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The Broken Heart, by John Donne

Categories: John DonneLove

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 instance, “decays” (3) and “devour” (4), love does not decay, or pass away gradually, but love do devour a person.

It can consume them and take over all aspects of the mind and the heart.

In the second stanza, it reads that “Ah, what trifle is a heart, (9) if once into love’s hand it come! ” (10). Being that trifle has the meaning of little importance or value. Trifle is a metaphoric symbol showing that the heart is of little value when dealing with feelings of love. It doesn’t mean much for love to have the heart as a whole if only “once” it’s taken hand in hand of lovers.

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The rest of the stanza portrays how love can become hurtful and brutal. “They come to us, but us love draws: (13) he swallow us and never chaws; (14). Donne is explaining that love can come to you and without notice it can draw you in. Swallowing your heart creates a feeling of falling in love and never chaws, or chewing means your heart is not chewed on into pieces; likewise to griefs.

“He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the Frye (16).

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” “He” is love that is compared to a tyrant pike, a type of fish and the heart is the Frye. The pike preys on the Frye; Donne is stating that love preys upon the heart in a matter time, taking over all feelings of love the person may have. “If ‘twere not so, what did become (17) of my heart when I first saw thee? 18)” John Donne gives an explanation of when people say “They saw love at first sight! ” What became of his heart can be the metaphors “my heart dropped, or having butterflies. ” “I brought into the room, (19) but from the room I carried none with me (20). ” Donne shows that he was open with giving love from his heart, or vulnerability. He stepped into a room which may be a relationship and from that relationship he received nothing but a broken heart. “If it had gone to thee, I know mine would have taught thine heart to show more pity unto me; but Love, alas!

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At one first blow did shiver it as glass (21-24). ” Donne is revealing that while some may think love is good, it can also be of “sorrow, pity, and evil. ” His heart provided so much love, and to have that chance he would accept pity. With the chance given he lost all love and his heart broke like broken glass. “Therefore I think my breast hath all those pieces still, though they be not unite; (27-28)” With the last part of the poem, Donne is giving an explanation that with the help of his chest his heart remains steady, holding the brokenness together but his heart is not yet healed. 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 (29-32). ’’ Broken glasses resemble his heart, with the hundreds of people out his life; as a result. The pieces of his heart that he still have may begin to like a person or wish to love someone else, but because of the one who broke his heart he cant love anymore. “People allow their hearts to fall into love, knowing the hurt it creates. ”

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The Broken Heart, by John Donne. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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