top-rated free essay

The Broken Heart

By 8m4xxyyfe Jun 04, 2014 619 Words
The Broken Heart by John Donne

The speaker declares that any man who claims he has been in love for an hour is insane; not because love “decays” in so short a time, but because, in an hour, love can “devour” ten men—in other words, not because love itself is destroyed in an hour, but because it will destroy the lover in much less time than that. To explain himself, the speaker uses an analogy: He says that anyone who heard him claim to have had the plague for an entire year would disbelieve him because the plague would have killed him in much less time than that. He also says that anyone who heard him claim to have seen a flask of gunpowder burn for an entire day would laugh at him because the flask would have exploded immediately. Like the plague and the powder-flask, love works violently and swiftly. “What a trifle is a heart,” the speaker says, “If once into Love’s hands it come!” Unlike love, other feelings and “other griefs” do not demand the entire heart, only a part of it. Other griefs “come to us” but Love draws us to it, swallowing us whole. Masses of people are felled by Love as ranks of soldiers are felled by chain-shot. Love is like a ravenous pike, and our hearts are like the small fish it feasts on. Addressing his beloved, the speaker asks her a question: If what he says about love is false, then what happened to his heart the first time he saw her? He says that he entered the room with a heart, and left the room without one. If his heart had been captured whole by his beloved, he says, it would have taught her to treat him more kindly; instead, the impact of love shattered his heart “as glass.” Still, he says, a thing cannot be so utterly destroyed that it becomes nothing; the pieces of his shattered heart are still in his breast. In the same way that a broken mirror reflects “a hundred lesser faces,” the speaker says that his “rags of heart” can “like, wish, and adore”; but after experiencing the shock of “one such love,” they can never love again.

He is stark mad, whoever says,
That he hath been in love an hour,
Yet not that love so soon decays,
But that it can ten in less space devour ;
Who will believe me, if I swear
That I have had the plague a year?
Who would not laugh at me, if I should say
I saw a flash of powder burn a day?

Ah, what a trifle is a heart,
If once into love's hands it come !
All other griefs allow a part
To other griefs, and ask themselves but some ;
They come to us, but us love draws ;
He swallows us and never chaws ;
By him, as by chain'd shot, whole ranks do die ;
He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry.

If 'twere not so, what did become
Of my heart when I first saw thee?
I brought a heart into the room,
But from the room I carried none with me.
If it had gone to thee, I know
Mine would have taught thine heart to show
More pity unto me ; but Love, alas !
At one first blow did shiver it as glass.

Yet nothing can to nothing fall,
Nor any place be empty quite ;
Therefore I think my breast hath all
Those pieces still, though they be not unite ;
And now, as broken glasses show
A hundred lesser faces, so
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore,
But after one such love, can love no more.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • How to Mend a Broken Heart

    ...How to Mend a Broken Heart A broken heart is one of the most traumatic and painful experience that you can have. It can lead you to devastation and depression. In addition, when you are in a broken relationship you feel like your world is falling down and sometimes, the reason you want to give up your life. Here are the following steps on...

    Read More
  • Broken Heart

    ...ORDER OF THE FAMILY AFFECTS THE PERSONALITY A research paper presented to The faculty of the English department College of bachelor of psychology University of Our Lady of Fatima Antipolo city In partial fulfillment Of the requirements for the course ENLISH II basic communication skills Lovelynes Tabal Andrea Vidallo Januar...

    Read More
  • Broken Heart

    ...shouldn’t treat his woman or any woman at that. But as always, I was wrong because when it was all said and done, I was the one that ended up with a broken heart. Many imagine love as an unspeakable, on-going story that makes them feel complete, special, and dreamy. Never once did they mention the aftershock that can be caused by love. However...

    Read More
  • My Broken Heart

    ...Reed 1 April Reed Dr. Ryder Finnegan English 1013 Composition 1 September 16, 2010 My Broken Heart I have a lot of wonderful memories from my childhood. Some of the best memories were the times I spent with my dad. He was a wonderful man, a gentle giant. His hands were strong and calloused, but his touch was as soft as his heart. He was th...

    Read More
  • The Broken Heart

    ...  The Broken Heart, by John Donne, is a poem that illustrates imagery of how love destroys the heart.      In the first stanza, it states “He is stark mad, whoever says, (1) that he hath been in love an hour.” (2) The author is giving an exploration that a man is out his mind or insane if he feels that love last only an hour. For in...

    Read More
  • Broken Heart

    ...*A BROKEN HEART is when you actually refuse to get out of bed in the morning because you are afraid of the reality that awaits you. *A BROKEN HEART is when you think about the individual that broke your heart constantly. You reminisce the "Good Times" almost as if the "Bad Times" never existed. *A BROKEN HEART is when you are crying yo...

    Read More
  • Broken Heart

    ...Broken Heart Heart break, a feeling of pure misery, sorrow and hurt. The two words says it all, it feels literally like your heart breaks, with is quiet funny if you think about it. The heart symbolizes love, but in reality it´s just a vital organ which only use is to oxidize and pump the blood around your body. Not so romantic if you think...

    Read More
  • Broken Roses: Analysis on Jar of Hearts

    ...by instructions, directions, or requirements; it is a complete leap of faith in which one becomes hopeless, vulnerable, or intensely affectionate. The result of love has many outcomes, love can mean stability and security, or it can be unstable and frightening. Christina Perri writes about an ex-lover who has hurt her in the past, but wants a se...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.