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Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)


John Donne

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14) Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

This poem takes the form of a Petrarchan sonnet. We know this because the poem is composed of 14 lines, the three quatrains (groups of four lines) followed by a rhyming couplet (two lines) at the e...


So, there seems to be a normal way in which people address God and ask him for things, and then there's our speaker's way. The normal approach tends to show respect and humility. An example of this...


You know those stories set in medieval times with dragons and jousting, where there's a damsel in distress locked up in a tower, set to marry someone she doesn't love, but then she somehow gets a n...

Sound Check

To talk about the sound of Holy Sonnet 14, it's helpful to have a fancy word in tow: plosives. Plosives (think "explosive") are the kinds of sounds that we make by using something in our mouth (or...

What's Up With the Title?

Holy Sonnet 14 is part of a larger series of Holy Sonnets that Donne published in the early 1600s. This happens to be the 14th, which isn't all that important. The significant part here is that Don...

Calling Card

"Metaphysical conceits" aren't too strictly defined, but the general idea is that the poet makes use of a clever and unusual extended metaphor throughout much or all of a poem. An extended metaphor...


This poem is a great example of a poem that allows you to get from it as much you put into it. If you just want to read this poem with a general lens, it's not all that tough. There are a few momen...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

In keeping with its metaphysical style, our speaker never makes anything totally explicit, but he pretty clearly raises the idea of a violent sexual encounter with God. He closes the poem by wishin...

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