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For The Love Of The Sun

2307 words - 10 pages

John Donne was one of the most influential poets of the seventeenth century. His often comical poems contain intricate dual meanings and his religious (divine) poetry is convincing and beautiful. Andrew Marvell also wrote during the same period as John Donne and the two worked on similar important matters concerning humanity throughout their careers. Both are classified as metaphysical poets, meaning the poetry employs paradoxes, and is “highly intellectualized, marked by bold and ingenious conceits,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Donne’s “The Sun Rising” and Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” are both based on a similar metaphysical principle and achieve a coherent response ...view middle of the document...

Both poets make bold statements in addressing the authority figure of the sun, or more specifically, time. Through directly naming who is in power, the subjects have already begun to diminish the influence that time holds over the lovers. The language that Donne uses, displayed when the subject calls the sun a “saucy pedantic wretch,” differs from that of Marvell, whose subject displays more respect for the authority of time, suggesting that “yonder all before us lie/vast deserts of eternity.” Despite the respect that Marvell demonstrates, the subject of “To His Coy Mistress” still believes that through love, defeating time is possible, shown in the last portion of the poem, stating, “let us roll all our strength, and all/our sweetness … thus, though we cannot make our sun/stand still, yet we will make him run.”
Donne’s subject appears to be completely satisfied with his relationship. Donne’s speaker states, “thou sun art half as happy as we,” and therefore the speaker longs for time to stand still so he can remain in bed with his lover. By the conclusion of the poem, the bedroom that the two lovers are in has become the world and it is the sun’s job to revolve around them. The love expressed by Donne in “The Sun Rising” is exaggerated and excessive, which lends to the dual meaning that Donne’s poetry often explores.
“The Sun Rising” is an example of Donne’s duality that is frequently written into his work. While describing love that is seemingly perfect, Donne paradoxically argues the exact opposite. Through Donne’s description of the lovers’ bedroom becoming the world (“this bed thy centre is, these walls, thy sphere,”), he insinuates that in order for the love to survive, there must be a break in the circle. Donne constantly argues against love and time that is circular, insisting that there must be an imbalance in order for sexual intimacy not to become exhausting and everlasting.
Donne makes a similar argument in “The Good Morrow,” when he states, “love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.” While “The Good Morrow” is another example of Donne’s exquisite love poetry, a similar paradox containing messages about time and perfect love is an underlying theme. Donne cleverly uses the word “die” with the dual purpose of physical death and sexual orgasm, ultimately achieving a meaning that while perfect love is attractive, it is exhausting and needs to “slacken.” An imbalance in power is necessary to progress the relationship. This progression is also fundamental in “The Sun Rising.” Although the poem appears to end with the lovers creating their own kingdom, it paradoxically ends in sexual frustration.
“The Sun Rising” takes this concept to a higher level than “The Good Morrow” does. Not only does Donne argue that perfect love is not without consequence, he debates that authority has consumed the relationship. By arguing Donne’s initial line, “busy old fool, unruly sun,” he is stating that the sun cannot be ruled. ...

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