Batter My Heart
Batter My Heart
The poem Batter My Heart is a holy sonnet that is a plea to God where he asks Him, the triune God to batter his heart and deliver him from sin to save his soul. The poem opens with an exclamation line, which other lines give a further insight to why he opens with the line. In this poem, the speaker is portraying his troubles where he is experiencing spiritual disturbance and he is entangled in sin or evil that has made him drift from his faith. The speaker uses metaphor throughout the poem that serves to provide clues of the speaker’s feelings and goes ahead to use paradoxes that demonstrate his requests to God. From the starting line, the speaker shows clearly what will follow is going to be centered on religion confusion. The following lines explain why he needs God to batter his heart and uses smiley to illustrate what is happening to him, and to demonstrate God as the powerful being He is.
The tone of the first line is maintained in the other lines where it starts with Batter my heart, and the ending lines finishes with ‘you ravish mee’. The rhyme is consistent in the poem where violent images are exemplified throughout the poem where the opening letter B that starts the violent word is again repeated in line 3 and 4 as alliteration where words ‘…and bend your force, to breake, blowe, burn …’. This maintains the tone of the first line that illustrates violent actions that the speaker is asking for. Probably, asking God to remake him through killing him or physically doing as the speaker is pleading. In the last line the tone and theme is illustrated when he says he cannot be free until he is imprisoned or chaste until he is ravished by God.
The tense is quite imperative where he is pleading with God to do such actions on him as a way of illustrating the power of God to do anything, yet the tense does not imply commanding God as it can be thought. This has illustrated his desperate move to free himself from the evil where he believes only God can do it for him. He illustrates the bond that has established between him and the devil through use of imagery in lines 5, where he says, ‘I, like usurpt towne…, reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend… in line 7, but is captived… in line 8, I … am betroth’d to your enemie in line 10 and line 11 where he says, divorce mee… This illustrates that the ties he has with evil or those stopping him from standing again in his faith are so strong. This is achieved by use of intimate imagery such as divorce that shows a strong connection that is hard to free from. Using captivity illustrates how much he is held and helpless he is since he cannot free himself from captivity. Saying that he is like a usurpt towne illustrates that his heart has been taken over by the devil, and until God comes to free him through breaking to his heart, he cannot be free. He also uses imagery of sex to illustrate the strength that is needed to free him from the devil. The speaker has used smile such as an usurpt towne for description purposes of his situation.
The rhyme of the poem is quite harsh to indicate the kind of intervention that the speaker wants from God that suggests renewing the man through destroying him first to remake him. He uses alliteration where he mentions the three words ‘break, blow, and burn’ to keep the readers aware of his intended violence that should free him. The poem has fourteen lines where the first eight lines take the rhyme scheme of abba-abba while the next line takes sestet-cdcd ee that take the form English sonnets while the first line take the Italian rhyme of sonnets.
The poem does not give a clear illustration of what the speaker means by the violent words, whether to take the literal meaning, which implies that God should act physically as he requests which sounds unlikely considering the use of sex. The other interpretation is probably killing him so he can be free from the devil and sins, which might be implied by renewing him or making him new. The speaker is probably tired of living and feels frustrated by many things he has done and feels that only God can save his soul through such forceful actions.