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

Day 5: Morning


If reason move not Gallants, quit the room,

(All in a shipwrack shift their severall way)

Let not a common ruine thee intombe:

Be not a beast in courtesie; but stay,

    Stay at the third cup, or forgo the place.

   Wine above all things doth Gods stamp deface.

          The room where everyone is getting drunk is a shipwreck, a disaster area, and, in a shipwreck, everyone has to save him/herself. Get out while you can. Do not join the calamity, and do not drown in the same wreck. Avoid degrading yourself into an animal by staying with your friends for the sake of courtesy, but stop at the third glass or leave. Wine more than anything else deforms the Image of God.

          When reason does not motivate or influence the gentlemen and ladies, you know it is time to leave; the wine has taken over. If you stay and join in the ship wreck, you will end by abandoning this ship to save yourself. No one else will help you, except as shipmates compounding the disaster. Each has his own, an emotional, clouded vision. As the ship of reason founders under this shameful crew, each one goes his/her own way. There would be no Captain to guide the ship, and none to enact reason to save the ship. If you still have your reason, and have not taken the third glass, you will recognize the signs and leave the shipwreck to save your own reason, and maintain God's image in you.

          There is in these last several stanzas a social caution, be careful who your friends are and what they lead you to expect of yourself. Reason, the ability to make clear uncluttered decisions is the best of friends, and good friends keep reason company. If reason is the barometer, you may also detect those drunk with power and control. Should the same response apply? Maintain your resemblance to God.

© 1997 J. R. Arner

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