Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)
by John Donne
Romance with God
So, in classic Metaphysical Poet tradition, Donne doesn't make anything super-explicit, but it's hard to read this poem without noticing some sexual overtones. "O'erthrow me, and bend Your force" and "[I] labour to admit you" are examples of moments that carry sexual weight.
Plus, the final line of the poem is hard to ignore: "Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me." The speaker seems to try to give a more specific flavor to his demands here at the end of the poem. How about this: in struggling to make what he really wants concrete, the speaker finally admits his thoughts through the entire poem – the closest he can come to describing what he wants from God is through the metaphor of being ravished by God.
- Lines 3-4: "o'erthrow me, and bend / Your force" might be a part of the sexual metaphor.
- Line 6: "Labour to admit you" may be similarly part of the sexual metaphor.
- Line 13: To "enthrall" someone means to put them in captivity or slavery. But, the word can have some sexual overtones, if it refers to being under someone's erotic power.
- Line 14: "Ravish" carries the connotation of “taking advantage of someone,” even if it also means the less sexual "fill with delight." This is where the sexual metaphor is most prominent.