George Herbert

Poems not included in The Temple*

[Sonnet (II)]             

Sure Lord, there is enough in thee to dry
    Oceans of Ink ; for, as the Deluge did
    Cover the Earth, so doth thy Majesty :
Each Cloud distills thy praise, and doth forbid
Poets to turn it to another use.
    Roses and Lillies speak thee ; and to make
    A pair of Cheeks of them, is thy abuse.
Why should I Womens eyes for Chrystal take?
Such poor invention burns in their low mind,
    Whose fire is wild, and doth not upward go
    To praise, and on thee Lord, some Ink bestow.
Open the bones, and you shall nothing find
    In the best face but filth, when Lord, in thee
    The beauty lies, in the discovery.

* From Walton's Life. This, and Sonnet I, 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. 205-206.

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