Batter My Heart

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.
John Donne

I swear, if it weren’t for my kids, I’d never see anything new. Check this out – Gerald Finley singing a most gorgeous aria from John Adams’ Dr. Atomic. What a voice! He brings that tone out from his depths, it seems.

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A longer version here

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Ryan Haber

    The “Holy Sonnets” of John Donne are some of the most moving Catholic poetry in the English language. He eventually apostatized for professional/social reasons, but maintained a Catholic sensibility. His story is pretty interesting and tragic, and a perfect study in the convoluted motives the cloud the human heart and mind. I’ve been posting some of his “Holy Sonnets” on my blog. Most of them are spectacular and he has a way of producing surprise endings – either the concept unrolled at the end is an unexpected twist, or the language itself twists in an unexpected way.

  • Melissa

    Though I haven’t seen the opera, I have heard a lot about it. But I am quite surprised to see Oppenheimer singing an aria to the Trinity. . . foreshadowing of the “Trinity Site?” What could this mean?

  • InAwe

    Wow, I loved the music (didn’t expect to) and was such a weenie I did not go to see this when it premiered. Bummer. What beautiful singing! A friend’s husband was part of the Manhattan Project and was a devout Catholic; he packed the bombs. Talk about having to split hairs, not just atoms. I’d never want to be in their shoes.

    I loved the John Donne poem and want to see more of them. That one certainly rang true.

  • Manny

    I love great poetry put to music. It’s not an easy task. Adams did a great job on this. Wow, I had not heard that before. Loved it!

  • Manny

    Donne wasn’t Catholic. Perhaps one might say he was High Anglican, but he was married and graduated from Cambridge Divinty, and supported by King James I, all of which are clearly Protestant leaning acts. In what way do you consider him “Catholic”? His poetry is mainline Christian as far as I can see. I don’t see how it’s either Catholic or Protestant in outlook. But I can’t claim I’ve read it all.

  • Smiter the Archdeacon

    Good thing it’s not Lent yet – the title gave me gluttonous visions of golden fried catfish fillets. Donne’s poetry is of course marvelous as my own doggerel isn’t, but nonetheless j’ose dire:

    Batter my heart and deep-fry it,
    Mince my will into sausage and dry it,
    My want BBQ
    Till I want just for You,
    Till I’m Yours and no one can deny it.