[The Court of the Temple, Jerusalem]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   Deniall.

        WHen my devotions could not pierce
                                     Thy silent eares;
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse;
                My breast was full of fears
                                     And disorder:

        My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow,
                                     Did flie asunder:
Each took his way; some would to pleasures go,
                Some to the warres and thunder
                                     Of alarms.

        As good go any where, they say,
                                     As to benumme
Both knees and heart, in crying night and day,
                Come, come, my God, O come,
                                     But no hearing.

        O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue
                                     To crie to thee,
And then not heare it crying! all day long
                My heart was in my knee,
                                     But no hearing.

        Therefore my soul lay out of sight,
                                     Untun’d, unstrung:
My feeble spirit, unable to look right,
                Like a nipt blossome, hung

        O cheer and tune my heartlesse breast,
                                     Deferre no time;
That so thy favours granting my request,
                They and my minde may chime,
                                     And mend my ryme.

  • "Unstrung Conversations: Herbert's Negotiations with God" by Susannah B. Mintz. Philological Quarterly, Wntr 1998 v77 i1 p41(1). [Poems cited: "Prayer (I)," "Praise (II)," "Holdfast," "Longing," "The Collar," "Sighs and Groans," "Deniall," "Clasping of Hands," "Content," "Temper (I)."]
  • See also Essay: Rhyme as Reason.

    Music Interpretation: "Deniall," in E minor, a Barbershop Arrangement, by Red Dragon. 

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    1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page