George Herbert

THE ELIXIR.                       

TEACH me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for Thee.

Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into action ;
But still to make Thee prepossest,
And give it his perfection.

A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye,
Or, if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heav'n espy.

All may of Thee partake ;
Nothing can be so mean
Which with his* tincture (for Thy sake)
Will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine :
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and th' action fine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold ;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.

* In the seventh edition of  “ Herbert”  this word
is printed “ this,”  not his,  which appears to us
the more intelligible reading.

Herbert, George. The Works of George Herbert in Prose and Verse.
New York: John Wurtele Lovell, 1881. 288-289.

to Works of George Herbert

Site copyright ©1996-2001 Anniina Jokinen. All Rights Reserved.
Created by Anniina Jokinen on July 30, 2001.