Monday, September 10, 2007

Memorizing Donne

Did you try memorizing Blake's "The Tiger"? How did it go?

I found myself struggling a bit with the repetition—dare and dread, especially. But I learned a lot more about the poem through the process.

This week, I'd like to try "The Sun Rising," by John Donne. With apologies to Mr. Donne, please excuse the lack of indentation. I tried inserting nonbreaking spaces, but they've all been stripped out. To see the correct indentation, check out the Poetry Foundation website.

The Sun Rising

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 tomorrow late, tell me,
Whether both th' Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou leftst 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 honor'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.

—John Donne

(Next week, it will be time for some Edna.)

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