George Herbert



SWEET PEACE, where dost thou dwell ?  I humbly crave,
                        Let me once know.
        I sought thee in a secret cave,
                And ask’d, if Peace were there.
A hollow winde did seem to answer, No :
                        Go seek elsewhere.

I did ;  and going did a rainbow note :
                        Surely, thought I,
        This is the lace of Peaces coat :
                I will search out the matter.
But while I lookt, the clouds immediately
                        Did break and scatter.

Then went I to a garden, and did spy
                        A gallant flower,
        The crown Imperiall :  Sure, said I,
                Peace at the root must dwell.
But when I digg’d, I saw a worm devoure
                        What show’d so well.

At length I met a rev’rend good old man :
                        Whom when of Peace
        I did demand, he thus began ;
                There was a Prince of old
At Salem dwelt, who liv’d with good increase
                        Of flock and fold.

He sweetly liv’d ;  yet sweetnesse did not save
                        His life from foes.
        But after death out of his grave
                There sprang twelve stalks of wheat :
Which many wondring at, got some of those
                        To plant and set.

It prosper’d strangely, and did soon disperse
                        Through all the earth :
        For they that taste it do rehearse,
                That vertue lies therein ;
A secret vertue bringing peace and mirth
                        By flight of sinne.

Take of this grain, which in my garden grows,
                        And grows for you ;
        Make bread of it :  and that repose
                And peace, which ev’ry where
With so much earnestnesse you do pursue
                        Is onely there.

Herbert, George. The Poetical Works of George Herbert.
New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857. 159-161.

Engraving designed by Birket Foster ; engraved by Edmund Evans.

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