Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person'd God

Original Text: 
John Donne, Poems, by J. D. With elegies on the authors death (M. F. for J. Marriot, 1633). MICF no. 556 ROBA. Facs. edn. Menston: Scolar Press, 1969. PR 2245 A2 1633A. STC 7045.
2As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5I, like an usurp'd town to'another due,
6Labor to'admit you, but oh, to no end;
7Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
9Yet dearly'I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
10But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11Divorce me,'untie or break that knot again,
12Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13Except you'enthrall me, never shall be free,
14Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.


1] The problem of the order and date of the nineteen poems called the "Holy Sonnets'' is very complicated. They have usually been numbered in sequence, but the traditional order has been convincingly questioned by Dame Helen Gardner in her edition of Donne's Divine Poems and is here not indicated. The first two in this selection were first published in 1635, the next five in 1633, the final two, entirely unconnected, not until 1894 and 1899 respectively. Most of the sonnets were probably written about 1609, but "Since she whom I lov'd" was written after the death of Donne's wife in 1617, and "Show me dear Christ" perhaps even later. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.193.