John Donne

18 11 2008

Scene from John Adams’ opera, Doctor Atomic

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,
Labor to’admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly’I love you, and would be lov’d 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.




2 responses

29 04 2009
Dan F.

This is by far the best photo of this sculpture I have ever scene. I wonder if you could write me back with info on how to talk with the source. I would love to get this digitally enlarged and hang it on my wall but I would need a great resolution version. Is there one that you or someone else has for sale?

18 11 2008
Andrea Elizabeth

Interesting combo of 40’s film noir visual style with Jacobean attitude.

This reminds me of Emma Thompson’s Wit, which is a bout a Donne Professor who undergoes treatment for her ovarian cancer. Thinking back on it, I think she interpreted her suffering in a Donne context. I have mixed feelings about it. I see that her suffering enlightened her about some of her sins of neglect while being a demanding teacher, but I don’t see the suffering as directly caused by God, which Donne invites. I guess I have a more apophatic view of suffering. It happens, and it can get our attention so that we can see a different way, but the cause, other than being a result of a fallen world, yet useful for our salvation, is hard to pinpoint exactly. There’s too many variables including free will, personal sin, evil forces, and an unhealthy world, all of which God seeks to heal. If the world is against God, then one must endure the cross to follow Christ instead. The cross is the door, so suffering is inevitable to pass from fallenness into blessedness.

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