The amazing web site of Shakespeare's Sonnets. John Donne.



This is part of the web site of Shakespeare's sonnets






1572 - 1631





 One of his most famous poems

     Busie old foole, unruly Sunne,
     Why dost thou thus,
Through windowes, and through curtaines call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers seasons run?
     Saucy pedantique wretch, goe chide
     Late schoole boyes and sowre prentices,
     Goe tell Court-huntsmen that the King will ride,
     Call countrey ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no seasons knowes, nor clyme,
Nor houres, dayes, moneths, which are the rags of time.

     Thy beames, so reverend, and strong
     Why shouldst thou thinke?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a winke?
But that I would not lose her sight so long:
     If her eyes have not blinded thine,
     Looke, and tomorrow late, tell mee,
     Whether both the Indias of spice and Myne
     Be where thou leftst them, or lie here with mee.
Aske for those Kings whom thou saw'st yesterday,
     And thou shalt heare, All here in one bed lay.

     She is all States, and all Princes, I,
     Nothing else is.
Princes doe but play us; compared to this,
All honor's mimique; All wealth alchimie.
     Thou sunne art halfe as happy as wee,
     In that the world's contracted thus;
     Thine age askes ease, and since thy duties bee
     To warme the world, that's done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art every where;
This bed thy center is, these walls, thy spheare.


to thy motions = according to your movements, i.e. sunrise, sunset, movement across the sky.

sowre prentices = bad tempered, irritable apprentices.

country ants = those who live in the country, in rural areas, and toil with the harvest etc.

harvest offices = duties of getting in the harvest.

clyme = climate, part of the world with a particular climate (as governed by the sun).


Thy beames etc. - inversion of word order. 'Why should you think that your beams are so revered and so strong?'

with a winke = by closing my eyes.

both the Indias of spice and Myne - probably a reference to the spice islands of the East Indies, and to the Americas, which were fabulously rich in gold and silver mines (mynes). See OED India 2: 1613 Purchas Pilgrimage (1614) 451 The name of India, is now applied to all farre-distant Countries, not in the extreeme limits of Asia alone; but even to whole America, through the errour of the Westerne world, thought that they had met with Ophir, and the Indian Regions of the East.

mimique = mimicry, a charade, acting and therefore not real.

Thine age askes ease = Being of advanced years you obviously require rest and retirement.




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