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Types of Love in Donne's Poetry

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By looking closely at Donne's "The Sunne Rising", and at one other appropriately selected poem by either Donne or another poet, examine the methods the poet or poets use in exploring different kinds of love. N.B. Equal marks are available for your discussion of each poem. 'The Sunne Rising' by John Donne is a celebration of the importance and timelessness of love. The fundamental message in this poem is that Donne and his lover's love is the most important thing in the universe, and surpasses anything else. In the fist stanza Donne personifies and trivialises the sun as a 'busy old fool, unruly sun'. He addresses the sun directly, and the language is conversational - which creates an effect of Donne actually talking to the sun. The tone is indignant; Donne asks why the sun has disturbed him and his lover by peering through the windows and curtains. An original and outrageous idea, he asks the sun 'Must to thy motions lovers' seasons run?' Their love does not concur with the movements of the sun and its seasons; Donne is almost suggesting that their love is above it, a clear example of hyperbole. Donne then adopts a rather contemptuous mocking tone, and tells the sun to busy itself with 'late schoolboys' and 'sour prentices', for the sun should be concerned with ordinary people, not lovers. ...read more.


is false - the sun can warm the world just by warming him and his lover, for they are the centre of the universe: 'This bed thy centre is, these walls thy sphere.' This astronomical conceit is plausible in a sense, in Donne's era it was still common belief that the earth was in-fact the centre of the universe, and so Donne states that their bed is the centre of the universe. This is a strongly sexual image, and suggests Donne thought sex was a very important factor in love. The poem consequently has a very sensual feel to it with the sexual image and the glowing of the sun, which mirrors the sensual love of Donne and his lover. There is also a rather interesting paradox to this poem, Donne states that nothing exists apart from their love, an extreme conceit yet continually acknowledges other aspects of the world in conceit e.g. sun, precious objects, and kings. Perhaps Donne is trying to emphasise that their love is the centre of universe, other aspects of the world can only circulate outside of them - the astronomical conceit of the poem. 'Batter my Heart' is another of Donne's poem - which deals with Donne's love for God rather than a woman. ...read more.


This shows that Donne's relationship with God is not simple. The last three lines, in my opinion, are the most provocative and forceful in the poem: 'Take me to you, imprison me, for I,- Except you' enthral me, never shall be free, Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me. Donne states that he needs to be forcefully possessed by God's spirit in order to be free, 'ravish' conveys an image of rape, and this would have been extremely provocative in 17th Century literature. This disturbing analogy emphasises Donne's need to changed and satisfied spiritually. The ending of this poem is equally dramatic to the opening, and 'you ravish me' conveys Donne personally and forcefully addressing God directly. He ties in and connects love and violence, and suggests to me that love without pain is not really love at all. In this poem, Donne is not superior; he is pleading and desperate, throughout the poem. This contrasts sharply with 'The Sunne Rising' and in many other of his poems, especially 'Aire and Angels' where Donne appears superior over his lover. In the previous poem Donne is superior over earthly things, such as time, seasons and the sun. This poem shows a very different kind of love for Donne, a love that he is not completely in control of, and cannot completely understand. This is conveyed by the force, strength and violence of this poem, compared to the joyful, calm and playful nature of 'The Sunne Rising' ...read more.

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