[The Temple Court, Jerusalem, Model]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   The Size.

                COntent thee, greedie heart.
Modest and moderate joyes to those, that have
Title to more hereafter when they part,
                                 Are passing brave.
   Let th’ upper springs into the low
   Descend and fall, and thou dost flow.

                What though some have a fraught
Of cloves and nutmegs, and in cinamon sail;
If thou hast wherewithall to spice a draught,
                                 When griefs prevail;
   And for the future time art heir
   To th’ Isle of spices, is ’t not fair?

                To be in both worlds full
Is more then God was, who was hungrie here.1
Wouldst thou his laws of fasting disanull?
                                 Enact good cheer?
   Lay out thy joy, yet hope to save it?
   Wouldst thou both eat thy cake, and have it?

                Great joyes are all at once;
But little do reserve themselves for more:
Those have their hopes; these what they have renounce,
                                 And live on score:
   Those are at home; these journey still,
   And meet the rest on Sions hill.2

                Thy Saviour sentenc’d joy,
And in the flesh condemn’d it as unfit,
At least in lump: for such doth oft destroy;
                                 Whereas a bit
   Doth tice us on to hopes of more,
   And for the present health restore.

                A Christians state and case
Is not a corpulent, but a thinne and spare,
Yet active strength: whose long and bonie face
                                 Content and care
   Do seem to equally divide,
   Like a pretender, not a bride.

                Wherefore sit down, good heart;
Grasp not at much, for fear thou losest all.
If comforts fell according to desert,
    They would great frosts and snows destroy:
   For we should count, Since the last joy.

                Then close again the seam, 
Which thou hast open’d: do not spread thy robe
In hope of great things.  Call to minde thy dream,
                                 And earthly globe,
   On whose meridian was engraven,
   These seas are tears, and heav’n the haven.

1 hungrie. That Christ, the Son of God, was hungry during his earthly life see Mark 11:12 and Luke 4:2 (from the Temptations of Christ by Satan. This passage in Luke is a reason to fast.) The links have commentary and other translations. [Return]
2 Sions hill; Zion's hill. The site of David's original city of Jerusalem. (See map.) [Return]

On Joy see "Joy in The Temple."

These seas are tears and Heaven the haven.
1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page