[The Third Temple]from The Temple (1633), By George Herbert:


¶   The H. Communion.

NOt in rich furniture, or fine aray,
	              Nor in a wedge of gold,
	              Thou, who for me wast sold,
           To me dost now thy self convey;
For so thou should’st without me still have been,
	              Leaving within me sinne:

But by the way of nourishment and strength
	              Thou creep’st into my breast;
	              Making thy way my rest,
           And thy small quantities my length;
Which spread their forces into every part,
	              Meeting sinnes force and art.

Yet can these not get over to my soul,
	              Leaping the wall that parts
	              Our souls and fleshy hearts;
           But as th’ outworks, they may controll
My rebel-flesh, and carrying thy name,
	              Affright both sinne and shame.

Onley thy grace, which with these elements comes,
	              Knoweth the ready way,
	              And hath the privie key,
           Op’ning the souls most subtile rooms;
While those to spirits refin’d, at doore attend
	              Dispatches from their friend.

Give me my captive soul, or take
	       My bodie also thither.
Another lift like this will make 
	       Them both to be together.

Before that sinne turn’d flesh to stone,
	       And all our lump to leaven;
A fervent sigh might well have blown
	       Our innocent earth to heaven.

For sure when Adam did not know
	       To sinne, or sinne to smother;
He might to heav’n from Paradise go,
	       As from  one room t’another.

Thou hast restor’d us to  this ease
	       By this thy heav’nly bloud;
Which I can go to, when I please,
	       And leave th’earth to their food.

Interpretation: 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.

Note on Form: Herbert’s poems sometimes take a double-poem organization with two separate stanza forms. Because he played the lute and was familiar with popular songs of his day, he may have adapted this two-part structure. He may even have intended the poems to be sung.

When used simply for dancing [the pavane] was followed by a quicker dance in triple time, generally a galliard, consisting of leaps. Such pairing of dances was a constant practice throughout the [sixteenth] century. - Alec Robinson and Denis Stevens, ed. The Penguin History of Music (Penguin Books: Baltimore, 1967) Vol. 2, p. 179.

John Dowland used the rounded binary [AABB] form in "The Sacred Queen Elizabeth, Her Galliard," and Thomas Morley used it in "The Merry Month of Maying."

On the 2-in-1, or binary, poem form see also Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, Church-floor and The Offering.

Holy Communion 1559 for George Herbert. From the Elizabethan Book of Common Prayer with appropriate poems added from The Temple.

1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page