[The Temple, Detail of Model]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   Justice. (II)

O Dreadfull Justice, what a fright and terrour
                                            Wast thou of old,
                                            When sinne and errour
                    Did show and shape thy looks to me,
                    And through their glasse discolour thee!
He that did but look up, was proud and bold.

The dishes of thy ballance seem’d to gape,
                                            Like two great pits;
                                            The beam and scape
                    Did like some torturing engine show;
                    Thy hand above did burn and glow,
Danting the stoutest hearts, the proudest wits.

But now that Christs pure vail presents the sight,
                                            I see no fears:
                                            Thy hand is white,
                    Thy scales like buckets, which attend
                    And interchangeably descend,
Lifting to heaven from this well of tears.

For where before thou still didst call on me,
                                            Now I still touch
                                            And harp on thee.
                    Gods promises have made thee mine;
                    Why should I justice now decline?
Against me there is none, but for me much.

Criticism/Interpretation: "Not Onely a Pastour, but a Lawyer also": George Herbert’s Vision of Stuart Magistracy by Jeffrey Powers-Beck.

Modern version
1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page