George Herbert



LORD how couldst thou so much appease
Thy wrath for sinne, as when mans sight was dimme,
And could see little, to regard his ease,
        And bring by Faith all things to him ?

        Hungrie I was, and had no meat :
I did conceit a most delicious feast ;
I had it straight, and did as truly eat,
        As ever did a welcome guest.

        There is a rare outlandish root,
Which when I could not get, I thought it here :
That apprehension cur’d so well my foot,
        That I can walk to heav’n well neare.

        I owed thousands and much more :
I did beleeve that I did nothing owe,
And liv’d accordingly ;  my creditor
        Beleeves so too, and lets me go.

        Faith makes me any thing, or all
That I beleeve is in the sacred storie :
And where sinne placeth me in Adams fall,
        Faith sets me higher in his glorie.

        If I go lower in the book,
What can be lower than the common manger ?
Faith puts me there with him, who sweetly took
        Our flesh and frailtie, death and danger.

        If blisse had lien in art or strength,
None but the wise or strong had gained it :
Where now by Faith all arms are of a length ;
        One size doth all conditions fit.

        A peasant may beleeve as much
As a great Clerk, and reach the highest stature.
Thus dost thou make proud knowledge bend and crouch,
        While grace fills up uneven nature.

        When creatures had no reall light
Inherent in them, thou didst make the sunne,
Impute a lustre, and allow them bright :
        And in this shew, what Christ hath done.

        That which before was darkned clean
With bushie groves, pricking the lookers eie,
Vanisht away, when Faith did change the scene :
        And then appear’d a glorious skie.

        What though my bodie run to dust ?
Faith cleaves unto it, counting evr’y grain,
With an exact and most particular trust,
        Reserving all for flesh again.

Herbert, George. The Poetical Works of George Herbert.
New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857. 59-61.

Engraving designed by Birket Foster ; engraved by Edmund Evans.

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