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Posts Tagged ‘George Herbert’

…….When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
…….Contract into a span.”

…….So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
…….Rest in the bottom lay.

…….“For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
…….So both should losers be.

…….“Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
…….May toss him to my breast.”

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church-cemetery

While that my soul repairs to her devotion,
Here I intomb my flesh, that it betimes
May take acquaintance of this heap of dust;
To which the blast of death’s incessant motion,
Fed with the exhalation of our crimes,
Drives all at last.  Therefore I gladly trust

My body to this school, that it may learn
To spell his elements, and find his birth
Written in dusty heraldry and lines:
Which dissolution sure doth best discern,
Comparing dust with dust, and earth with earth.
These laugh at Jet and Marble put for signs,

To sever the good fellowship of dust,
And spoil the meeting.  What shall point out them,
When they shall bow, and kneel, and fall down flat
To kiss those heaps, which now they have in trust?
Dear flesh, while I do pray, learn here thy stem
And true decent; that when thou shall grow fat;

And wanton in thy cravings, thou mayst know,
That flesh is but the glass, which holds the dust
That measures all our time; which also shall
Be crumbled into dust.  Mark here below
How tame these ashes are, how free from lust,
That thou mayst fit thyself against thy fall.


——————————————

The photo is mine, a church cemetery in Cade’s Cove
in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.

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Philosophers have measured mountains,
Fathomed the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walked with a staff to heav’n, and traced fountains;
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sin and Love. 

Who would know Sin, let him repair
Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skin, his garments bloody be.
Sin is that press and vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruel food through ev’ry vein. 

Who knows not Love, kept him assay
And taste that juice, which on the cross a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.

 

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…………………..Redemption

Having been tenant long to a rich lord,
Not thriving, I resolved to be bold,
And make a suit unto him, to afford
A new small-rented lease, and cancel th’ old. 

In heaven at his manor I him sought:
They told me there that he was lately gone
About some land which he had dearly bought
Long since on earth, to take possession. 

I straight returned, and knowing his great birth,
Sought him accordingly in great resorts –
In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts:
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth 

Of thieves and murders; there I him espied,
Who straight, “Your suit is granted,” said, and died.

 

 

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