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


¶   Unkindnesse.

LOrd, make me coy and tender to offend:
In friendship, first I think, if that agree,
                                       Which I intend,
                        Unto my friends intent and end.
I would not use a friend, as I use Thee.

If any touch my friend, or his good name,
It is my honour and my love to free
                                       His blasted fame
                        From the least spot or thought of blame.
I could not use a friend, as I use Thee.

My friend may spit upon my curious1 floor:
Would he have gold? I lend it instantly;
                                       But let the poore,
                        And thou within them, starve at doore.
I cannot use a friend, as I use Thee.

When that my friend pretendeth to a place,2
I quit my interest, and leave it free:
                                       But when they grace
                        Sues for my heart, I thee displace,
Nor would I use a friend, as I use Thee.

Yet can a friend what thou hast done fulfill?
O write in brasse, My God upon a tree
                                       His bloud did spill
                        Onely to purchase my good-will.
Yet use I not my foes, as I use Thee.

1 curious. Intricate, detailed. [Return]
2 pretendeth to a place. To seek office, place or position. [Return]

Editor's Note: The last line is italicized in the 1633 edition.

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