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The poem dismantles itself through the inherent contradictions of the persona's rhetoric, leaving the reader unconvinced that language permits love to transcend the outside world. In the first stanza of "The Sun Rising," Donne's persona creates several binary oppositions that indicate the poem's ultimate but unsuccessful argument: Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run? As for the former, the persona objects to the sun's intrusion "Through windows" and "through curtains.

And if the "Busy [and] unruly" sun permeates these modes of exclusion it will undermine his desired confinement, devitalizing his love as it intrudes upon his room. His reasoning leads into the other significant opposition of the poem's introduction: The "lovers' seasons" are placed against the sun's seasons, and the persona's disputatious tone suggests his efforts to subordinate everyday, natural motions to ceaseless love.

Donne: § Paradoxes, Problems and other Prose Writings. | رفـعـت رفـيـق الـعـرعـيـر

All in all, the introductory stanza of "The Sun Rising" reveals the persona's motive to engage in mutual love within a confined realm that is free from the time constraints of the physical universe. While in the first stanza the persona declares the physical world's inferiority to love, he also suggests the social sphere's necessary absence from his microcosm. Indeed, the sun is commanded to seek these individuals because its search will render the persona free from its "motions. However, the persuasive language of the first stanza begins to break down early in the second stanza, as the persona seems to forget the love ideals that he is seeking.

By closing his eyes, he excludes the external world from his internal world of love.

However, readers cannot be convinced that the persona continues to favor or, can continue to favor the ideal of love's eternity. The assertion "so long" at the end of line fourteen demonstrates that he is unable to create a language that is independent from the physical world.

His inside sphere and the outside world have a "tomorrow late" and a "yesterday," and through admitting this the persona evinces the inability of rhetoric to transcend the physical, momentary world and to exist apart from external influence The last two lines of the second stanza and the first two lines of the third stanza continue to manifest the persona's language dismantling itself. Whereas earlier the persona commands the sun to leave because he wishes to live with his lover uninfluenced by time which, as discussed, is an unsuccessful endeavor and to remain uninterrupted by the outside, social world, here the poet claims that the social sphere is in his bed.

John Donne

Indeed, the persona follows the putative seventeenth-century social paradigm of female inferiority when he claims that his lover is territory while he is the prince of that territory. Again, he is unable to utilize a language that can transcend the external world; in this instance, a dominant social ideology pervades his rhetoric, and his world of love cannot escape the outside structure once again.


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Before the third stanza begins, two of the binary oppositions that the persona establishes in the first stanza have broken down. While he attempts to engage in a convincing discourse on the potency of love, the persona's rhetorical attachments to eternity and to social exclusion work within governing structures that he is unable to avoid; therefore, his argument for these ideals is not firmly grounded.

He endeavors to use language in order to assert love's superiority to the external world, but by acknowledging time limitations and the social sphere he ultimately supports the structures that he hopes to undermine.

John Donne: English Poet and Cleric

The last stanza of "The Sun Rising" consummates the destruction of his attempt. However, this idea is dismantled when the persona summons everything in the external world to his room: Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere; This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere. As noted earlier, he claims that love knows no time and exists independent from external influence. Through this assertion, the persona confines himself and his lover willingly, expelling the sun and rejecting the cultural sphere with the notion that his love surpasses these aspects of the physical world.

Donne: § 12. Paradoxes, Problems and other Prose Writings.

Yet the buttress of his final argument, which he presents syllogistically, is the assumption that his microcosmic world of love is the whole world. In lines twenty-seven and twenty-eight the persona reasons that since the sun is obligated to illuminate the world, it must shine on him and his lover; thus, he thinks that his microcosm is everything. His bed, he asserts in the final line, is the center of the universe; his walls are its borders.

And this is their chief interest. The relation of Donne to Elizabethan poetry might, with some justice, be compared with that of Michael Angelo to earlier Florentine sculpture, admitting that, both as man and artist, he falls far short of the great Italian. It cannot be said of Donne, as of Milton, that everything, even what is evil, turns to beauty in his hands. Beauty, with him, is never the paramount consideration.

If beauty comes to Donne, it comes as to the alchemist who.


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From the flow of impassioned, paradoxical argument, there will suddenly flower an image or a line of the rarest and most entrancing beauty. But the tenor of his poetry is witty, passionate, weighty and moving; never, for long, simply beautiful; not infrequently bizarre; at times even repellent.

"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."

In happy conceit and movement, they sometimes excelled him, though it is only in an occasional lyric by Marvell or Rochester that one detects the same weight of passion behind the fantastic conceit and paradoxical reasoning. The influence of both Donne and Jonson acted beneficially in counteracting the tendency of Elizabethan poetry towards fluency and facility. If Donne somewhat lowered the ethical and ideal tone of love poetry, and blighted the delicate bloom of Elizabethan song, he gave it a sincerer and more passionate quality.

He made love poetry less of a musical echo of Desportes.

Renaissance Quarterly

In his hands, English poetry became less Italianate, more sincere, more condensed and pregnant in thought and feeling. He is not much less averse to the display of erudition, though he managed it more artfully, or to the interweaving of argument with poetry. But Milton had a far less keen and restless intellect than Donne; his central convictions were more firmly held; he was less conscious of the elements of contradiction which they contained; his life moved forward on simpler and more consistent lines. Yet there are subtle qualities of vision, rare intensities of feeling, surprising felicities of expression, in the troubled poetry of Donne that one would not part with altogether even for the majestic strain of his great successor.

Paradoxes, Problems and other Prose Writings. His Position and Influence. If beauty comes to Donne, it comes as to the alchemist who glorifies his pregnant pot, If by the way to him befall Some odoriferous thing, or medicinal.