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The Sun Rising

The Sun Rising

by John Donne

Analysis: Allusions

When poets refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

People References:

  • Line 7 refers to a king riding out on a hunt, giving a shout-out to the reigning King James, who was known as a sportsman.

Places References:

  • The "Indias of spice and mine" in line 17 refer to India in Asia, famed as a trade place of exotic goods such as spices; and to the "newly" discovered West Indies, or Caribbean Islands, which were thought to be rich in precious metals.

Science References:

  • Donne refers to new beliefs about the way light beams work and how people see (11), the still prevalent (though increasingly discredited) belief in alchemy—turning metals into gold through sorcery or science—and the view of the universe as a set of concentric circles with the earth as the center (30).

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