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


¶   A true Hymne

                      MY joy, my life, my crown!
          My heart was meaning all the day,
                      Somewhat it fain would say:
And still it runneth mutt’ring up and down
With onely this, My joy, my life, my crown.

                      Yet slight not these few words:
          If truly said, they may take part
                      Among the best in art.
The finenesse which a hymne or psalme affords,
Is, when the soul unto the lines accords.

                      He who craves all the minde,
          And all the soul, and strength, and time,
                      If the words onely ryme,
Justly complains, that somewhat is behinde
To make his verse, or write a hymne in kinde.

                      Whereas if th’ heart be moved,
          Although the verse be somewhat scant,
                      God doth supplie the want.
As when th’ heart sayes (sighing to be approved)
O, could I love! And stops: God writeth, Loved.

Explication: "Herbert's 'A True Hymn'" by Paul McCann in The Explicator.

Musical Interpretation: "A true Hymne," in C Major, SATB, by Red Dragon. 

Shaker Hymn Tune "Simple Gifts" 1848
1633 Poem Index George Herbert & The Temple Home Page