LenTree For George Herbert

Day 41: Monday

The Son

Let foreign nations of their language boast,

What fine variety each tongue affords:

I like our language, as our men and coast:

Who cannot dress it well, want wit, not words.

How neatly do we give one only name

To parents’ issue and the sun’s bright star!

A son is light and fruit; a fruitful flame

Chasing the father’s dimness, carried far

From the first man in th’ East, to fresh and new

Western discov’ries of posterity.

So in one word our Lord’s humility

We turn upon him in a sense most true:

     For what Christ once in humbleness began,

     We him in glory call, The Son of Man.

1633 Edition

The Call1

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:

Such a Way, as gives us breath:

Such a Truth, as ends all strife:

Such a Life, as killeth death.


Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:

Such a Light, as shows a feast:

Such a Feast, as mends in length:

Such a Strength, as makes his guest.


Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:

Such a Joy, as none can move:

Such a Love, as none can part:

Such a Heart, as joys in love.

1633 Edition

1 Ralph Vaughan Williams composed 5 Mystical Songs using George Herbert's poems: 1. Easter ["Easter" section A], 2. I Got Me Flowers ["Easter" section B], 3. Love Bade Me Welcome [Love (III)], 4. The Call, and 5. Antiphon ["Antiphon (I)"]. [If you can hear the music you can Return to sing the words.]  

General note on puns: In modern usage all puns are humorous, or are supposed to be funny. Before the Eighteenth Century, which was also before standardized spelling, puns were a way of uniting 2 ideas with one sound. In the Bible, God uses puns to communicate meaning in visions. See Jeremiah 1:11Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree {shaw-kade}. 12Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten {shaw-kad} my word to perform it. ["almond" and "hasten/awaken" are puns in Hebrew.] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769. Also see John Donne, "A Hymn to God the Father" for a serious use of puns [done and Donne].


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