The Sun Rising – John Donne!

The Sun Rising - Steve Howard
The Sun Rising – Steve Howard

One of my favourite poems is, ‘The Sun Rising’, by the Father of Metaphysical Poetry, John Donne. Many moons ago, in Art class, the lecturer asked us to read the poem and then create an artwork, collage, sketch or painting which reflected our personal feelings and emotions.

This is not as easy as it sounds. I sat there, for what seemed like an age, before painting this basic artwork(I have recreated it digitally). The lecturer was not impressed at the time. As a sixteen year old boy, I argued that this was a metaphysical representation of my personal impressions of the poem. 

My masterpiece does not convey any of the literal translation or deeper meaning of this great Poem but I have always loved the simplicity and naivety of my picture. For those of you, who love great poetry, I present, ‘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 to-morrow late tell me,

Whether both th’ Indias of spice and mine

Be where thou left’st 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 honour’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.

My name is Steve Howard. You have been reading the Digital Circus.


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