April 26, 2014

Poem: Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God

Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God is a sonnet by the English poet, John Donne (1572–1631). It is one of his 19 Holy Sonnets or Divine Meditations which were published posthumously in 1633. It is believed that most of the poems in the collection date from 1609/10, a period in Donne's life in which he experienced a great deal of personal hardship, setbacks, and turmoil. Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God is one of 3 sonnets from that collection included in the Religious Poetry Appendix for Lent and Easter of the Divine Office (1974). The other poems are: At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners and Oh, To Vex Me Contraries Meet In One.

BATTER MY HEART, THREE-PERSON'D GOD by John Donne (Public Domain)

Batter my heart, three-person'd 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 usurp'd town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd 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.

Choral setting by Richard Nance

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