Thereis a sharp contrast between John Donne’s secular poems before hisdevoted religious life and his religious poems after he becamedevoted to the Christian religion. In two of his secular poems beforehis religious life, such as “The Canonization” and “The Relic”,the emphasis is on the theme of love. In the poem “TheCanonization”, this is shown in the first line when he says “ForGod’s sake hold your tongue, and let me love” to emphasizes theimportance of love to his lover. However, he does not care whatpeople think about his love as long as it does not hurt anyone. Thisis shown in the tenth line when he says “Alas, alas, who’sinjured by my love?”Similarly,the theme of love is also persistent in the poem “The Relic”. Inthe twenty-fourth line, this is shown when he says “First, we lovedwell and faithfully”. Thus, the theme of love from the two poems ishis motivation to love his lover without fear of what other peoplethink about him.
However,Donne’s identity changes when we examine his Holy Sonnet 14 “Battermy heart” from a romantic person into a devoted man of God. This isshown in the first line when he requests God to “batter my heart”as a metaphor indicating that he needs God to use force to change hisheart to love him instead of the devil. The reason for his request toGod to change his heart is because he married unapologeticallywithout the consent of his lover’s father. Since this is a sin, hefeels that he needs to ask for forgiveness from God. Therefore, achange is seen from his life of marrying his lover unapologeticallywithout the consent of his lover’s father to a life of repentanceand devotion towards God.
Iagree with Aishwarya Lonikar’s post that John Donne’s secularpoems are different than his religious poems. In the poem “TheCanonization”, she was able to show that Donne only talks about howhe loves without hurting anyone. She supports this by pointing out towhat Donne said “Who’s injured by my love?” to mean that hislove is harmless to other people. Similarly, in the poem “TheRelic”, she was also able to show that Donne talks about how heloves. She supports this by pointing out to what Donne said “Andthink that there a loving couple lies” to show that his love iseternal. She successfully shows the change of identity of Donne bylooking at the Holy Sonnet where Donne turns to God for forgivenesssaying “teach me how to repent” to show that he has turned awayfrom his selfish love to the love of God.
Ialso agree with Emily Krieger’s post that Donne’s secular andreligious poems differ significantly in the overall tone. In the poem“The Canonization”, she successfully showed that Donne onlyfocused on love. She supports this by pointing out to what Donna said“We can die by it, if not live by love” to show how he loves hislover. She also successfully shows Donne’s change of identity whenshe points to his praise of God saying “Thou loves mankind well”to show that God is willing to forgive him. Therefore, Krieger hasbeen able to show the difference between Donne’s life beforeturning to God where he used to love selfishly and after turning toGod by leaving a selfish life of loving only his lover and lovingGod.