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.
The poet is asking the Holy Trinity to save him from the clutches of Satan. The evil influence of Satan is so much that violence has to be exercised by God to get his heart out of it. Hence the use of the harsh words like “batter”, “knock”,“overthrow”, ”bend your force” ,”break” ,”burn”, ”imprison” ,”ravish” etc.
The image I like is the poet’s comparing himself to a “usurped town” and while reason, God’s vice- roy should defend him it is unable to do so because it is captived.
The poet goes on to another image, this time he calls himself wrongfully bethrothed to Satan, God’s enemy and it is for God to forcefully extricate him by “imprisoning” him, ravishing him and making him “chaste”. It is God’s ravishing that makes him chaste and God’s imprisoning that makes him free.