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

    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

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

  1. That is indeed a good one, and introducing me to Herbert is one of the many things I am grateful to my British Literature I professor for, but I think my favorite poem may be John Donne’s Holy Sonnet #14, “Batter my heart, three-person’d God …”

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  2. Wow, that’s beautiful. Since you said you liked more of the lyric and psalm type poems, the man who wrote “Awesome God,” Rich Mullins said on love: “Love is bound in the things that we have given up, more than in the things that we have kept.”

    If you don’t like the “poetic” style of poetry at times, you might look at Lyn Hejinian (“My Life”). Her style is very much like something you might enjoy.

    God bless,
    Taylor J. Beisler

    Isaiah 40:26-31
    http://www.taylorbeisler.com

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