Torn Between the Two

Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God, for You

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,
Labour 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

by John Donne (1572 – 1631)

I posted a poem a few days ago that I found especially good. This is another. I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree and we are studying poetry in this iteration of my English class. Hence, posting of these “older” poems. This one is written in older English, so it is a bit more challenging to understand, but not any less appealing.

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2 thoughts on “Torn Between the Two”

    1. Professor,

      Yeah, it’s a tough read. Lol. To be honest, I still don’t understand it as well as I’d like. I have to write an analysis of it this week, so upon completion, I will upload it to the blog.

      I think the author is talking about his desire for the “three-personed God” (the Trinity) to draw him away from His (God’s) enemy. (I am still working through whether the enemy is Satan or sin.) Throughout the poem, Donne is talking about how he wants God to “knock, breathe, shine,” and “break, blow, burn” him. Descriptors I take to mean that Donne wants God to recreate him anew.

      I don’t know if that helps you or gives further insight to the poem, but like I said – I am still working through it myself. Check back in a week or so – I should have my paper uploaded by then and Lord-willing, I will provide a more thorough explanation as I see it.

      Thanks for taking the time to read. Blessings to you!
      -John

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