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Analisi in inglese Batter my heart

JOHN DONNE

BATTER MY HEART

– SONGS AND SONNETS –


– ANALISI IN INGLESE –
– con VERSIONE IN ITALIANO –



Analisi in inglese


Holy Sonnet 14, commonly known as “Batter my heart”, is a poem written by the English poet John Donne. The poem is one of the 19 Holy Sonnets – or Divine Meditations – originally published in 1633 in the first edition of the collection Songs and Sonnets.

Batter my heart consists of fourteen lines of rhymed iambic pentameter, divided into three stanzas and a couplet. The first and the second stanza are two quatrains with an ABBA, ABBA rhyme scheme. Third stanza is a quatrain with a CDCD rhyme scheme. Last two lines form a  rhyming couplet (EE).

The sonnet is one of Donne’s most dramatic devotional lyrics. Donne is a poet deeply divided between religious spirituality and “physical” desire for life, and the sonnet perfectly reflects the division and contrast that dwell in Donne’s soul.

The poem is in the form of a prayer in which the speaker addresses God directly, and complaining about his enslavement to sin, asks to be brought back by force to salvation.

In more detail, the speaker states that he can’t overcome sin and achieve spiritual purity unless he is forced by God in the most physical, violent, and “carnal” terms imaginable: so he implores God to be violent and inflexible against him, in order to tear by force his soul off from sin.

In the first stanza the speaker states that measures used so far by God to turn him away from sin have proved to be not stern enough, therefore asks God to be more violent and drastic, and to overwhelm him and take him with force.

In order to represent the strength that he expects from the action of God, the speaker depicts what he needs using words which suggest smith’s work in furnace; verbs: batter, bend, break, blow, and burn.

In the second stanza the speaker, in order to describe his pitiful condition of slavery to sin, uses a simile, and compares himself to a town that has been captured by the enemy, so that is unable to let the rightful owner in.

Then, through the personification of the reason, and the metaphor of the “captive viceroy”, the speaker suggests his inability to direct on his own himself towards salvation, since his conscience and reason have been completely overwhelmed by sin.

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In the third stanza the speaker presents the same idea of dispossession in different terms, namely through the metaphor of betrothal.

The speaker says that he loves God “dearly” and wants to be loved in return, but he is like a maiden who is betrothed to God’s enemy, Satan.

By developing the metaphor of betrothal, the speaker presents the liberation deliverance from sin for which he is praying in terms of “divorce”, and asks God the break of the engagement to the devil.

In the final couplet, Donne expresses, through two consecutive paradoxes, the dramatic contradiction between spiritual aspirations and human passions that dwells in his soul, and claims that only if God takes him prisoner he can be free, and only if God ravishes him, he can be chaste.

In the matter of the style and the figures of speech:

– poem’s language presents extraordinary series of violent and powerful verbs which create the image of God both as a brawny smithy and as an overwhelming, violent conqueror: batter, overthrow, bend, break, blow, burn, divorce, untie, break, take, imprison, enthrall, ravish.

– as highlighted in the course of analysis in the poem “Batter my heart” appear simile, metaphor, personification and paradox.

–  paradoxes in the last couplet are in the form of chiasmus:

Except you’enthrall mee, | never shall be free,

Nor ever (be) chast | except you ravish mee.

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Analisi in inglese con traduzione interlineare


Per comodità di utilizzo dell’analisi di “Batter my heart” di John Donne, forniamo qui di seguito una traduzione letterale, periodo per periodo, del testo dell’analisi in inglese.


Holy Sonnet 14, commonly known as “Batter my heart”, is a poem written by the English poet John Donne. The poem is one of the 19 Holy Sonnets – or Divine Meditations – originally published in 1633 in the first edition of the collection Songs and Sonnets.

L’Holy Sonnet 14 (ossia: Il “Sonetto Sacro 14”), più noto col nome Batter my heart (ossia: “Colpisci, percuoti il mio cuore”), è una poesia scritta dal poeta inglese John Donne. La lirica è uno dei 19 Sonetti Sacri – detti anche Meditazioni Divine – pubblicati nella prima edizione della raccolta Songs and Sonnets (ossia: “Canzoni e Sonetti”), nel 1633.


Batter my heart consists of fourteen lines of rhymed iambic pentameter, divided into three stanzas and a couplet. The first and the second stanza are two quatrains with an ABBA, ABBA rhyme scheme. Third stanza is a quatrain with a CDCD rhyme scheme. Last two lines form a  rhyming couplet (EE).

Batter my heart si compone di quattordici pentametri giambici in rima, ripartiti in tre strofe e un distico. La prima e la seconda strofa sono due quartine di schema rimico ABBA, ABBA. La terza strofa è una quartina di schema CDCD. Gli ultimi due versi formano un distico a rima baciata (EE).


The sonnet is one of Donne’s most dramatic devotional lyrics. Donne is a poet deeply divided between religious spirituality and “physical” desire for life, and the sonnet perfectly reflects the division and contrast that dwell in Donne’s soul.

Il sonetto è uno tra i più drammatici testi devozionali di Donne. Donne è un poeta profondamente diviso tra spiritualità religiosa e desiderio “sensuale” per la vita, e il sonetto riflette perfettamente la divisione e il contrasto che albergano nell’animo di Donne.


The poem is in the form of a prayer in which the speaker addresses God directly, and complaining about his enslavement to sin, asks to be brought back by force to salvation.

