The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Thursday, March 31, 2011

John Donne's Day

Today we celebrate John Donne--priest, poet, and lawyer. (You can see why he gives me hope!) Donne's poetry ranges from the satirical and sly, the mordant, the holy and the mystical. (A wonderful mordant poem-ette, written on his arrest for marrying without his wife's legally-required consent: "John Donne/Anne Donne/Undone"). A great lover of life, he was drawn into the Church progressively. He wrote, in 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.

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