Roz Caveney is blogging about John Donne at The Guardian’s Comment is Free
In Part 2 she comments on “Batter my heart, three-person’d God:
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 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.
Of course, she tries to find some meaning in Donne “beyond” religious belief (wherever that might be):
That the struggle to determine what we think so often takes place in liminal states, and in paradox and oxymoron. Donne will play games with broken structure, to make a serious point; he will pile up metaphors to talk to us of how faith, how conversion to faith or some other conviction, is a breaking, is like moving into a new state where everything is up for grabs.
Whatever she thinks about the poem, it’s appropriate reading as we prepare for Trinity Sunday.