THE SUN RISING BY JOHN DONNE QUESTIONS ANSWERS

THE SUN RISING BY JOHN DONNE QUESTIONS ANSWERS

 

Q.1. What is the meaning of the expression ‘The Sun Rising’?

Ans. It is a verbal noun meaning the rising of the sun.

Q2. Can “The Sun Rising’ be categorized as an aubade?

Ans. No, because there is neither the greeting of the dawn nor the of lovers for their immediate parting.

Q.3. To which class of poetry does ‘The Sun Rising’ fall?

Ans. It falls to the class of metaphysical poetry.

Q.4. What is the tone of the poem “The Sun Rising’?

Ans. “The Sun Rising’ has a number of tones, such as severe scoldim jesting, pseudo-teaching, and self-satisfaction.

Q.5. How does the lover address the sun?

Ans. The lover addresses the sun as a ‘busy old fool and unruly(=unmannerly) one.

Q.6. Why does the lover address the sun in this way?

Ans. The lover scolds the sun severely on being disturbed at love.

Q.7. What makes the lover call the sun as “unruly’?

Ans. It is because of the sun’s peeping at their bedroom without permission which shows lack of courtesy and etiquette (i.e. soy rules) on the part of the shining heavenly body.

Q.8. What is meant by “court-huntsmen’?

Ans. It means courtiers who accompanied the King in the hunting
foxes and stags (=male deer)

Q.9. What does the phrase “country ants’ mean?

Ans. It means farmers of the countryside who are as busy as ants.
Alternatively, it means self-seeking and industrious courtiers who belong to the country.

Q.10. What is meant by the phrase ‘the rags of time’?

Ans. It means subdivisions of time into larger units like ‘seasons’ and ‘climes’ (=climatic conditions of certain areas) and smaller units like ‘hours’, ‘days’ and ‘months’.

Q.11. Why are hours and days compared with ‘rags’?

Ans. Rags are old and tattered (=torn) pieces of cloth. Hours and days
are also parts torn away from time. Hence the comparison is apt.

Q.12. What idea does the sun have about its beams?

Ans. The sun thinks that its beams deserve respect and are strong in
nature.

Q.13. What does the lover mean by ‘eclipse’ and ‘cloud’?

Ans. By ‘eclipse’ the lover means the blotting out of the sun and by
‘cloud’ he means the lessening of its brightness with ‘wink'(=quick closing of the eyelids).

Q.14. Whose eyes can blind the sun’s eyes?

Ans. The excessively shinning eyes of the mistress can render the power
of the sun’s eyes useless, at least temporarily.

Q.15. Why does the lover ask the sun to look ‘tomorrow late’?

Ans. It is because the lover does not want to be disturbed so early in the
morning as today.

Q.16. What do ‘both the Indies’ refer to?

Ans. They refer to the East Indies (popularly believed to be a home of
spices) an ‘the West Indies (popularly associated with gold mines).

Q.17. Will the sun see ‘tomorrow late’ both the Indies where he left
them yesterday?

Ans. The sun will not see ‘both the Indies’ where he left them yesterday
because tomorrow late’ they will come to the mistress to be wholly absorbed in her.

Q.18. Who is ‘all states’ and who ‘all princes’?

Ans. The ladylove represents ‘all states’ and the lover himself ‘all princes’
(=rulers).

Q.19. Why does the lover pronounce: ‘Nothing else is?

Ans. The lover says in this way as his mistress and he represent states

and princes in their pure and ideal form whereas other claimants to these do not count as they suffer from various defects and insufficiencies.

Q.20. How do princes ‘play’ the lovers?

Ans. The lovers are the original characters whom the so-called princes
imitate; hence the latter just ‘play’ or pretend to be lovers although they lack the peace and contentment which the real lovers enjoy.

Q.21. What will the sun hear about the kings whom he saw yesterday?

Ans. When the sun would make an enquiry about the kings whom he
saw yesterday, he would hear that all of them lay last night on the same bed used by the lover, stressing that all the kings have really merged with him in the meantime.

Q.22. What will be the value of ‘all honour’ and ‘all wealth’ in comparison to the satisfaction that the lovers enjoy out of fulfilled love?

Ans. Compared to their contentment out of love, the value of all honour’
according to the lover, will be ‘mimic’ (=pretence) and ‘all-wealth’, ‘alchemy’ (=counterfeit).

23. Why does the lover call the sun to be ‘half happy’as the lovers?

And .It is because the sun is single with none to exchange love with or to receive love from.

24. What according to the lover, does the sun require in his old age?

Ans. According to him, the sun requires ease or rest in his old age.

.25. How can the sun warm the world in a novel way?

Ans. The sun can warm the entire world simply by warming the lovers.

0.26. How can the sun’s presence ‘everywhere’ be ensured?

Ans. It can be ensured simply by shining over/near the lovers who are
indeed a microcosm (=a miniature copy) of the entire world.

Q.27. Which will serve as the ‘centre’ to the sun?

