¶ Charms and Knots.
WHo reads a chapter1 when they rise, Shall nere be troubled with ill eyes. A poore mans rod, when thou dost ride, Is both a weapon and a guide. 2 Who shuts his hand, hath lost his gold: Who opens it, hath it twice told.3 Who goes to bed and does not pray, Maketh two nights to evry day.4 Who by aspersions throw a stone At th head of others, hit their own.5 Who looks on ground with humble eyes, Finds himself there, and seeks to rise.6 When th hair is sweet through pride or lust, The powder doth forget the dust.7 Take one from ten, and what remains? Ten still, if sermons go for gains.8 In shallow waters heavn doth show: But who drinks on, to hell may go.9
These are 9 separate aphorisms rhymed in couplets with a collective title. "Charms" for good actions that benefit you, and "knots" for difficult situations to keep working on to resolve. Many are both. It is a "mini-Churchporch" with relevant advice to those already in the Church. Readers may find these couplets similar to the practical teachings of "The Church-porch" and Outlandish Proverbs and unlike the rest of the famous lyrics.
1 A Chapter from the Holy Scriptures, The Bible, of course. Not that Herbert was a one-book Christian, but this is the book that improves vision. See also the poems on "H. Scripture" and "The Parson's Library" from The Countrey Parson. [Return].
2 The staff that a blind man uses to find his way is also a weapon. Discipline and faith are like that. [For this double purpose, see the last stanza of "Conscience"] [Return]
3 Compare with Church-porch," stanza 64. [Return]
4 Prayer and resolution come after self evaluation. See "The Church-porch" stanza 76. [Return]
5 See Chapter 37 of The Countrey Parson. [Return]
6 Start at the bottom, accept who you are, be humble about your abilities and God will give you grace to be better. (See also the lessons of "The Church-floore.") [Return]
7 When you concentrate on yourself and your own appearance, your efforts go in the wrong direction. (If you missed humility, this is the obverse on vanity. See also Vanity (I) and The Pearl.) [Return]
8 Tithing to the Church means giving 0.1, 1/10, one tenth of what you have. The sermons are more valuable to your spiritual life than your 10%. See "The Church-porch" stanza 65. [Return]
9 Number 187 of Outlandish Proverbs reads: " Where the drink goes in, there the wit goes out." Compare the style of the last couplet on drinking with "The Church-porch" stanzas 5, 6 and 7. [Return]
Professor's observation: "The Church-porch" is like primary to high school, teaching the basics to you about to enter the life of a serious Christian, lessons in prudence, temperance and discipline. "The Church" is undergraduate college; it is the student's responsibility to relearn with hard work and frustration what you thought you understood so you can attain knowledge and experience you could not imagine. "The Church Militant" is graduate school to post-doctoral studies, when you are no longer the center of the knowledge that you learned, and you see the pieces fit. In this context "Charms and Knots" is a summer school refresher course, almost half way through, while you are in college - reminding you what still applies, or what you have not learned well enough.
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