“The Sun Rising” Paraphrase
John Donne’s poem “The Sun Rising” at first glance, may seem like a difficult piece to understand, but when sitting down to analyze it, taking the poem line by line and recognizing the many literary devices used makes the process much easier.
The poem begins with the narrator complaining about the sun. On that particular morning, he was woken up by the sun’s rays coming through the windows. He is frustrated that the sun is bothering him and that the sun’s rays are out of his control. Donne uses apostrophe when he addresses the sun as an old fool and a busybody and wonders why it had to come through his curtains and wake him up (lines 1 - 3). He demands to know, with a rhetoric question, why he and his lover must heed to what the sun wants, when they, as lovers, exist on a plane that knows no seasons nor time (line 4).
Again, he addresses the sun and uses personification when he calls it a “saucy pedantic wretch” and exclaims that it should go and bother others, at which point Donne introduces the use of parallel structure (“go chide” ... “go tell”). to go bother the late school boys and the bitter apprentices to get them to school and work. To go and tell the huntsmen of the court that the king is ready to go out for the day’s hunting (lines 5 - 7). Donne draws an illusion to an old story when he tell the sun to call the ants out to start gathering their food (line 8).
The love that he shares with this woman is something so perfect that it cannot be broken up the same way that the seasons can be. It is not something that can be restricted by climate and seasons, nor is it restricted by time itself. He uses the metaphor of the “rags of time” to show that while they are all parts of time, parts of time’s outfit, their love is in a different league all together and cannot be shed apart and lost as easily as dirty old rags can be (lines 9 - 10).
At this point in the poem, Donne’s use of anastrophe is apparent. Stanza two...