[Crusader's Gate, Jerusalem]George Herbert: "The Church-porch"

Day 4: Evening


Shall I, to please anothers wine-sprung minde,

Lose all mine own? God hath giv'n me a measure

Short of his canne and bodie; must I finde

A pain in that, wherein he findes a pleasure?

     Stay at the third glasse: if thou lose thy hold,

     Then thou art modest, and the wine grows bold.

          Shall I lose my mind so that I can please someone who has already lost his to drink? God has given me and every human being a measure of ability less than His own in knowledge (canne) and body. If drinking, and the consequences of drink, give someone else a pleasure and me pain, must I pursue that pain? Stop at the third glass for it humbles you; you become the servant, and the wine, the master.

          Herbert recognized the greatest abuse of stimulants in his time. Our progress has been to discover and create other sources for misuse. Other alcohol, drugs, narcotics, even misused prescriptions should be considered. More than substances cause dependency and addiction. If any habit causes you pain, even if others enjoy it and recommend it, consider the value for you. Give up the pain. If their use causes any person to lose control over his decisions, it should be limited. The line that should not be crossed is: "If I take this next drink, pill, etc., will I still have full control? Will I know what I am doing? Will I take the responsibility for the consequences, the result from my actions?" And this injunction applies to women and men of all ages.

          We are given certain abilities, talents and frailties. We use each individually or in consort. We misuse them when we cloud their benefits and diminish their value below what we are given. The servant who hid the talent still returned one talent to the master. If we indulge our social friends, we return less than the one talent.

"wine-sprung mind" - like opening a watch and the insides pop out.
© 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