[Giotto, Crucifixion]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   The Crosse.

         WHat is this strange and uncouth thing?
To make me sigh, and seek, and faint, and die,
Untill I had some place, where I might sing,
          And serve thee; and not onely I,
But all my wealth and familie might combine
To set thy honour up, as our designe.

          And then when after much delay,
Much wrastling, many a combate, this deare end,
So much desir’d, is giv’n, to take away
          My power to serve thee; to unbend
All my abilities, my designes confound,
And lay my threatnings bleeding on the ground.

          One ague dwelleth in my bones,
Another in my soul (the memorie
What I would do for thee, if once my grones
          Could be allow’d for harmonie):
I am in all a weak disabled thing,
Save in the sight thereof, where strength doth sting.

          Besides, things sort not to my will,
Ev’n when my will doth studie thy renown:
Thou turnest th’ edge of all things on me still,
          Taking me up to throw me down:
So that, ev’n when my hopes seem to be sped,
I am to grief alive, to them as dead.

          To have my aim, and yet to be
Further from it then when I bent my bow;
To make my hopes my torture, and the fee
          Of all my woes another wo,
Is in the midst of delicates to need,
And ev’n in Paradise to be a weed.

          Ah my deare Father, ease my smart!
These contrarieties crush me: these crosse actions
Doe winde a rope about, and cut my heart:
          And yet since these thy contradictions
Are properly a crosse felt by the Sonne,
With but foure words, my words, Thy will be done.

Related Criticism: "Show and tell: George Herbert, Richard Sibbes, and communings with God." by Daniel W. Doerksen. Christianity and Literature, Wntr 2002 v51 i2 p175(17). [Works cited: "The Holdfast," "Clasping of Hands," "Assurance," "A true Hymne," "The Pearl," "The Crosse," "Coloss. 3.3," "The Flower," "Unkindnesse," "The Method," "Church-lock and key," "Praise (II)"]

Modern version
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