Helen Gardner (ed.), John Donne: The Elegies and The Songs and Sonnets

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The Sunne Rising

  • 11       Thy beames, so reverend, and strong
  • 12        Why shouldst thou thinke?
  • 13I could eclipse and cloud them with a winke,
  • 14But that I would not lose her sight so long:
  • pg 7315     If her eyes have not blinded thine,
  • 16     Looke, and to morrow late, tell mee,
  • Editor’s Note17  Whether both the'India's of spice and Myne
  • 18  Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with mee.
  • Critical Apparatus19Aske for those Kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
  • 20And thou shalt heare, All here in one bed lay.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
The Sunne Rising. H 40 omits. Title from 1633: omit The TC: To the Sunne C 57, HK 2, Cy: Ad Solem H 49, S 96, JC, S: Ad solem. A songe Dob, A 25: Ad solem. To the Sunne. Song O'F.
Editor’s Note
l. 1. Busie old foole Ovid mocks Aurora for her haste to leave the bed of her aged lover Tithonus. Donne mocks the sun as an aged busybody.
unruly: straying beyond bounds. The sun in interfering where he has no legitimate right.
Editor’s Note
ll. 5–6.
  • Sawcy pedantique wretch, goe chide
  • Late schoole-boyes, and sowre prentices,
Cf. Ovid, ibid., ll. 17–18:
  • tu pueros somno fraudas tradisque magistris,
  •   ut subeant tenerae verbera saeva manus.
Donne has perhaps caught from Marlowe's translation the epithet, which makes the sun a tetchy schoolmaster:
  • Thou cousenst boyes of sleepe, and doest betray them
  • To Pedants that with cruell lashes pay them.
Editor’s Note
l. 7. Goe tell Court-huntsmen, that the King will ride As Professor Praz was the first to point out, this is clearly a topical jest at King James's passion for hunting which, to his attendants' disgust, involved early rising.
Critical Apparatus
8 offices;] offices, 1633
Editor’s Note
l. 8. Call countrey ants to harvest offices: call farm-drudges to the tasks of harvesting. Cf. Ovid, ibid., ll. 15–16:
  • prima bidente vides oneratos arva colentes,
  •   prima vocas tardos sub iuga panda boves.
Editor’s Note
l. 9. all alike: always the same.
Critical Apparatus
10 months] mnoneths 1633
Editor’s Note
l. 10. rags of time Cf. the Christmas Sermon of 1624:
We begin with that which is elder then our beginning, and shall over-live our end, The mercy of God. … The names of first or last derogate from it, for first and last are but ragges of time, and his mercy hath no relation to time, no limitation in time, it is not first, nor last, but eternall, everlasting (Sermons, vi. 170). The passage might equally have been cited to illustrate 'The Anniversary', 11. 9–10. The two poems are very close in thought and expression.
Editor’s Note
l. 17. both the'lndia's of spice and Myne: the East and West Indies. Cf. Donne's letter to Sir Robert Carr in 1624:
Your way into Spain was Eastward, and that is the way to the land of Perfumes and Spices; their way hither is Westward, and that is the way to the land of Gold, and of Mynes (Tobie Mathew Collection, p. 305).
Critical Apparatus
19 whom] wch Dob, O'F, S 96, Cy, P, A 25, JC, S
Critical Apparatus
23 us; ] us, 1633
Editor’s Note
l. 23. For the scansion of this line, see note on Versification, p. 110.
Critical Apparatus
24 alchimie.] alchimie; 1633
Editor’s Note
l. 24. alchimie: glittering dross; see O.E.D, 'alchemy', 4.
Editor’s Note
l. 25. halfe as happy'as wee His satisfaction is a solitary one.
Critical Apparatus
26 thus;] thus. 1633
Editor’s Note
l. 27. Thine age askes ease Cf. Ovid, Metam. ii. 385–7, where Phoebus after the death of Phaeton complains of his endless unrequited toil:
  •                          'satis' inquit 'ab aevi
  • sors me a principiis fuit inrequieta, pigetque
  • actorum sine fine mihi, sine honore laborum.
Editor’s Note
l. 30. thy center: the centre of your universe, the earth about which you must revolve.
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