Love by George Herbert

Yesterday a story about “tolerance” and today a poem about love. I don’t post poetry … ever, but I learned today that April is poetry month, or something like that. So I’m making an exception.

Renaissance poet George Herbert

And honestly, George Herbert is one of the poets I can say I really like. T. S. Elliot’s Christian poems too, though the ones he wrote before he was saved are depressingly powerful. I like Robert Frost too. See? I lean toward poems that aren’t so very poetic. 😉

But here’s one that is more like a hymn, I think.

George Herbert lived during the Renaissance, making him a contemporary of John Donne. He was an Anglican priest, one who put his faith in his writing, but he died of TB at the age of 40, only 3 years after taking his orders.

Anyway, here’s perhaps my favorite poem of all time.


    Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
    Guilty of dust and sin.
    But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
    From my first entrance in,
    Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
    If I lack’d anything.

    ‘A guest,’ I answer’d, ‘worthy to be here:’
    Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
    ‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
    I cannot look on Thee.’
    Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
    ‘Who made the eyes but I?’

    ‘Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame
    Go where it doth deserve.’
    ‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’
    ‘My dear, then I will serve.’
    ‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’
    So I did sit and eat.

    – George Herbert

Published in: on April 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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