The Windows

by George Herbert

Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?

                           He is brittle crazy glass:

Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford

                           This glorious and transcendent place,

                           To be a window, through thy grace.

But when thou anneal in glass thy story,

                           Making thy life to shine within

The Holy preacher`s; then the light and glory

                           More reverend grows, and more doth win:

                           Which else shows waterish, bleak, and thin.

Doctrine and life, colors and light, in one

                                When they combine and mingle, bring

A strong regard and awe: but speech alone

                                 Doth vanish like a flaring thing,

                                 And in the ear, not conscience ring.


By George Herbert

Having been tenant long to a rich Lord,

Not thriving, I resolved to be bold,

And make a suit unto him, to afford

A new small- rented lease, and cancel the old.

In heaven at his manor I him sought:

They told me there, that he was lately gone

About some land, which he had early bought

Long since on earth, to take possession

I straight returned, and knowing his great birth,

Sought him accordingly in great resorts;

In cities theatres, gardens, parks and courts:

At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth

Of thieves and murderers: there I him espied,

Who straight, your suit is granted, said and died,

In Christian teaching the old agreement between God and man was replaced by a new agreement when Christ demonstrated his love by paying the price of sin on man`s behalf. Christ makes this clear just before his death when at the last supper he gives the discipline wine saying, drink ye all of this for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission (forgiveness) of sins.


by George Herbert

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 lacked anything.

A guest I answered, 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 marred 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.

This poem deals with the soul`s acceptance into communion with God in heaven rather than simply in the holy communion service. It is based on a passage in which Jesus condemns concern for things of this life, since death at any time and then Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he shall grid himself, and make them to sit down and to meat and will come forth and serve them.

The Collar

By George Herbert

I struck the board, and cried, No more.

                                        I will abroad.

What? Shall I ever sigh and pine?

My lines and life are free; free as the road,

Loose as the wind, as large as store.

                                   Shall I be still in suit?

Have I no harvest but a thorn

To let me blood, and not restore

What I have I lost with cordial fruit?

                                     Shall there was wine

Before my sights did dry it: there was corn

                              Before my tears did drown it.

Is the year only lost to me?

                   Have I no bays to crown it?

No Flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?

                                                        All wasted?

Not so my heart: but there is fruit,

                               And thou hast hands.

Recover all thy sigh blown age

On double pleasure: leave thy cold dispute

Of what is fit? And not, Forsake thy cage,

                               Thy rope of sands

Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee

Good cable, to enforce and draw,

                               And be thy law,

While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.

Away; take the heed:

I will abroad.

Call in thy death`s head there: tie up thy fears.

He that forbears

To suit and serve his need

                               Deserves his load.

But as I raved grew more fierce and wild

                               At every word,

Me thoughts I heard one calling, child

                                  And I replied, My lord.

Easter Wings

By George Herbert

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store;

Though foolishly he lost the same;

Decaying more and more;

Til he became

Most poor:

With thee

O let me rise

As larks, harmoniously

And sing this day thy victories:

Then shall the fall further the flight in me. too

My` tender age in sorrow did begin:

And still with sickness and shame

Thou didst so punish sin,

That I became

Most thin.

With thee

Let me combine

And feel this day thy victory

For, if I imp my wing on thine,

Affliction shall advance the flight in me

Both the title and pattern of the poem recall a passage in Malachi, which is also suggested by the son/sun pun of Easter, but unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. In paradise man had all that he needed (wealth and store) until he lost it by disobeying God.