The Banquet

by George Herbert

George Herbert

Welcome sweet and sacred cheer,
Welcome deare;
With me, in me, live and dwell:
For thy neatnesse passeth sight,
Thy delight
Passeth tongue to taste or tell.
O what sweetnesse from the bowl
Fills my soul,
Such as is, and makes divine!
In some starre (fled from the sphere)
Melted there,
As we sugar melt in wine?
Or hath sweetnesse in the bread
Make a head
To subdue the smell of sinne,
Flowers, and gummes, and powders giving
All their living,
Lest the enemie should winne?
Doubtlesse, neither starre nor flower
Hath the power
Such a sweetnesse to impart:
Onely God, who gives perfumes,
Flesh assumes,
And with it perfumes my heart.
But as Pomanders and wood
Still are good,
Yet being bruis'd are better sented;
God, to show how farre his love
Could improve,
Here, as broken, is presented.
When I had forgot my birth,
And on earth
In delights of earth was drown'd;
God took bloud, and needs would be
Spilt with me,
And so found me on the ground.
Having raised me to look up,
In a cup
Sweetly he doth meet my taste.
But I still being low and short,
Farre from court,
Wine becomes a wing at last.
For with it alone I flie
To the skie:
Where I wipe mine eyes, and see
What I seek, for what I sue;
Him I view
Who hath done so much for me.
Let the wonder of this pitie
Be my dittie,
And take up my lines and life:
Hearken under pain of death,
Hands and breath,
Strive in this, and love the strife.

Last updated January 14, 2019