First Line, Final Stanza — Donne’s “The Sun Rising”

In the first line of final stanza of John Donne’s poem “The Sun Rising” the speaker argues that he and his lover constitute the whole world by developing the conceit established in the second stanza that uses land and power as a vehicle for the lovers. The stanza begins with an explicit metaphor for the pair, claiming “She’s all states and all princes, I” (21), which expands the metaphor from the previous stanza, comparing the speaker’s lover to “both th’ Indias” (17). This connection between the lover and rich lands like the Indies draws the renaissance conception that women shared qualities with land, to highlight the lover’s resemblance to lands rich in natural resources as well as the connotations of wealth and power associated with those resources. In this third stanza, that conceit expands to encompass not only notably wealthy, and valuable lands to “all states” (21), increasing the magnitude of her value to include all possible wealth, resource and natural beauty. Meanwhile, the speaker uses “all princes” as a vehicle for himself (21), not only drawing attention to his feeling of empowerment when united with his mistress, but simultaneously his power over her. Not only does “all princes” invite comparison to the total control princes exercise over their subject states (21), but the inclusion of the superlative “all” intimates total control over his lover since by embodying “all princes” he intimates global control over the world, which acts as vehicle for his lover. This initial, explicit metaphor uses multiple layers of meaning to draw comparison between the lovers, land and power to finalize the conceit of the lovers as the entire world.


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