A Broken Heart, Unwilling to Heal
In John Donne’s poem, “The Broken Heart,” the narrator is expressing his feelings about love, after experiencing the hardships of a separation or rejection.


The form of the poem is made up like a sonnet, for it shows common characteristics in the order of telling a story in a poem. It contains four stanzas, in which the first stanza introduces an idea, the second stanza expands it, the third stanza concludes it, and the fourth stanza holds the moral of the poem.


In the first stanza, the narrator introduces the image of a heart-broken person. He questions himself for he dared to love. Saying he “had the plague a year” (l. 6) implies that loving someone was a rather unpleasant experience for him.


The second stanza expands the thought of love as being cruel when devoting ones heart to it completely. The speaker also gives love the power of weapons, to kill: "as by chain’d shot, whole ranks to die” (l. 15).


The conclusion takes place in the third stanza. The narrator concludes that he had lost his heart to one person, but his love remained unrequited by his significant other. The speaker tells the reader that his heart has been “shivered…as glass” (l. 24). In this stanza the speaker also addresses his lover rather than speaking to the reader.


The final stanza, the moral of the poem, holds the speakers final opinion about love. He states that this rejection does not mean the end of the world, but seriously broke his heart, as he called it “[his] rags of heart” (l. 31). He concludes that he could never love someone the same way again, as he loved this one person.


The speaker’s attitude towards love is obviously rather negative, for the negative experience he had with love. He sees love as very powerful; powerful enough to take lives and break hearts, but he also realizes that love could have been so beautiful if the other side would have requited it. The speaker is hurt and is not willing to torture himself, by having to accept another rejection. He would rather go on not loving, than getting his heart broken again.