Monday, April 26, 2010

Sonnet by John Donne

A wild early life, a difficult midlife, a rich and successful later life- John Donne's life was crisply divided. He wrote verse his entire life, but upon his surrender to God and King James, he found fulfillment in ministry, becoming a great preacher in the Anglican church. In his youth he wrote passionate verses on love. By the time he entered the ministry, he was writing only religious verse; in later years, he only wrote sermons. Here are excerpts from one of his Sonnets- heartfelt words from a brilliant man.

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 usurp'd town,
to another due,
labor to admit You,
but, O, to no end...
Reason,
Your viceroy in me,
should defend,
but is captivated,
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 beak the 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, 1572-1631






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