LenTree For George Herbert

Day 29: Wednesday


     O spiteful bitter thought!

Bitterly spiteful thought! Could you invent

So high a torture: Is such poison bought?

Doubtless, but in the way of punishment.

          When wit contrives to meet with thee,

          No such rank poison can there be.


     You said but even now,

That all was not so fair, as I conceived,

Betwixt my God and me; that I allow

And coin large hopes, but that I was deceived:

          Either the league was broke, or near it;

          And, that I had great cause to fear it.


     And what to this? what more

Could poison, if it had a tongue, express?

What is your aim? would you unlock the door

To cold despairs, and gnawing pensiveness?

          Would you raise devils? I see, I know,

          I writ your purpose long ago.


     But I will to my Father,

Who heard you say it. O most gracious Lord,

If all the hope and comfort that I gather,

Were from my self, I had not half a word,

          Not half a letter to oppose

          What is objected by my foes.


     But you are my dessert:

And in this league, which now my foes invade,

You are not only to perform your part,

But also mine; as when the league was made

          You did at once your self indite,

          And hold my hand, while I did write.


     Wherefore if you can fail,

Then can your truth and I: but while rocks stand,

And rivers stir, you can not shrink or quail:

Yea, when both rocks and all things shall disband,

          Then shall you be my rock and tower,

          And make their ruin praise your power.


     Now foolish thought go on,

Spin out your thread, and make thereof a coat

To hide your shame: for you have cast a bone

Which boomerangs, and will not down your throat:

          What for itself love once began,

          Now love and truth will end in man.

1633 Edition


Index by Poem Title Lent Order Index

LenTree For George Herbert. The Altar.

George Herbert & The Temple