In "The Sunne Rising," the poet John Donne dramatizes the conflict between the sun and the speaker, an egotistical young man in bed with his lover. This conflict emerges as the sun rises and shines into the speaker's room. The speaker is angry, annoyed, and astounded that the sun would have the audacity to so rudely awaken bringing his night of passion with his lover close. The speaker then proceeds to put the sun in its place by informing it that it has no right to barge in on him and his lover and that it isn't as big and powerful as it thinks.
As the title suggests, this poem begins during the sunrise as the first beams of sunlight begin to shine into the speaker's bedroom. The speaker addresses the sun as a noisy intruder, upset that the sun has come through both his window and his curtains, which are meant to be barriers that separate him and his lover from the outside world. The speaker, irritated by this intrusion, asks the sun what gives it the right to tell him and his lover what to do or when to get out of bed, calling it an "old foole" (1) and a "Sawcy patantique wretch" (5). He tells the sun to go bother someone else, like "late school boys, and sowre prentices" (6). This makes the sun's task of waking up the world seem like a trivial matter that is beneath the speaker. He asks the sun what gives it authority to intrude on his time with his lover, saying, "Must to thy motions lovers seasons run?" (4). He goes on to say that while the sun may control the seasons, it does not control love because love knows no seasons, "nor houres, days, months, which are the rags of time" (10). He is telling the sun off by saying that its seasons hold no bearing when it comes to love. He furthers this point by referring to hours, days, and months as "the rags of time," which makes time, which is governed by the sun, seem unimportant and insignificant.