[Outer Court, Temple]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 21: Morning


Pick out of mirth, like stones out of thy ground,

Profanenesse, filthinesse, abusivenesse.

These are the scumme, with which course wits abound;

The fine may spare these well, yet not go lesse.

     All things are bigge with jest: nothing that's plain,

     But may be wittie, if thou hast the vein.

          Screen profaneness, filthiness, abusiveness out of the mirth like stones out of your ground. These are the scum with which course wits abound. The fine wit does without these, yet is no less funny. All things are exaggerated with jest: even what is plain may be witty if you have the ability.

         It is easy to be funny, the center of laughter, with sordid remarks, flagrant accusations said to be in fun, injuries by the pride of prejudice and twisting the truth into a lie. At least one clown develops in every school, college, club and organization. The wit abounds in public houses and private parties. For many, if you took curses, suggestive remarks, abuse and gross exaggeration out of a funny story, you may not even have a story and certainly one that is no longer funny. Blue gives color to an otherwise bland tale, like fat to food.

          It takes time, experiment and persistence to cut down on the fat for a healthy life. At first everything has no taste, but with a little imagination and trial and error, health and pleasure can go together. Moral well-being is much the same. Begin by leaving out of your conversation all curses, oaths, ludeness, laughing malice, lying embellishment just as you would cut out fat from your diet or dig out stones from fertile soil. The soil gains nothing from the rocks and grows healthier and more abundantly without the impediments. With practice even the plain truth can be a joy to everyone.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

Go To Next Stanza

Go Back To the Index:

By Day

By Subject

Go To George Herbert: "The Church-porch", Introduction

Go To George Herbert & The Temple Home Page