[Giotto: Crucifixion. Detail]LenTree For George Herbert

Day 43: Wednesday

The Bag 1

Away despair! my gracious Lord does hear.

     Though winds and waves assault my keel,

     He does preserve it: he does steer,

     Ev'n when the boat seems most to reel.

     Storms are the triumph of his art:

Well may he close his eyes, but not his heart.


Have you not heard, that my Lord Jesus died?

     Then let me tell you a strange story.

     The God of power, as He did ride

     In His majestic robes of glory,

     Reserved to light; and so one day

He did descend, undressing all the way.


The stars His tire2 of light and rings obtained,

     The cloud His bow, the fire His spear,

     The sky His azure mantle gained.

     And when they asked, what He would wear;

     He smiled and said as He did go,

He had new clothes a making here below.


When he was come, as travelers are wont,

     He did repair unto an inn.

     Both then, and after, many a brunt

     He did endure to cancel sin:

     And having given the rest before,

Here he gave up his life to pay our score.


But as he was returning, there came one

     That ran upon him with a spear.

     He, who came to us all alone,

     Bringing nor man, nor arms, nor fear,

     Received the blow upon his side,

And straight he turned, and to his brethren cried,


“If you have any thing to send or write,

     I have no bag, but here is room:

     Unto my Father’s hands and sight,

     Believe me, it shall safely come.

     That I shall mind, what you impart,

Look, you may put it very near my heart.


“Or if hereafter any of my friends

     Will use me in this kind, the door

     Shall still be open; what he sends

     I will present, and somewhat more,

     Not to his hurt. Sighs will convey

Any thing to me.” Hark, Despair away.

1633 Edition

1 Bag to carry valuables, messages or anything, used like a pocket, diplomatic pouch, purse or briefcase; the Seventeenth Century version of a fanny pack.  In this poem the bag is Christ's wounded side. [Return]

2 Tire: the shape of a tire; ring, like Saturn, aurora, as in an eclipse, halo or circle. [Return]

Music Interpretation: "The Bag" by Red Dragon 


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