Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Poem: Holy Sonnet XIV by John Donne

Before I fly away to New Zealand for the weekend (exciting!) here's another favourite poem of mine: Holy Sonnet XIV by John Donne, which is a remarkable piece of work. I especially like the very precise and orthodox description of Reason as God's viceroy, which nevertheless cannot lead us to God because it is "captived".

Holy Sonnet XIV

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,
Labour to admit you, but O, 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 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.

John Donne at Wikisource
John Donne at Librivox

3 comments:

Caleb said...

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.

Excellent! I think this poem may appear in my upcoming ethics essay. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

John Donne, I do declare, apart from thee,
I never knew my peer, in artistry.
Forever I was, and never now will be,
replete in artistic hegemony.

Suzannah said...

Nice to see you here, Caleb! John Donne was a great poet and I'm surprised more people don't know about this one: it's such an elegant statement of some difficult theological concepts.

fredericthewise said...

It is most lovely, I agree. I have been here before, just haven't commented.

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