Friday, February 27, 2009

In Honor of George Herbert

Our God and King, you called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in your temple: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to perform the tasks you give us to do knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (from Lesser Feasts & Fasts)

Today is his feast day in the Church, a few of his poems:


      OVE 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.


      HROW away Thy rod,
      Throw away Thy wrath;
      O my God,
      Take the gentle path!

      For my heart's desire
      Unto Thine is bent:
      I aspire
      To a full consent.

      Not a word or look
      I affect to own,
      But by the book,
      And Thy Book alone.

      Though I fail, I weep;
      Though I halt in pace,
      Yet I creep
      To the Throne of Grace.

      Then let wrath remove;
      Love will do the deed:
      For with Love
      Stony hearts will bleed.

      Love is swift of foot;
      Love's a man of war,
      And can shoot,
      And can hit from far.

      Who can 'scape his bow?
      That which wrought on Thee,
      Brought Thee low,
      Needs must work on me.

      Throw away Thy rod;
      Though man frailties hath,
      Thou art God:
      Throw away Thy wrath!


      GOT me flowers to straw Thy way,
      I got me boughs off many a tree;
      But Thou wast up by break of day,
      And brought'st Thy sweets along with Thee.

      Yet though my flowers be lost, they say
      A heart can never come too late;
      Teach it to sing Thy praise this day,
      And then this day my life shall date.

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