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


¶   The Odour, 2.Cor.2.

HOw sweetly doth My Master sound! My Master!
                    As Amber-greese1 leaves a rich sent
                                               Unto the taster;
                    So do these words a sweet content,
An orientall fragrancie, My Master.

With these all day I do perfume my minde,
                    My minde ev’n thrust into them both
                                               That I might finde
                    What cordials make this curious broth,
This broth of smells, that feeds and fats my minde.

My Master, shall I speak? O that to thee
                    My servant were a little so,
                                               As flesh may be;
                    That these two words might creep & grow
To some degree of spicinesse to thee!

Then should the Pomander,2 which was before
                    A speaking sweet, mend by reflection,
                                               And tell me more:
                    For pardon of my Imperfection
Would warm and work it sweeter then before.

For when My Master, which alone is sweet,
                    And even in my unworthinesse pleasing,
                                                Shall call and meet,
                    My servant, as thee not displeasing,
That call is but the breathing of the sweet.

This breathing would with gains by sweetning me
                    (As sweet things traffick when they meet)
                                               Return to thee.
                    And so this new commerce and sweet
Should all my life employ and busie me.

1 amber-greese, from the French ambre gris, or grey amber. (several spellings) A grey, wax-like substance found floating on tropical seas or the morbid secretions in the intestines of the sperm-whale from which perfume is made. (Oxford English Dictionary) [Return]
2 pomander. An aromatic mixture of substances formed in a ball or carried in a box, worn around the wrist or neck, or carried on the person. Particularly  to prevent infection. (lines from "The Odour" quoted in The Oxford English Dictionary)  [Return]

2 Corinthians 2:14-16

14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?  - The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
Music Interpretation: "The Fragrance of My Master" by Red Dragon  To open music in another window.

Webmaster's note: Until the Internet upgrades to George Orwell's "Smellavision," you'll have to imagine a sweet perfume made of sperm-whale intestinal secretions.

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