George Herbert

Poems not included in The Temple*

[Sonnet (I)]             

My God, where is that ancient heat towards thee,
    Wherewith whole showls of Martyrs once did burn,
    Besides their other flames? Doth Poetry
Wear Venus livery? only serve her turn?
Why are not Sonnets made of thee? and layes
    Upon thine Altar burnt? Cannot thy love
    Heighten a spirit to sound out thy praise
As well as any she? Cannot thy Dove
Out-strip their Cupid easily in flight?
    Or, since thy wayes are deep, and still the fame,
    Will not a verse run smooth that bears thy name!
Why doth that fire, which by thy power and might
    Each breast does feel, no braver fuel choose
    Than that, which one day, Worms, may chance refuse?

* From Walton's Life. This, and Sonnet II, were sent
by Herbert to his mother in 1610 'as a New-years gift' ;
They declare, he told her, 'my resolution to be, that
my poor Abilities in Poetry shall be all, and ever
consecrated to Gods glory'.


Herbert, George. The English Poems of George Herbert.
C. A. Patrides, Ed.
London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1974. Repr. 1991. 205.

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