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


¶   Justice. (I)

         I Cannot skill of these thy ways.
Lord, thou didst make me, yet thou woundest me;
Lord, thou dost wound me, yet thou dost relieve me:
Lord, thou relievest, yet I die by thee:
Lord, thou dost kill me, yet thou dost reprieve me.

         But when I mark my life and praise,
         Thy justice me most fitly payes:
For, I do praise thee, yet I praise thee not:
My prayers mean thee, yet my prayers stray:
I would do well, yet sinne the hand hath got:
My soul doth love thee, yet it loves delay.
         I cannot skill of these my wayes.

Editor’s Note: Some editions print the 6th line with the first stanza, to make two symmetrical stanzas. The 1633 edition prints them this way.

Modern version
1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page