Friday, January 29, 2010

Website Worth Considering: Alchemy and John Donne

Thanks to my friend Allen Braden for introducing me to the Alchemy Website which is utterly wild. Everything is included from literary references (Harry Potter and Chaucer) to Islamic alchemy and everything in between. I was drawn to this poem by John Donne (1572-1631) and how many of the lines are familiar to me through the eyes of The Beatles, T.S. Elliot and that old song about "that busy old sun" and "walking around heaven all day" - who is that? In any case, I have the sense that I could spend the day on this website - if I wasn't about to go meet with my web designer, Daniel Spendlove, to work on my own.


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 schoolboys, 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 the'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; compar'd to this,
All honour'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 centre is, these walls, thy sphere.

John Donne

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