Ans. The bed on which the lovers lay will serve as the centre (i.e. the
earth)-(of the universe] to the sun.

0.28. What will be the ‘sphere’ to the sun?
Ans. The walls of the lovers’ bedroom will be like the ‘sphere’ (=one of the circular paths round the earth, each carrying a heavenly body) to the sun.

Q.29. What system of astronomy does the sun’s movement around the earth refer to?

Ans. The sun’s movement round the earth refers to the Ptolemaic system
of astronomy (which was afterwards superceded by the Copernican system).

Q.30. Did the lover’s attitude to the sun at the end remain as before?

Ans. No, the lover’s’ attitude changed from scolding and rejection to conciliation and welcome.

 

Q.31. What is the theme of Donne’s poem “The Sun Rising’?.

Ans. It is about love’s expansion enabling the mistress to feel she is ‘all states’ and the lover (to feel he is) ‘all princes’ together with love’s enrichment as a result of which ‘all honour’, compared to their love-induced contentment, is mere ‘mimic’ (=imitation) and all wealth’ no more than ‘alchemy’ (=counterfeit).

Q.32. What contrary ideas does Donne’s ‘The Sun Rising’ deal with?

Ans. “The Sun Rising’ deals with such contrary (=opposite) ideas as rejection and welcome (of the sun), and with expansion (making the beloved feel to be ‘all states’ and the lover ‘all princes’) and contraction the little bedroom serving as a miniature copy of the world with the bed as its centre and the walls its sphere (=orbit).

Q.33. Must ‘lovers’ seasons’ run according to the sun’s motions?

Ans. The sun’s motions’ (movement) across the sky centering round the
earth (according to the old Ptolemaic system of astronomy) are very strict and regular. But the lovers’ time of rising from bed follows no strict rule and pattern and occurs according to their sweet will. So ‘lovers’ seasons’ are not dictated by the sun’s motions.

Q.34. Why does the lover call the sun a ‘saucy’and “pedantic wretch”?

Does he maintain his attitude to the sun till the end?

Ans. The lovers calls the sun ‘saucy’ because of his rude and shameless
behaviour in peeping into the lovers’ private room in an uninvited way. He calls him, again, a ‘pedantic wretch’ (=a miserable person) because of his paying too much attention to formal and unimportant rules (such as getting up from bed at dawn.)

The lover’s attitude undergoes a change, for which he was angry towards the sun at the beginning, he was quite conciliatory towards it at the end.

Q.35. Is there any contemporary allusion in the expression: “the King will ride’?

Ans. There is such an allusion in it for the King’ refers to James I who
was an enthusiastic huntsman. It also helps to date the poem after 1603, the year in which he ascended to the throne of England.

Q.36. ‘Call country ants to harvest offices’:-Who are the country ants? What does the phrase ‘harvest offices’ mean?

Ans. ‘Country ants’ metaphorically means industrious peasants who
remain as busy as ants in various agricultural activities. The phrase, further, means courtiers belonging to the countryside who are selfseeking king and diligent at the same time.

‘Harvest offices’, in the plain way, means tasks of harvesting (=cutting off and gathering in of crops). Metaphorically the phrase means securing of favours from royal offices.

Q.37. What does the phrase ‘rags of time’ mean? What does its tone indicate? –

Ans. ‘Rags of time’ means broken pieces of time such as hours, days and months.
The tone reflects a contemptuous attitude towards time which is subject to division in comparison to love that remains whole and indivisible.

Q.38. What does the lover propose to ‘eclipse’ and why? How can be eclipse and why is he unwilling to do so?

Ans. The lover proposes to eclipse (=to blot out) the sun. He wants to do
so to show that his beams are not so ‘reverend (=deserving to be treated with respect) and strong’ as he believes them to be.

The lover can simply eclipse the sun with a wink (=act of closing the eyes quickly). However, he is unwilling to close his eyes for it will deprive him of the sight of his beautiful beloved, for whatever a short time it might be .

Q.39. What does the lover warn the sun about? What will happen as a result of it?

Ans. The lover warns the sun that his beloved’s eyes are so shining that
they might ‘blind’ (=bedim/bedazzle) his eyes and thereby make them unable to see clearly (even though for a short time).

As a result of it the sun will not find ‘both the Indies’ (i.e. the East Indies and the west Indies) and the kings where he left them yesterday.

Q.40. What are ‘both the Indies’ associated with? Will the sun find them in the places where he left them yesterday? If not, why?

Ans. The East Indies and the West Indies are popularly associated with
spices (such as clove, pepper, ginger, cardamom etc.) and mines (such as gold mines, silver mines, mines for precious stones etc.) respectively.

The sun on rising tomorrow morning, will not find them in their usual places where he left them yesterday. It is because all the fragrance and the wealth of the East and West Indies lie absorbed in the person of his beloved.

Q.41. What happened to the kings whom the sun saw ruling in their usual places yesterday?

