Study Guide

The Sun Rising Love

By John Donne

Love

Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run? (4)

It's a rhetorical question, but maybe one that we should try to answer: does love have to answer to the demands of time? Or does it last forever, no matter how old and wrinkly you get.

Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time. (9-10)

The speaker thinks that love will always stay the same, that nothing in the outside world can affect love. We're sure he'd like to believe that, but is that really true? Donne also commonly uses lists when he wants to make a point, and we must say—it's a pretty effective device.

      Thy beams, so reverent and strong
      Why shouldst thou think?
I could cloud and eclipse them with a wink
But that I would not lose her sight so long (11-14)

Yeah, if you can really convince yourself that the sun just disappears when you wink, you're ego-tripping. But hey, it's all out of love, as line 14 reminds us. And it also calls to mind those other philosophers of love, Aerosmith: "I don't want to close my eyes…."

Nothing else is. (22)

The shortness of the line and the reversed stress pattern make this line hit the reader hard. And it should. Because it's really weird. He's so in love that literally nothing else exists.

This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere. (30)

FYI, the sun is approximately 93 million miles from the earth. So it probably doesn't literally sit ten feet away from the speaker's bed. Not that we're in to bursting bubbles or anything.

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