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George Herbert

Yesterday was the day we remembered the 17th century poet George Herbert, faithful parish priest and influential poet. I particularly love this poem which he wrote in the shape of its subject - an altar(known as a hieroglyphic poem).

Be sure to read complete thoughts rather than pausing at the end of each line, and you will capture the image of the broken body as altar...a sacrifice to God.

Then there is Herbert's famous poem Love. Read the same way and don't mind the Elizabethan spelling, and you will hear the angst of the great struggle of humankind to be worthy in the eyes of God.


Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back, guilty of dust and sin. But quicked-ey'd Love, Observing me grow slack from my first entrance in, Drew near to me, sweetly questioning, if I lack'd any thing.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here: Love said, You should be he. I the unkinde, engrateful? ah my deare, I can not look on thee. Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I hav marr'd them: let my shame go where it doth deserve. And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame? My deare, then I will serve. You must sit down, sayes love, and taste my meat: So I did sit and eat.

Glory to God on High And on earth Peace good will toward man.

George Herbert (1595-1633)

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