Synopsis of Batter my heart

As with all the Holy Sonnets, this one has no separate title, merely taking the first half line as a title. It is probably one of the best known of all Donne's religious poems, since its images are so striking and dramatic. Donne uses the language of violent sexuality, as well as images of warfare, to make an impassioned plea to God for some spiritual breakthrough. Just as in his love poetry, Donne desired intensity and a complete experience. The most similar of Donne's other sonnets is As due by many titles.

More on love language: there is a long tradition in medieval poetry of mixing the language of human and divine love, taking images of one to apply to the other. Donne does this frequently in his love poems. The Bible itself contains examples of this approach. In the New Testament, the love of Christ for his church is likened to a husband's towards his wife (Ephesians 5:25). In Christian tradition, the sexual love found in the Old Testament book of The Song of Songs was also seen as symbolic of the human soul's desire for God.

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