Tuesday, April 1, 2008

John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631

31 March is the day to remember the extraordinary John Donne. This year 31 March is also the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary (transferred from its normal celebration on 25 March ... oh, no, just nine months to Christmas!).

Here's one of the reasons why John Donne is worth celebrating. Talent and theology bound together in timeless verse. Hat-tip to Kendall Harmon on Titus One Nine.

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.

–Holy Sonnet XIV

Actually, if you think about it, its an apt poem for the Annunciation.

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