[Cluster from Eschol, Medieval etching.]LenTree For George Herbert

 Day 42: Tuesday

The Bunch of Grapes

Joy, I did lock you up: but some bad man

               Has let you out again:

And now, I think, I am where I began

     Sev'n years ago: one vogue and vein,

     One air of thoughts usurps my brain

I did towards Canaan draw; but now I am

Brought back to the Red Sea, the sea of shame.


For as the Jews of old by God's command

               Traveled, and saw no town;

So now each Christian has his journeys spanned:

    Their story pens and sets us down.

     A single deed is small renown.

God's works are wide, and let in future times;

His ancient justice overflows our crimes.


Then have we too our guardian fires and clouds;

               Our Scripture-dew drops fast:

We have our sands and serpents, tents and shrouds;

     Alas! our murmurings come not last.

     But where's the cluster?1 where's the taste

Of mine inheritance? Lord, if I must borrow,

Let me as well take up their joy, as sorrow.


But can he want the grape, who hath the wine?

               I have their fruit and more.

Blessed be God, who prosper’d Noahs vine,

     And made it bring forth grapes good store.

     But much more him I must adore,

Who of the Laws sowre juice sweet wine did make,

Ev’n God himself being pressed for my sake.

1633 Edition

1 Fulfillment of The Promised Land. Numbers 13:23,24 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. 24 The place was called the brook Eshcol ["cluster"], because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence. - The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769. [Return]

Problem: Who is the "bad man" in line 1? Who would let Joy loose after the persona had captured it/him/her? [The answer may be too much. Return.]

Hymn Tune: "Cwm Rhondda," "Lead Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah." Different from Herbert, the words also deal with the Exodus through the Wilderness. . Click to open music in another window.


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