George Herbert

By   /  January 5, 2011  /  No Comments

England’s greatest religious poet

“A verse may find him who a sermon flies.”

It was the New Year’s celebration, and Magdalen Newport Herbert had received two sonnets from her son, George. These were quite unlike those of William Shakespeare, who had published his Sonnets the year earlier. They were far more akin to the work of John Donne, who had dedicated his Holy Sonnets to Magdalen, his patron. They referred not to his mother’s kindness, her beauty, or any other characteristic, nor did they mention the occasion for the sonnet, New Year’s Day. Instead, George wrote that the love of God is a fitter subject for verse than the love of woman. It foreshadowed the aesthetic and vocational bent of a man who was to become one of England’s finest metaphysical poets. Read the rest of this article at

“Love” by George Herbert

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin. But quicked-ey’d Love, Observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in, Drew near to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack’d any thing.

A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be here:
Love said, You should be he. I the unkinde, engrateful? ah my deare,
I can not look on thee. Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I hav marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve. And know you not, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve. You must sit down, sayes love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

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