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An Essay Comparing The Sonnet with The Sun Rising

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The sonnet adopts a more serious and sincere mood. It seems that compared to The Sun Rising it is much more heartfelt and that she felt very strongly to her lover and more to the theme of love then to the physicality of love.

“I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach,”

In saying this she is telling us that she is trying to show us that her feelings could not be of more love and that she is overwhelmed with the lover. She is exploring the extent of her love and she is now able to confidently exclaim her love to her.

“I shall but love thee better after death”

By saying this it shows a solemn side due to the main point that she contemplates death, which is rather strange, as this aspect is usually not reflected upon during a love poem. Barrett Browning shows a certain sadness as if she has already experienced a death from a close person.

“With my lost saints- I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life”

This simply tells us that she has already lost people that she says are saints which shows how much she remembers them as and how much she values her memories. With the inclusion of this it immediately makes the poem more believable and that the poem is not only showing what she loves but what she will miss.

The Sun Rising is a confident poem about the affection shown to the lover. The confidence is shown when he speaks that he is able to govern the stars.

“I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink”

This is a very confident statement as it tells us that he is able to block a huge force out with a wink. He tells us that he can shut out the sun, which is an almost sarcastic phrase due to the gigantic force he seems to play with this. This is almost making himself more powerful by defying this great force.

The Sun Rising shows a light-hearted approach taking a more physical meaning shown by its very strong and definite images that it portrays. He shows this tone especially due to his exaggeration. In exaggerating, he tells us a view of his feelings more clearly and in doing this we are able to understand it in a more defined way. He also liked to exaggerate with his lover and love it self:

“But what I would not lose her sight so long: If her eyes have not blinded thine.”

This shows his exaggerated feelings for her, as he does not want to lose sight from her ever. This is, as we know, impossible but that is his feelings towards her.

Compared to The Sonnet, Barrett Browning’s poem seems to express a more serious love. She manages almost to link her love with her faith. It seems that the love she has, has an affect on her “soul” which could be a more spiritual experience then physical. It also gives it a sense of eternal love and that there is nothing to fear in death.

“I shall but love thee better after death.”

This shows the large connections between faith and love. She is not only relying upon her lover but also on her faith. For having love in God she hopes to find the “ideal Grace!” Which shows a slight desperation and hope shown by the way she seems to be depending on trust in an almost religious scale. She is relying not only upon her lover but also on God. The fortune of her love depends on God’s will. In talking about God she is not confident at all as it is uncertain she feels.

“and, if God choose”

With faith being included it immediately makes the poem a lot more serious and when dealing with something which obviously means a lot to her and incorporating this into her feelings, it tells us just how important this is.

Donne adopts a different approach on what seems to be portrayed as important in his poem. Instead of idolising God it seems that he idolises his lover and himself.

“She’s all States, and all Princes, I;”

He also adopts a slightly sacrilegious approach, which tells us that he is a strong believer of himself being in charge of himself and that he judges his love.

“nothing else is.”

Donne’s love seems to be a lot more physical and even sexual.

“this bed thy centre is”

This again give us a sacrilegious effect as if the bed is the centre anything else is lower so it is downgrading God and everything else around him. This could mean that he has a limited view on life or that being in love totally overrides that of any other form.

It also shows a certain physicality in his reluctance to leave the sexual line in the poem

“warming us”

There are many of these sensual short lines, which have a surface meaning but upon looking into it you are able to see that Donne is trying to get a more sexual nature to show. He also enjoys different meanings

“This bed thy centre is”

I have already explained this quote but it being the last line gives it an extra significance.

It shows the thrust on which the whole poem is based. It tells us that he believes that not the Sun, nor Earth nor even God is the ruler of the universe but simply his affection for the lover.

Donne also suggests that his love is great and it cannot be replaced but in using a slightly exaggerated nature of the images he portrays it shows a more playful approach.

“if her eyes have not blinded thine,”

This is an example of the exaggeration that he uses. He is suggesting that his lover’s eyes are more brilliant than the Sun.

A sonnet has a regular rhythm and clear, simple rhyme scheme. The sonnet follows this pattern in its simple and clear message and statement of love.

“I love thee”

This is repeated many times and this point is obvious and straight. Love is defined and clear just as her expression is controlled and precise in the sonnet form.

The Sun Rising changes tone in several places in the poem. It includes questions contemplating the strength of the sun and the powers of which he defies. He includes commands with which, he tries to order the huge powers, and again defies them. There are also moments of seriousness in which he tries to bring seriousness to his lighthearted poem. This is just to show that his feelings are true towards love. In parts it even seems to contradict itself. The rhythm is regular but complex and varied which reinforces the sense of wit and playfulness. It uses its rhythm in ways, which bring out himself. By using a mixture of Iamb and Trochee he is able to establish a point that the poem is not only revolving around love but himself.

The two poems are on the same theme but portray it in two different ways. The Rising Sun shows a lighthearted approach to love giving a confidant and physical approach to a subject, which is usually treated with a more direct and sincere manner. The Sonnet however shows the classic forms of a love poem using direct language, no exaggeration and is in many ways shows a more heart felt meaning. The mix of these two poems shows a powerful feeling about “love.” They both portray how it governs their life and this feeling is the most prominent of all the feelings.

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