Immediately, in the first lines of both poems, “D[death] be not proud, though some have called thee” and “Busy old fool, unruly sun,” Done utilizes personification to create an extended metaphor in which the speaker mocks, but slowly comes to sympathize, with an unavoidable occurrence in life (Done Death line 1) (Done Sun line 1). The personification continues through the first stanza, lines 1-4 of Death and lines 1-10 of Sun, as the speaker conveys how “[m]eighty and dreadful, .. . Thou art not so” in an causing tone in order to taunt the fate of all living things – death (Death 2).
A difference is seen in the personification of the sun as Done uses statements such as “[s]saucy, pedantic wretch” to tease the sun for daring to wake the speaker lying in his lover’s bed (Sun 5). In both these instances, man is resisting what comes naturally. Just as man must breathe in air to survive, so must the sun rise to begin a new day and death must occur in order to make room for new life. The author shows hints of acknowledgement toward this fact by incorporating small snippets of sympathy awards the burden the sun and death will forever carry. Die not, poor death” and “[m]just to thy motions lovers’ seasons run” is a show of pity and the beginning of enlightenment of what must come to pass (Death 4) (Sun 4). By personifying both death and the sun, the author has brought both down to a level in which man can comprehend and will therefore make acceptance easier to come by. The second stanza of both poems progresses to the speakers’ beginning to acknowledge, yet continue to look down upon, the plight weighing down both death and the sun and questions both why they must carry on their responsibilities.
Carrying on being sardonic towards death, the speaker boasts of how “much pleasure” can be obtained “from thee” since the dead appear to be “[at] … Rest … [or] asleep” (Death 6) (Death 5). The reader can see Done is alluding death to be no different than sleep. Following this observation, “our best men with thee doe goes” is somewhat of a grudging acceptance by the speaker that even the strongest of men cannot avoid facing death (Death 7). Meanwhile, the sun, with “beams, so reverend and strong[,]” is till seen in a high regard to the speaker in Sun (Sun 11).
Following this admiration of the sun, the author employs the use of a rhetorical question, “Why should thou think? [,] ” in order for the speaker to grasp a better understanding of why an almighty being such as the sun is rigid in the menial task of rising to wake the world (Sun 12). Furthermore, the speaker asks the sun to “tell [him]” if, he, the sun, will still find “both the Indians[, East and West Indians,]” to be exactly where “thou left’s them … [if he] lies here with” the speaker (Sun 16) (Sun 17) (Sun 18).
These questions are a significant part of the author’s poem as it serves to demonstrate man’s willingness to shirk on responsibility and attempt to avoid an impending occurrence, in this specific instance the speaker is wanting the sun to temporarily halt its rising. Throughout the third stanzas, Done begins to show empathy towards the predicament of death and the sun, while at the same time continuing to debase how well both are performing their duties. Both speakers are showing insight towards the workings of destiny as death is “slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,” hill the sun can only hope to “mimic . [the] honor [and] wealth” of living a fulfilling life (Death 9) (Sun 24). The author states how “pipe or charmer can make [man] sleep Oust] as well” as the eternal rest that is death, creating the question of why death continues to exist if he is easily replaceable (Death 11). Similarly, man declares the sun to be “half as happy as we,” we being the speaker and his lover, to make an example of the dullness of repeating the same task for all eternity (Sun 25). In “the world … Which has contracted thus[,]” both death and the sun are the same n the fact of learning to live their lives with the hand they have been dealt (Sun 26).
The tone through this stanza in both poems transitions from mocking to rueful reflection and pity. Man is stubborn in his refusal to embrace the facts, while both death and the sun are left with no alternative but to accept and embrace their life. The fourth and final stanza of both Death and the Sun is where man finally embraces what must happen in the future. With “one short sleep past, wee wake eternally’ is Done displaying the recognition man has toward softening the blow of death.
By impairing death to sleep, the reality of the situation is much easier to accept since man requires sleep to live so there is no difference in a long, eternal sleep (Death 13). Once man gains this knowledge, “death shall be no more” as man conquers the fear associated with dying (Death 14). The author shows similar sentiments in Sun as the speaker assents to “[the sun’s] duties/ … To warm the world, ” and how the sun is “done in warming us” (Sun 27) (Sun 28). The tone in which this last stanza is spoken in both poems is of calm consent meant to envelop both death and the sun for finally Ewing welcome into mans everyday life.