George Herbert

June 24, 2013

George Herbert 1593-1633. British.

Herbert was a parson, living an intense inner life, something I think is one of the saddest casualties of the modern world, in its latest hi-tec fully extroverted form.

Herbert only wrote religious poetry, but there is nothing simple, pious or sentimental about it.
I took him with me on my recent trip to New York, as a kind of anchor and antidote.
This poem has the most beautiful last line.

Just read it for the language read it a few times, it is only short.


I cannot ope mine eyes,
But thou art ready there to catch
My morning-soul and sacrifice:
Then we must needs for that day make a match.

My God, what is a heart?
Silver, or gold, or precious stone,
Or starre, or rainbow, or a part
Of all these things, or all of them in one?

My God, what is a heart,
That thou shouldst it so eye, and wooe
Powring upon it all thy art,
As if that thou hadst nothing else to do?

Indeed mans whole estate
Amounts (and richly), to serve thee:
He did not heavn and earth create,
Yet studies them, not him by whom they be.

Teach me thy love to know;
That this new light, which now I see,
May both the work and workman show:
Then by a sunne-beam I will climbe to thee.