[The Temple Colonnade, Detail of Model]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   Jordan. (I)

WHo sayes that fictions onely and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?
May no lines passe, except they do their dutie
	Not to a true, but painted chair?

Is it no verse, except enchanted groves
And sudden arbours shadow course-spunne lines?
Must purling streams refresh a lovers loves?
Must all be vail’d, while he that reades, divines,
	Catching the sense at two removes?

Shepherds are honest people; let them sing:
Riddle who list, for me, and pull for Prime:1
I envie no mans nightingale or spring;
Nor let them punish me with losse of rime,
	Who plainly say, My God, My King.

1 pull for Prime. To continue to prime the pump until you get water, oil or what you are looking for; to get the pump started. [Return

On Beauty see also Forerunners.

Criticism: "Herbert's 'Deniall,' 'Jordan' I & II, and 'A Wreath'" (The difficulty of writing poetry) by Roberta Albrecht in The Explicator. [Poems cited: "Deniall," "Jordan I," "Jordan II," "A Wreath."]

Compare Keats "Beauty is Truth; Truth Beauty" from "Ode on a Grecian Urn" with "Is there in Truth no Beauty?"

The original Star Trek episode #62 from the third season was entitled: "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" The following is quoted from a Star Trek fan site, no longer on the web.

"A poem called ’Jordan’ by the seventeenth-century metaphysical poet George Herbert contains the following passage:
Who says that fictions only and false hair become a verse?
Is there in truth no beauty? "Jordan," st. 1

"This quote fits in well with the philosophy of IDIC--Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations--which is introduced in the Star Trek episode ’Is There in Truth No Beauty?’ The Medusan is a creature considered by humans to be too ugly to bear. Dr. Miranda Jones questions whether [the Medusan] Ambassador Kollos is, rather, too beautiful to bear. Miranda herself hides her vulnerability to avoid being pitied. The inner natures of both Kollos and Miranda turn out to be quite beautiful. The creators of Star Trek realized that things other than ’fictions and false hair’ were suitable topics for drama; real or apparent ugliness and the dark side of life were dealt with often in the show, with the goal of finding meaning in diversity, and beauty in truth." (TL)

[Editor’s note: Herbert would not have approved the IDIC reason, except to believe, if not know, that there is Beauty in what is True. Spock in his blindness realized this.]

Shaker Hymn Tune "Simple Gifts" 1848
1633 Poem Index Links to Criticism George Herbert & The Temple Home Page