Summary & Analysis of “The Sun Rising” by John Donne

Text of the Poem | The Sun Rising by John Donne

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 school boys 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 th’ 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’s all states, and all princes, I,

Nothing else is.

Princes do but play us; compared to this,

All honor’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 center is, these walls, thy sphere.


In this article, you will learn about the introduction to the poem The Sun Rising / The Sunne Rising, introduction to the poet John Donne, Rhyme Scheme of the poem, and stanza wise summary of the poem.


Introduction to the Poet John Donne

John Donne was an outstanding English poet, born in a Roman Catholic family and later in 1590s converted to Anglicanism. He was also very famous for his sermons and he also played his role as a Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. He went to Oxford University at the age of 11 where he got an education for three years, but took no degree. He studied law at Lincoln’s Inn, London, in 1592, and he was sounded fated for a diplomatic profession.

The writing style of John Donne was different from the other poets of his age. In his poetry there is a sudden flight from material to spiritual sphere, there is individualism, search for learning, it is also full of wit and conceits. His work is a dramatic departure from traditional verse style. Because of his style powerful spiritual Dryden, Johnsons, and Dowden referred John Donne a Metaphysical poet.

John Donne as a Metaphysical Poet

Metaphysical poetry is a poetry that is not worldly or common but it goes beyond the physical is a very intellectual form of poetry as it explores the spiritual world. The main theme of Donne’s metaphysical poetry is philosophical and the main subjects of Donne’s poetry is love, religion, God, beauty and faith. Metaphysical poetry took its birth at the age of Renaissance and John Donne is the most prominent among the metaphysical poets. He is widelyconsidered the founder and father of metaphysical poetry. The term Metaphysical poetry was later created and popularized in eighteen century by Samuel Johnsons. He used the term in his book “Lives of the most eminent English poets”, which is a critical appraisal work consist of biographies of 52 poets.

Introduction to John Donne’s Poem The Sun Rising

John Donne’s poem “The Sun Rising” originally its spelling is “The Sunne Rising” is a metaphysical love poem published in 1633. The poem is consist of thirty lines and three stanzas, and full of metaphysical imagery, conceits, and wits of John Donne. This is one of the most beautiful poems in which the speaker wants to change the rules of nature for lovers. He wants complete privacy that even the nature interruption is unbearable for him, in this way he gives more importance to love above nature and other practices of life.

Throughout the poem, the speaker is trying his level best to prove his love strong and beautiful among other things in the universe. The speaker develops the idea that his love is powerful and all the universe exist within his love. The speaker personify the sun by insulting words “busy old fool”, because he wants to give more power and strength to his love. The sun also shows passing of time, so the poet is insulting the sun that love is not in your control. Instead of interrupting lovers go and call the people arguably less important for instant, boys late for school, restful apprentices and farm workers.

Rhyme Scheme of the Poem The Sun Rising

 The Sun Rising is comprised of three regular stanzas; each ten lines long and follow a line-stress pattern of 4255445555.

Rhyme Scheme of the poem The Sunne Rising follows as:

  • Lines one, five, and six are metered in iambic tetrameter frorm
  • Line two metered is metered in dimeter form
  • Lines three, four, and seven, eight, nine, and ten are metered in pentameter form

The rhyme scheme of The Sun Rising in each stanza is as: ABBACDCDEE

Stanza Wise Summary of the Poem The Sun Rising

The poem The Sun Rising by John Donne is comprised of three stanzas. Explanation of each stanza is given below.

Explanation of First Stanza

The poem sets in the speaker’s bedroom where the sun interrupts the privacy of the poet and his love, so there is a conflict between the speaker, his lover and the sun. The speaker personifies the sun as a “busy old fool” who has no rule in front of some authority. The sun is initially insulted before being challenged. The sun visits the bedchamber of the poet and his beloved, and that is unmannered and foolish thing to interrupts lovers privacy. At the age of Donne “you” was used in the formal and polite way while “thou and thee” was used for calling someone in an informal manner.

The speaker by calling the sun thou means that the sun is an inferior being. In the third and fourth lines the speaker is asking a rhetoric question, in actual the speaker is not interested to know about his answer. Instead, he wants to tell the sun that do not interfere in the affairs of lovers, bother lovers in their bedroom is unruly. Then the speaker says that its not possible for lovers to go according to your motion, because love is beyond limits and barriers. Go and call the people whose works are not much important, you need to wake up late school boys, huntsman and farmers to go for work. The speaker is further describing powers of love and says that love is beyond time, weather, place and time of year. It never changes, it never affected by the division of clocks.

Explanation of Second Stanza

In the second stanza of The Sun Rising poet is again asking a rhetoric question, he addresses the sun that what make you that your light is so awesome. All it takes to me is a blink of an eye and can easily fade your shine in the clouds in seconds just by closing his eyes but I don’t want to waste my time by doing that. The speaker doesn’t want to close his eyes because in that way he will also miss the beautiful sight of his beloved. Now go and come and come the next day late with the news of kings and queens, the news about the Indian spices, and all the other beautiful things of the world.

At the end of the second stanza the speaker is of the view that all the riches, beauties and specialties of the world lie beside him on his bed. It means that the speaker is of the opinion that his beloved is most precious among worldly things and his love is more powerful than all the powers of the world.

Explanation of Third/Last Stanza

In the last stanza of the poem the speaker continue parsing his beloved, he says my beloved is the whole world to me. The speaker says that when we are together we find ourselves so rich and happy that we needs nothing else. “She is all states, and all prices I” means that they feel very satisfied and happy in one another company. He considers his beloved the whole world in the same way he considers himself a king because he has the possession of his beloved. His beloved is more important for him and all the honors and riches of the world is nothing for him. The speaker says that we don’t need wealth or gold, which Alchemist claims to make from junk metal.

“Thou, sun, art, half as happy as we”

The speaker says that the sun is not happy because he is alone so that he is half happy. At the end of the last stanza the tone of the speaker becomes companionate, he says that you are now old but it is still your duty to keep the earth warm. He befriend the sun and invite the sun to his bedroom; the speaker says that if you shine over us, you will shine over every part of the world, because his bedroom is the center of the whole universe.