John Donne – Batter My Heart

In this powerful poem, Donne, desperate to be free of his sins and able to love with his whole being, pleads with God to pour transforming grace into his heart, comparing that grace to a stormy, destructive wind. The language he uses here actually reminds me a little of the way Flannery O’Connor describes the working of grace in people’s lives (with the exception that her characters usually don’t want it!) Never thought I’d mention O’Connor and Donne in the same paragraph I have to say… Anyway, here is Donne himself:

Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend.
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.


3 thoughts on “John Donne – Batter My Heart

  1. This works so well because it is full of imperative verbs- batter, knock, breathe, shine, break, blow, burn. And this from a man who spent his adolescence as a womaniser and ” a great frequenter of plays” , his early adulthood as an impoverished father and his later years as an Anglican Dean

  2. Pingback: If You Don’t Have An Interesting Story To Tell, Then Tell Other People’s Stories. « Team Web Bloggers Series 2.0+

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