La poesia si svolge nella forma di una preghiera, nella quale colui che parla si rivolge a Dio direttamente, e lamentando il proprio asservimento al peccato, chiede di essere ricondotto alla Salvezza con la forza.


In more detail, the speaker states that he can’t overcome sin and achieve spiritual purity unless he is forced by God in the most physical, violent, and “carnal” terms imaginable: so he implores God to be violent and inflexible against him, in order to tear by force his soul off from sin.

Più nello specifico, l’io lirico dichiara di non poter vincere il peccato e raggiungere la purezza spirituale a meno che non sia costretto da Dio nei termini più fisici, violenti, e “carnali” immaginabili: perciò egli implora Dio di essere violento e inflessibile nei suoi confronti, per strappare con la forza la sua anima dal peccato.


In the first stanza the speaker states that measures used so far by God to turn him away from sin have proved to be not stern enough, therefore asks God to be more violent and drastic, and to overwhelm him and take him with force.

Nella prima strofa l’io lirico dichiara che le misure che Dio ha impiegato nel tempo per distoglierlo dal peccato si sono dimostrate non abbastanza severe, perciò egli chiede a Dio di essere più violento e drastico, che lo sopraffaccia e che lo prenda con la forza.


In order to represent the strength that he expects from the action of God, the speaker depicts what he needs using words which suggest smith’s work in furnace; verbs: batter, bend, break, blow, and burn.

Al fine di rendere l’idea della forza che si attende dall’azione di Dio, l’io lirico descrive ciò di cui sente il bisogno usando parole che suggeriscono il lavoro del fabbro nella fornace; i verbi: batter (“percuotere”, ma anche “martellare”), bend (“piegare”), break (“rompere”), blow (“soffiare”) and burn (“bruciare”).

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In the second stanza the speaker, in order to describe his pitiful condition of slavery to sin, uses a simile, and compares himself to a town that has been captured by the enemy, so that is unable to let the rightful owner in.

Nella seconda strofa l’io lirico, al fine di descrivere la sua miserevole condizione di asservimento al peccato, ricorre ad una similitudine, e paragona se stesso a una città che è stata conquistata dal nemico, per cui non è in grado di lasciare entrare il legittimo possessore.


Then, through the personification of the reason, and the metaphor of the “captive viceroy”, the speaker suggests his inability to direct on his own himself towards salvation, since his conscience and reason have been completely overwhelmed by sin.

Poi, attraverso la personificazione della ragione, e la metafora “del viceré prigioniero”, l’io lirico suggerisce la sua incapacità di indirizzarsi verso la salvezza con le proprie forze, poiché la sua coscienza e la sua ragione sono state completamente sopraffatte dal peccato.


In the third stanza the speaker presents the same idea of dispossession in different terms, namely through the metaphor of betrothal.

Nella terza strofa l’io lirico presenta la medesima idea di “spossessamento” in termini diversi, e precisamente attraverso la metafora del fidanzamento.


The speaker says that he loves God “dearly” and wants to be loved in return, but he is like a maiden who is betrothed to God’s enemy, Satan.

L’io lirico dichiara di amare Dio “teneramente” e di voler essere riamato a sua volta, ma di essere come una dama che è stata promessa in sposa all’avversario di Dio, Satana.


By developing the metaphor of betrothal, the speaker presents the liberation deliverance from sin for which he is praying in terms of “divorce”, and asks God the break of the engagement to the devil.

Sviluppando la metafora del fidanzamento, l’io lirico presenta l’idea della liberazione dal peccato per la quale sta pregando nei termini di un “divorzio” e chiede a Dio la rottura del fidanzamento col diavolo.


In the final couplet, Donne expresses, through two consecutive paradoxes, the dramatic contradiction between spiritual aspirations and human passions that dwells in his soul, and claims that only if God takes him prisoner he can be free, and only if God ravishes him, he can be chaste.

Nella coppia finale di versi, Donne esprime, attraverso due “paradossi” in successione, la drammatica contraddizione tra aspirazioni spirituali e passioni umane che alberga nel suo animo, e proclama che egli può essere libero solo qualora Dio lo imprigioni, e può essere puro solo qualora Dio si unisca a lui con la forza.


In the matter of the style and the figures of speech:

– poem’s language presents extraordinary series of violent and powerful verbs which create the image of God both as a brawny smithy and as an overwhelming, violent conqueror: batter, overthrow, bend, break, blow, burn, divorce, untie, break, take, imprison, enthrall, ravish.

– as highlighted in the course of analysis in the poem “Batter my heart” appear simile, metaphor, personification and paradox.

–  paradoxes in the last couplet are in the form of chiasmus:

Except you’enthrall mee, | never shall be free,

Nor ever (be) chast | except you ravish mee.

Dal punto di vista dello stile e delle figure retoriche:

– il linguaggio della poesia presenta particolarissime serie di verbi dal significato forte e violento che definiscono l’immagine di Dio ora come un fabbro vigoroso ora come un conquistatore travolgente e impetuoso: batter, overthrow, bend, break, blow, burn, divorce, untie, break, take, imprison, enthrall, ravish.

– come evidenziato nel corso dell’analisi nella poesia Batter my heart appaiono la similitudine, la metafora, la personificazione e il paradosso.

– i due paradossi nel distico finale hanno la forma del chiasmo:

Except you’enthrall mee, | never shall be free,

Nor ever (be) chast | except you ravish mee.

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