George Herbert


            DEATH, thou wast once an uncouth hideous thing,
                                      Nothing but bones,
                          The sad effect of sadder grones :
            Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing.

      For we consider'd thee as at some six
                                      Or ten yeares hence,
                    After the losse of life and sense,
            Flesh being turn'd to dust, and bones to sticks.

            We lookt on this side of thee, shooting short ;
                                            Where we did finde
                    The shells of fledge souls left behinde,
            Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort.


            But since our Saviours death did put some bloud
                                      Into thy face ;
                          Thou art grown fair and full of grace,
            Much in request, much sought for, as a good.

            For we do now behold thee gay and glad,
                                      As at dooms-day ;
                          When souls shall wear their new aray,
            And all thy bones with beautie shall be clad.

            Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
                                      Half that we have
                          Unto an honest faithfull grave ;
            Making our pillows either down, or dust.

Herbert, George. The Poetical Works of George Herbert.
New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857. 236-238.

Engraving designed by Birket Foster ; engraved by Edmund Evans.

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