[The Temple Outer Court, Jerusalem, Model]from The Temple (1633), by George Herbert:


¶   Longing.

                VVIth sick and famisht eyes,
With doubling knees and weary bones,
                                To thee my cries,
                                To thee my grones,
To thee my sighs, my tears ascend:
                                            No end?

                   My throat, my soul is hoarse;
My heart is wither’d like a ground
                                Which thou dost curse.
                                My thoughts turn round,
And make me giddie; Lord, I fall,
                                            Yet call.

                From thee all pitie flows.
Mothers are kinde, because thou art,
                                And dost dispose
                                To them a part:
Their infants, them; and they suck thee
                                            More free.

                Bowels of pitie, hear!
Lord of my soul, love of my minde,
                                Bow down thine eare!
                                Let not the winde
Scatter my words, and in the same
                                            Thy name!

                Look on my sorrows round!
Mark well my furnace! O what flames,
                                What heats abound!
                                What griefs, what shames!
Consider, Lord; Lord, bow thine ear,
                                            And hear!

                Lord Jesu, thou didst bow
Thy dying head upon the tree:
                                O be not now
                                More dead to me!
Lord heare! Shall he that made the eare,
                                             Not heare?

                Behold, thy dust doth stirre,
It moves, it creeps, it aims at thee:
                                Wilt thou deferre
                                To succour me,
Thy pile of dust, wherein each crumme
                                            Sayes, Come?

                To thee help appertains.
Hast thou left all things to their course,
                                And laid the reins
                                Upon the horse?
Is all lockt? hath a sinners plea
                                            No key?

                Indeed the world’s thy book,
Where all things have their leafe assign’d:
                                Yet a meek look
                                Hath interlin’d.
Thy board is full, yet humble guests
                                            Finde nests.

                Thou tarriest, while I die,
And fall to nothing: thou dost reigne,
                                And rule on high,
                                While I remain
In bitter grief; yet am I stil’d
                                            Thy childe.

                Lord, didst thou leave thy throne,
Not to relieve? how can it be,
                                That thou art grown
                                Thus hard to me?
Were sinne alive, good cause there were
                                             To bear.

                But now both sinne is dead,
And all thy promises live and bide.
                                That wants his head;
                                These speak and chide,
And in thy bosome poure my tears,
                                            As theirs.

                Lord JESU, heare my heart,
Which hath been broken now so long,
                                That ev’ry part
                                Hath got a tongue!
Thy beggars grow; rid them away
                                            To day.

                My love, my sweetnesse, heare!
By these thy feet, at which my heart
                                Lies all the yeare,
                                Pluck out thy dart,
And heal my troubled breast which cries,
                                            Which dyes.

Professor's Note: The rhythm of the stanza should be appreciated. [See Music Interpretation below.]

Harmonica Sacra (1688) includes Henry Purcell’s setting of "Longing."

Internet Links to George Herbert and Music.

Music Interpretation: "Longing" in G minor for SATB and Organ, by Red Dragon  (selected verses).

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