from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


∂  The H. Scriptures.I.

OH Book! infinite sweetnesse! let my heart
†††††††††††† Suck evíry letter, and a hony gain,
†††††††††††† Precious for any grief in any part;
To cleare the breast, to mollifie all pain.
Thou art all health, health thriving till it make
†††††††††††† A full eternitie: thou art a masse
†††††††††††† Of strange delights, where we may wish & take.
Ladies, look here; this is the thankfull glasse,
That mends the lookers eyes: this is the well
†††††††††††† That washes what it shows.† Who can indeare
†††††††††††† Thy praise too much?† thou art heavíns Lidger here,
Working against the states of death and hell.
†††††††††††† Thou art joyes handsell: heavín lies flat in thee,
†††††††††††† Subject to evíry mounters bended knee.


I I.

OH that I knew how all thy lights combine,
†††††††††††† And the configurations of their glorie!
†††††††††††† Seeing not onely how each verse doth shine,
But all the constellations of the storie.
This verse marks that, and both do make a motion
†††††††††††† Unto a third, that ten leaves off doth lie:
†††††††††††† Then as dispersed herbs do watch a potion,
These three make up some Christians destinie:
Such are thy secrets, which my life makes good,
†††††††††††† And comments on thee: for in evíry thing
†††††††††††† Thy words do finde me out, & parallels bring,
And in another make me understood.
†††††††††††† Starres are poore books, & oftentimes do misse:
† †††††††††††This book of starres lights to eternall blisse.


So pious his life, that, as he was a copy of primitive, he might be a pattern of Sanctity to posterity. To testifie his independency on all others, he never mentioned the name of Jesus Christ, but with this addition, "My Master." Next God the Word, he loved the Word of God being heard often to protest, "That he would not part with one leaf thereof for the whole world." -- Thomas Fuller, 1662, The Worthies of England, ed. Nichols, vol. II, p. 601. Written of George Herbert.
  • Criticism/Interpretation: George Herbert's Poetry by Russell Fraser. [Poems cited: "Holy Scriptures I"; "The Pearl"; The Temple; "Paradise"; "Affliction"; "Home"; "The Collar"; "The Flower"; "Virtue"; "Providence"]

    Note on Sonnet form and organization.

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