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


¶   Employment. (II)

HE that is weary, let him sit.
                             My soul would stirre
And trade in courtesies and wit,
                             Quitting the furre
To cold complexions needing it.

Man is no starre, but a quick coal
                             Of mortall fire;
Who blows it not, nor doth controll
                             A faint desire,
Lets his own ashes choke his soul.

When th’ elements did for place contest
                             With him, whose will
Ordain’d the highest to be best;
                             The earth sat still,
And by the others is opprest.

Life is a business, not good cheer;
                             Ever in warres.
The sunne still shineth there or here,
                             Whereas the starres
Watch an advantage to appeare.

Oh that I were an Orenge-tree,1
                             That busie plant!
Then should I ever laden be,
                             And never want
Some fruit for him that dressed me.

But we are still too young or old;
                             The man is gone,
Before we do our wares unfold:
                             So we freeze on,
Untill the grave increase our cold.

The Orenge Tree 1 Orenge-tree. "These trees [lemon, lime, orange and Assyrian apple] be alwaies greene, and do, as Pliny saith, beare fruit at all times of the yere, some falling off, others waxing ripe, and others newly comming forth." - The quotation and illustration at right are from John Gerarde (or Gerard), The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, (Norton and Whittaker: London, 1633), p. 1464. [Return]


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