[The Temple, Jerusalem, Model]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   The Banquet.

Welcome sweet and sacred cheer,
                                    Welcome deare;
With me, in me, live and dwell:
For thy neatnesse passeth sight,
                                    Thy delight
Passeth tongue to taste or tell.

O what sweetnesse from the bowl
                                    Fills my soul,
Such as is, and makes divine!
Is some starre (fled from the sphere)
                                    Melted there,
As we sugar melt in wine ?

Or hath sweetnesse in the bread
                                    Made a head
To subdue the smell of sinne;
Flowers, and gummes, and powders giving
                                    All their living,
Lest the Enemy should winne ?

Doubtlese, neither starre nor flower
                                    Hath the power
Such a sweetnesse to impart:
Onely God, who gives perfumes,
                                    Flesh assumes,
And with it perfumes my heart.

But as Pomanders and wood
                                    Still are good,
Yet being bruis’d are better sented:
God, to show how farre his love
                                    Could improve,
Here, as broken, is presented.

When I had forgot my birth,
                                    And on earth
In delights of earth was drown’d;
God took bloud, and needs would be
                                    Spilt with me,
And so found me on the ground.

Having rais’d me to look up,
                                    In a cup
Sweetly he doth meet my taste.
But I still being low and short,
                                    Farre from court,
Wine becomes a wing at last.

For with it alone I flie
                                    To the skie:
Where I wipe mine eyes, and see
What I seek, for what I sue;
                                    Him I view,
Who hath done so much for me

Let the wonder of his pitie
                                    Be my dittie,
And take up my lines and life:
Hearken under pain of death,
                                    Hands and breath;
Strive in this, and love the strife.

Related Criticism:
  • "'To love the strife': George Herbert's Struggle for his Poetry" by Bruce A. Johnson. Renascence, 00344346, Winter94, Vol. 46, Issue 2. [Poems cited: "Praise (III)," "Denial," "Jordan (II)," "Providence," "The Altar," "The Windows," "Aaron," "The Priesthood," "Grief," "Judgement," "Employment (II)," "The Banquet."]
  • Theological Dualism in the Poetry of George Herbert by Carolyn Elizabeth Woodruff. [Works discussed: The Flower, Affliction (I), Affliction (V), Banquet and Love (III).]

  • Destinations
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