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


¶   Giddinesse.

OH what a thing is man! how farre from power,
                      From setled peace and rest!
He is some twentie sev’rall men at least
                      Each sev’rall houre.

One while he counts of heav’n, as of his treasure:
                      But then a thought creeps in,
And calls him coward, who for fear of sinne
                      Will lose a pleasure.

Now he will fight it out, and to the warres;
                      Now eat his bread in peace,
And snudge1 in quiet: now he scorns increase;
                      Now all day spares.

He builds a house, which quickly down must go,
                      As if a whirlwinde blew
And crusht the building; and it’s partly true,
                      His minde is so.

O what a sight were Man, if his attires
                      Did alter with his minde;
And like a Dolphins skinne, his clothes combin’d
                      With his desires!

Surely if each one saw anothers heart,
                      There would be no commerce,
No sale or bargain passe: all would disperse,
                      And live apart.

Lord, mend or rather make us: one creation
                      Will not suffice our turn:
Except thou make us dayly, we shall spurn
                      Our own salvation.

1 snudge. to remain still or quiet; nestle. (This line quoted in Oxford English Dictionary). [Return]

JavaScript Version JavaScript Version
1633 Poem Index Links to Criticism George Herbert & The Temple Home Page