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


¶     The Search.

VVHither, O, whither art thou fled,
                                    My Lord, my Love?
My searches are my daily bread;
                                    Yet never prove.

My knees pierce th’earth, mine eies the skie;
                                    And yet the sphere
And centre both to me denie
                                    That thou art there.

Yet can I mark how herbs below
                                    Grow green and gay,
As if to meet thee they did know,
                                    While I decay.

Yet can I mark how starres above
                                    Simper and shine,
As having keyes unto they love,
                                    While poore I pine.

I sent a sigh to seek thee out,
                                    Deep drawn in pain,
Wing’d like an arrow: but my scout
                                    Returns in vain.

I tun’d another (having store)
                                    Into a grone;
Because the search was dumbe before:
                                    But all was one.

Lord, dost thou some new fabrick mold
                                    Which favour winnes,
And keeps thee present, leaving th’ old
                                    Unto their sinnes?

Where is my God? what hidden place
                                    Conceals thee still?
What covert dare eclipse thy face?
                                    Is it thy will?

O let not that of any thing;
                                    Let rather brasse,
Or steel, or mountains be thy ring,
                                    And I will passe.

Thy will such an intrenching is,
                                    As passeth thought:
To it all strength, all subtilties
                                    Are things of nought.

Thy will such a strange distance is,
                                    As that to it
East and West touch, the poles do kisse,
                                    And parallels meet.

Since then my grief must be as large,
                                    As is thy space,
Thy distance from me; see my charge,
                                    Lord, see my case.

O take these barres, these lengths away;
                                    Turn, and restore me:
Be not Almightie, let me say,
                                    Against, but for me.

When thou dost turn, and wilt be neare;
                                    What edge so keen,
What point so piercing can appeare
                                    To come between?

For as thy absence doth excell
                                    All distance known:
So doth thy nearenesse bear the bell,
                                    Making two one.

Note: The image of the bell concludes the development of the poem. Two different beings, God and man paralleled by the bell and the clapper or gong. Uniting the two forms an entity different from either. The coming together of God and man makes a longed-for, satisfying relationship; the meeting of bell and gong create the expectant, etherial sound; making the two, one. The greater the distance and the harder the journey the louder the sound. [JRA]

Musical Interpretation: "The Search," in A Minor, sort of, for a capella quartet  by Red Dragon   To open music in another window.

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