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


¶   Praise (III).

          LOrd, I will mean and speak thy praise,
                                         Thy praise alone,
My busie heart shall spin it all my dayes:
         And when it stops for want of store,
Then will I wring it with a sigh or grone,
                      That thou mayst yet have more.

          When thou dost favour any action,
                                         It runnes, it flies:
All things concurre to give it a perfection.
         That which had but two legs before,
When thou dost blesse, hath twelve: one wheel dost rise
                      To twentie then, or more.

          But when thou dost on businesse blow,
                                         It hangs, it clogs:
Not all the teams of Albion1 in a row
         Can hale or draw it out of doore.
Legs are but stumps, and Pharoahs wheels but logs,
                      And struggling hinders more.

          Thousands of things do thee employ
                                         In ruling all
This spacious globe: Angels must have their joy,
         Devils their rod, the sea his shore,
The windes their stint: and yet when I did call,
                      Thou heardst my call, and more.

          I have not lost one single tear:
                                         But when mine eyes
Did weep to heav’n, they found a bottle there
         (As we have boxes for the poor)
Readie to take them in; yet of a size
                      That would contain much more.

          But after thou hadst slipt a drop
                                         From thy right eye,
(Which there did hang like streamers neare the top
         Of some fair church, to show the sore
And bloudie battell which thou once didst trie)
                      The glass was full and more.

          Wherefore I sing. Yet since my heart,
                                         Though press’d, runnes thin;
O that I might some other hearts convert,
         And so take up at use good store:
That in thy chest there might be coming in
                      Both all my praise, and more!

1 Albion. the earliest-known name for the island of Britain. It was used by ancient Greek geographers from the 4th century BC and even earlier, who distinguished “Albion” from Ierne (Ireland) and from smaller members of the British Isles. The Greeks and Romans probably received the name from the Gauls or the Celts. The name Albion has been translated as “white land.” Encyclopedia Brittanica [Return]


  • "'To love the strife': George Herbert's Struggle for his Poetry" by Bruce A. Johnson. Renascence, 00344346, Winter94, Vol. 46, Issue 2. [Poems cited: "Praise (III)," "Denial," "Jordan (II)," "Providence," "The Altar," "The Windows," "Aaron," "The Priesthood," "Grief," "Judgement," "Employment (II)," "The Banquet."]

    Music Interpretation: Hymn/Anthem, "Praise (III)." Only one verse recorded. Use for stanzas 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7.

  • Destinations
    1633 Poem Index Links to Criticism George Herbert & The Temple Home Page