· “Batter” means “Strike repeatedly”
· “three-personed God” refers to the Holy Trinity, which refers to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
· “as yet” means “so far”
· “to seek” means “to try”
· “that” stands for “in order that”
· “bend your force” means “apply/direct your force”
· “to another due” means “that belong to someone other than the usurper”
· “labour” means “strive” (in a metaphorical sense “lottare”)
· “to admit you” means “to allow you to enter”
· “to no end” means “without success”
· “is captived” means “has been put in captivity”
· “untrue” means “unfaithful/disloyal”
· “fain” means “willingly/gladly”
· “knot” means “bond”
· “enthral me” means “make a slave of me / make me your prisoner”
· “ravish me” means “take me by force / rape me”
Crea una breccia nel mio cuore, o Dio uno e in tre persone; poiché tu
finora non hai fatto altro che bussare, soffiare, risplendere e cercare di rimediare;
travolgimi in modo che io possa levarmi in piedi di nuovo,
e usa la tua forza per infrangermi, colpirmi, ardermi e crearmi nuovamente.
Io come una città usurpata ma che spetta ad un altro,
mi sforzo di farti entrare (nella mia anima), ma inutilmente,
la ragione che è il tuo viceré presente in me, mi dovrebbe difendere,
ma è stata resa prigioniera, e si dimostra debole/infedele e sleale,
tuttavia io ti amo fortemente, e vorrei essere amato da te,
ma sono promesso sposo al tuo nemico (Satana),
divorziami, spezza, o rompi di nuovo quel legame,
portami da te, imprigionami, poiché io
non sarò mai libero se tu non mi fai prigioniero
né sarò mai puro se tu non mi violenti.
The poem begins with a prayer to God expressed almost in military terms. A “battering-ram” was a wooden beam once used to break throw a wall or the doors of a fortified building: in using this expression (“batter my heart”) Donne asks God to break through the walls of his heart and reach him.
In line 2 Donne seems to reprimand God for not using sterner measures with him. The soft consonant sounds and the long vowels of the verbs in this line stress the gentle methods used my God.
In line 3 Donne introduces a paradox: he asks God to overthrow him so that he may rise.
In the final line of this quatrain God is described as a smith at work in his furnace or an alchemist who breaks down base matter and transforms it into gold. The explosive “be” sound of the three verbs in the final line stress the urgency of the poet’s need for God’s help. These verbs are in contrast with the verbs in the second line and suggest the stronger methods which God should use with the poet.
In the second stanza Donne compares himself to a usurped town. Reason itself, which is God representative in him, has been imprisoned by the devil and has become weak.
In the third stanza Donne introduces another image, the image of a woman that loves a man but is betrothed to his enemy: he asks God to divorce him, to break that knot again.
In the fourth stanza Donne introduces two paradoxes in order to convey the idea of his urgent need for God’s help. These paradoxes emphasize the dramatic action that he would like God to perform in order to save him: he asks God to imprison him so that he will be free and to ravish him so that he may be chaste (Donne tells God that he will only be free if He imprisons him and he will only be chaste if he ravishes him).
In the second quatrain Donne compares himself to a "town" conquered by a usurper (the devil) to whom Donne is now subdued. This is a conceit (which is an especially unusual and intellectual kind of metaphor, where the poet exploits all fields of knowledge for comparison: history, geography, astronomy, alchemy, mathematics, etc.). Donne tries to let God into the town (into himself) but he fails. Reason itself, which is personified as an intermediary between God and Donne, should defend him, but it is powerless because it is itself a prisoner of the devil. In spite of his love for God, the poet feels that he is promised in marriage to God's enemy, the devil, from whom he cannot escape. So, in order to be set free, he paradoxically asks God to imprison him, since he will never be free unless God enslaves him and he will never be chaste unless he violates him.
 colpire ripetutamente
 preghiera, da to pray = pregare
 ariete (batter à battering)
 misure più severe
 Chiede a Dio di abbatterlo in modo da poter risalire
 un alchimista che scompone la materia prima
 La ragione stessa
 promessa sposa