, his lover, is “all states” and he is “all princes.” Here, he goes beyond the limits in praising his beloved. His beloved raises superior to all the Elizabethan sweet-hearts in-as-much as she is an exalted being. But in the next line he says: “Nothing else is” which fully conveys the importance of love which they held between them. It also shows valuelessness of all the other worldly things before their love. However, he finally invites the sun to shine on them. One may argue that the speaker is overdoing the glorification of his love. One may also argue that he is just so in love that he doesn’t want it to end. He does not want to have any connection with the passage of time. The entire world is a bedroom for the lovers. If the sun shines on them in that room, it shines everywhere. “Shine here on us and thou art everywhere.” Their love is a world all by itself. Love, as it is timeless, cannot be measured by the sun’s indications of the passage of time. It means lover’s seasons do not depend on the motions of the sun.
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rages of time.
In this respect, the speaker is exhibiting his love in spite of the existence of the sun as well as praising the richness of deep and close experience.

To sum up, Donne fully shows all his learning and metaphysical wit. He is delightfully outspokenand defiant. The tone in the beginning of the poem gets a start insulting the sun and calling it ‘unruly’ but he maintains the same tone throughout the poem. He conveys the idea that love is not under the control of the sun. The way he addresses the sun is matchless. This poem is remarkable and significant for Donne with tone which is aggravated and full of egotism. He is original in his approach toward both the aspects of love i.e. physical and spiritual.     (Words: 763)