'Break Of Day' by John Donne

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'Tis true, 'tis day; what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise? because 'tis light?
Did we lie down, because 'twas night?
Love which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together.Light hath no tongue, but is all eye;
If it could speak as well as spy,
This were the worst, that it could say,
That being well, I fain would stay,
And that I lov'd my heart and honor so,
That I would not from him, that had them, go.Must business thee from hence remove?
Oh, that's the worst disease of love,
The poor, the foul, the false, love can
Admit, but not the busied man.
He which hath business, and makes love, doth do
Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Break of Day by John Donne: A Literary Analysis

Do you ever wake up early in the morning and find yourself contemplating the meaning of life? John Donne's "Break of Day" encapsulates that feeling perfectly. In this poem, Donne explores the theme of love and the inevitable loss that comes with it. With its intricate metaphorical language, "Break of Day" is a true masterpiece of English Literature.


John Donne was a famous English poet, writer, and cleric who lived during the Renaissance era. His works are known for their complex metaphors and intricate language, and he is considered one of the greatest poets of the English language. Donne's love poetry, in particular, is highly regarded for its emotional intensity and philosophical depth.

"Break of Day" is one of Donne's most famous love poems. It was first published in his collection of poems, "Songs and Sonnets" in 1633. The poem follows a speaker who wakes up early in the morning and contemplates the end of a love affair. Despite the sadness and loss that the speaker feels, he also finds a sense of renewal and hope in the new day.


"Break of Day" is a sonnet, which means it has 14 lines and follows a specific rhyme scheme. The poem is divided into three quatrains (four-line stanzas) and a final couplet (two-line stanza). The rhyme scheme is ABBA ABBA CDCD EE, which is a typical structure for a Shakespearean sonnet.

The Opening Quatrain

The first quatrain of the poem sets the scene. The speaker wakes up early in the morning and looks out the window, observing the break of day. The imagery in the first two lines is stunning:

'Tis true, 'tis day, what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?

The first line is a simple statement of fact - it is morning, and the day has begun. The second line, however, is more complex. The speaker is addressing someone else, perhaps a lover who is lying in bed with him. He is asking them to wake up too, but the tone is not forceful or demanding. Instead, the speaker seems almost hesitant, as if he is afraid of losing the person he loves.

The Second Quatrain

In the second quatrain, the speaker continues to contemplate the end of his love affair. He knows that it is inevitable, but he is not ready to let go. The lines are filled with a sense of sadness and regret:

Must we no more goe a roving?
Since All must dye, and all must dye

The repetition of "all must die" emphasizes the finality of death and the inevitability of loss. The use of the word "roving" creates an image of freedom and adventure, which contrasts with the speaker's current situation. He feels trapped by his love for this person, unable to let go even though he knows it will end.

The Third Quatrain

The third quatrain marks a shift in tone. The speaker begins to find hope in the new day and the possibilities it brings:

Come, let us goe, why do'st thou stay?
Must we goe still, both lost thus, away?

The repetition of "go" creates a sense of movement and urgency. The speaker is ready to move on, to embrace the new day and whatever it may bring. The use of the word "lost" suggests that the speaker and his lover have already begun to drift apart. They are both in danger of being lost forever, but there is still a chance to save themselves.

The Final Couplet

The final couplet of the poem is a powerful conclusion. The speaker acknowledges the pain of loss but also finds a sense of renewal and hope:

'Tis well to see, 'tis better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all.

These lines are perhaps the most famous in the poem. They express a sentiment that has been echoed in countless love songs, novels, and movies. The idea that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all is a comforting one, even in the midst of heartbreak.


"Break of Day" is a deeply emotional poem that explores the complexities of love and loss. The speaker is torn between his desire to hold on to his love and his awareness that it cannot last forever. He finds hope in the new day and the possibilities it brings, but he also acknowledges the pain of letting go.

One interpretation of this poem is that it reflects Donne's own experiences with love and loss. Donne was known for his tumultuous love life, and he wrote many poems that expressed his deep emotions and conflicted feelings. "Break of Day" could be seen as a reflection of his own struggles with love and the search for meaning in a world that is often cruel and unpredictable.

Another interpretation is that "Break of Day" is a meditation on the nature of love itself. The poem suggests that love is both powerful and fragile. It can bring great joy and fulfillment, but it can also cause great pain and suffering. The speaker's journey in the poem is a metaphor for the human experience of love, with all its ups and downs.


In conclusion, "Break of Day" is a beautiful and complex poem that explores the theme of love and loss. Through its intricate metaphorical language and powerful imagery, Donne captures the essence of the human experience of love. The poem is both a reflection of Donne's own experiences and a meditation on the nature of love itself. It is a true masterpiece of English Literature that continues to resonate with readers today.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Break Of Day: A Masterpiece by John Donne

John Donne, the renowned metaphysical poet, is known for his complex and intricate poetry that explores the themes of love, death, and spirituality. One of his most celebrated works is the poem "Break of Day," which was published in his collection of poems, "Songs and Sonnets," in 1633. This poem is a beautiful and profound meditation on the nature of love and the transience of life. In this article, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of "Break of Day" and analyze its significance in the context of Donne's poetry.


The central theme of "Break of Day" is the fleeting nature of love and the inevitability of its end. The poem begins with the speaker addressing his lover, who is lying beside him in bed. He tells her that the night is over, and they must part ways. He acknowledges that their love was intense and passionate, but it was also temporary, like the night that has passed. The speaker is aware that their love cannot last forever and that they must accept its transience.

Another theme that runs through the poem is the idea of the duality of love. The speaker describes love as both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, love brings joy and happiness, but on the other hand, it also brings pain and sorrow. The speaker acknowledges that he has experienced both the ecstasy and the agony of love, and he accepts that this is the nature of love.


"Break of Day" is a sonnet, which is a fourteen-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme of this sonnet is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The poem is divided into three quatrains and a final couplet. The first quatrain sets the scene and establishes the central theme of the poem. The second and third quatrains explore the duality of love and the inevitability of its end. The final couplet provides a resolution to the poem, with the speaker accepting the transience of love and the need to move on.


Donne's language in "Break of Day" is rich and complex, with many metaphors and allusions. The poem is full of imagery that evokes the beauty and transience of love. For example, in the first quatrain, the speaker describes the night as a "shadow" that has passed, and in the second quatrain, he compares love to a "flower" that blooms and fades. These metaphors create a sense of impermanence and fragility, emphasizing the fleeting nature of love.

Donne also uses religious imagery in the poem, which is a common feature of his poetry. In the second quatrain, he compares love to the "soul" that is trapped in the body, suggesting that love is a spiritual experience that transcends the physical. This religious imagery adds depth and complexity to the poem, highlighting the spiritual dimension of love.


"Break of Day" is a significant poem in the context of Donne's poetry because it represents a shift in his style and themes. Unlike his earlier poems, which were often cynical and satirical, "Break of Day" is a more mature and reflective work that explores the deeper aspects of love and spirituality. This poem is also significant because it is a sonnet, which was a popular form of poetry in the Renaissance. By using this form, Donne was able to showcase his mastery of poetic technique and create a work that is both beautiful and profound.


In conclusion, "Break of Day" is a masterpiece of English poetry that explores the themes of love, transience, and spirituality. Through its rich language and complex imagery, the poem evokes the beauty and fragility of love and the inevitability of its end. This sonnet is a testament to Donne's skill as a poet and his ability to capture the complexities of the human experience in his work. "Break of Day" is a timeless work of art that continues to inspire and move readers today.

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