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


¶    The British Church.

I Joy, deare Mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
                                    Both sweet and bright.

Beautie in thee takes up her place,
And dates her letters from thy face,
                                    When she doth write.

A fine aspect in fit aray,
Neither too mean, nor yet too gay,
                                    Shows who is best.

Outlandish looks may not compare:
For all they either painted are,
                                    Or else undrest.

She on the hills, which wantonly
Allureth all in hope to be
                                    By her preferr’d,

Hath kiss’d so long her painted shrines,
That ev’n her face by kissing shines,
                                    For her reward.

She in the valley is so shie
Of dressing, that her hair doth lie
                                    About her eares:

While she avoids her neighbours pride,
She wholly goes on th’ other side,
                                    And nothing wears.

But dearest Mother, (what those misse)
The mean thy praise and glorie is,
                                    And long may be.

Blessed be God, whose love it was
To double-moat1 thee with his grace,
                                    And none but thee.


Union Flag of Great Britain, 1606-1801, Combined crosses of St. George for England and St. Andrew for Scotland [LINK to flag history]

1 double-moat. A moat is the ditch or channel filled with water that surrounds the castle. So "double-moat" sees the double protection, that is the armour of Christ’s Church and the civil protection of the British state. Therefore the title "The British Church." [This poem can still raise the Church-State controversy.] [Return]

See also Anglican Timeline (Church History).

Whalen, Robert. "'How shall I measure out thy bloud?,' or, 'Weening is not measure': TACT, Herbert, and Sacramental Devotion in the Electronic Temple." Early Modern Literary Studies 5.3 / Special Issue 4 (January, 2000): 7.1-37.

Martz, Louis L. "Donne, Herbert, and the Worm of Controversy." Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 7 (May, 2001): 2.1-28.

Noll, Stephen F. "Trinity - George Herbert and the Crisis of the Episcopal Church." A modern reapplication.

1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page