Batter My Heart

Tonight, after a day spent attempting to get organised for Christmas (when and how did it get to be December 13?) we’re drinking Caramel Roibos tea. It’s smooth, rich and roughly the way we imagine liquid gold to taste. Win fact this is our second pot; we made the first with breakfast. It’s not really a breakfast tea though, and we don’t just mean that it only half diminished the feeling our brain was over-stuffed with cotton wool, or even that we felt extravagant drinking it (though we did). It’s a tea meant to be savoured though, drunk slowly and unaccompanied by anything that might interfere with the flavour of the tea.

It’s St. Lucy’s Day today, and by rights I should offer you John Donne’s thoughts on that occasion. In Scotland though, that particular poem is really best read on the shortest day of the year, and that’s still a little way away, so we’re guarding it jealously. Instead, have another of his and a favourite of ours, ‘Batter My Heart. And because it happens that it’s been strikingly adapted by John Adams into an aria, we’re going to give you that too; it captures the raw urgency of the speaker and deserves to be better known.

Here then, as sung by Gerald Finley, is ‘Batter My Heart’ from Doctor Atomic and Donne’s Holy Sonnet.

 

Holy Sonnets; Batter My Heart, Three-Person’d God

John Donne

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.

 

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