Ans. The sun, on rising the next day, could not find the kings who were
ruling in their usual places yesterday, because all of them lay last night in the same bed on which the lover was lying (i.e. they all got contracted in the lover, which indicates him to be representing all kings).

Q42. “She is all states, and all princes, I.’—Who is all states and who is all princes? How do they reach such a condition?

Ans. The mistress in ‘all states’ while the lover is ‘all princes’ (=rulers).

They have reached such a condition by virtue of true love. Love has extended her condition so much that from a commoner she has become one in whom all the fragrance (“spice’) and wealth (“mine’) of all the states have been combined. In the same way, love has elevated the lover to such a state that from a common man he has become one in whom all the ‘honour’ and ‘wealth’ of all the princes have been united.

0.43. ‘Nothing else is’ – Why does the lover think that other than themselves there are no states or princes?

Ans. The lover thinks that his beloved and himself are the real states and princes, and the actual states and princes of the external world are insignificant compared to themselves. The external states suffer from epidemic and famine, flood and earthquake, in addition to their fear of dismemberment; likewise, the external princes suffer from distress and disease, conspiracy and rebellion, in addition to their threat of dislodgement from power. But as states and princes, the lovers enjoy perfect peace, satisfaction and integrity (=stability). Hence the outside world does not matter to them at all.

0.44. Why do “all honour’appear “mimic’and ‘all wealth”-alchemy to the lovers?

Ans. The princes are conceited about their honour and wealth just as the
lovers are proud of the fullness and sufficiency of their love. The honour of the princes, however, evaporates when they are dethroned and their wealth dwindles when they have to continue a war.

The fullness and sufficiency of the love of the lovers do not undergo any adverse effect as it remains stable all the time. So compared to their love, the honour of the princes appears to be ‘mimic’ or a mere imitation and not the real thing, and their wealth seems to be nothing but ‘alchemy’, i.e., something which is sham and base (=inferior), a poor imitation of the original.

45. What is the significance behind the utterance: ‘Princes do but play us’?

Ans. The lover means to state that they are the real princes and the actual princes do but imitate them. The latter’s honour and wealth suffer from various defects but the lovers’ love is free from any defect, it being whole, complete and stable. This leads the lover to pronounce that the so-called princes only pretend them, the lovers being their genuine objects of imitation.

Q.46. What makes the lover think that the sun is ‘half as happy’ as they are?

Ans. The lovers can bask in their reciprocal love for each other. There
is, further, no hurry or routine duty in their care-free life. But the sun has to perform a long and regular duty (e.g. traveling and warming) everyday. He has, again, single, with no one to offer love to or receive love from. The lover, therefore, rightly thinks the sun to be ‘half as happy’ as themselves.

Q.47. ‘In that the world’s contracted thus.’—Who addresses the line and to whom? In what is the world contracted? What does ‘thus’ mean?

Ans. The lover addresses the line to the sun.

The world is contracted in the small bedroom of the lovers. The word ‘thus’ means ‘in this way’. The lover indicates this through the gesture of closing his palm tightly which suggests a small space.

Q.48. ‘Thine age asks ease.’—Why does the lover say in this way? What does he suggest for the sun’s ‘ease’?

Ans. The sun is much older than the lovers and it has been providing

warmth to all objects of the earth by moving round it since a long time. So the lover rightly says that the sun needs rest on account of his age.

The lover suggests a clever way for the sun’s ease. Since the lovers represent the world, the sun’s duty of giving warmth to the world can be done simply by his warming the lovers. So the lover asks the sun to shine near them by which his presence all over the world (“everywhere”) can be felt. In this way the sun will get rest by finishing its duty in a short time.

Q.49. How, according to the lover, can the sun finish his journey around the universe in the shortest way? What system of astronomy does it refer to?

Ans. The lover suggests a short and clever way for the sun’s finishing his journey around the universe. As the lovers represent the world, the little bedroom in which they are lying becomes an equivalent to the whole universe. So their bed will be the centre of the sun’s universe (i.e. the earth) and the walls of their room its sphere (=concentric circles around the earth carrying the sun, the moon, the stars and the planets). So by moving round their little bedroom; the sun can finish his journey around the universe in the shortest way.

According to the Copernican system of astronomy it is the earth which moves round the sun. But here the sun is shown to be moving round the earth (which lies at the centre of its spheres); hence it clearly refers to the Ptolemaic system of astronomy (which was followed during Donne’s times).

Q.50. What were the lover’s attitudes towards the sun at the beginning and at the end of the poem? Can you adduce any reason behind his change of attitude, if any?

Ans . At the beginning of the poem the lover was angry towards the sun,
scolding and abusing him in strong terms. But at the end his attitude softens down, and instead of asking it to go out, he invites the sun to come in and to shine over them.

One reason why the lover invites the sun is that although semi darkness is dear to them, the lovers cannot remain long boycotting the sun who is indeed the life-giver to all, including themselves, They cannot live without the sun and their love cannot survive without themselves. Again, without the light of the sun the lover will not able to see his mistress’s beauty. So the lover has no option but to invite the sun at the end.

 

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