The poem ‘Know Then Thyself’ is an extract taken from An Essay on Man: Epistle II. This long poem ‘An Essay on Man’ has four Epistles. It is considered to be a sublime work of poetry. This extract ‘Know Then Thyself’ argues that human beings should learn to look at themselves and try to learn about their own nature, power, limitations, and weakness. It is a plea to look inward to gather knowledge about oneself. It is in fact a scientific inquiry propagated by enlightenment.
Day: 10 October 2020
This poem is primarily a declaration of the spiritual indignity of the speaker. We can think of it as a penitential poem, based on the penitential Psalms of the Old Testament. Donne’s religious disposition contained a strong element of self-laceration and strain, and this poem shows this. We can distinguish two facets of the desperate plight of the speaker — the drift toward death and the profound sense of personal sin.
Batter My Heart or Holy Sonnet XIV by John Donne Vocabulary usurp’d : taken through force or rebellion viceroy: governor; ruling power labour: work, energy betroth’d : promised to marry enthrall: captivate chaste: innocent, pure ravish: seize or rape to no end: without success Introduction This is one of the most famous poems of Donne. …