by George Herbert

George Herbert

Lord, let the Angels praise thy name.
Man is a foolish thing, a foolish thing,
Folly and Sinne play all his game.
His house still burns; and yet he still doth sing,
Man is but grasse,
He knows it, fill the glasse.

How canst thou brook his foolishnesse?
Why, he'l not lose a cup of drink for thee:
Bid him but temper his excesse;
Not he: he knows, where he can better be,
As he will swear,
Then to serve thee in fear.
What strange pollutions doth he wed,
And make his own? as if none knew, but he.
No man shall beat into his head
That thou within his curtains drawn canst see:
They are of cloth,
Where never yet came moth.
The best of men, turn but thy hand
For one poore minute, stumble at a pinne:
They would not have their actions scann'd
Nor any sorrow tell them that they sinne,
Though it be small,
And measure not their fall.
They quarrell thee, and would give over
The bargain made to serve thee: but thy love
Holds them unto it, and doth cover
Their follies with the wing of thy milde Dove,
Not suff'ring those
Who would, to be thy foes.
My God, Man caanot praise thy name:
Thou art all brightnesse, perfect puritie:
The sunne holds down his head for shame,
Dead with eclipses, when we speak of thee.
How shall infection
Presume on thy perfection?
As dirtie hands foul all they touch,
And those things most, which are most pure and fine;
So our clay hearts, ev'n when we crouch
To sing thy praises, make them less divine.
Yet either this,
Or none thy portion is.
Man cannot serve thee; let him go
And serve the swine: there, there is his delight:
He doth not like this vertue, no;
Give him his dirt to wallow in all night;
These Preachers make
His head to shoot and ake.
Oh foolish man! where are thine eyes?
How hast thou lost them in a crowd of cares?
Thou pull'st the rug, and wilt not rise,
No not to purchase the whole pack of starres;
There let them shine,
Thou must go sleep, or dine.
The bird that sees a daintie bowre
Made in the tree, where she was wont to sit,
Wonders and sings, but not his power
Who made the arbour: this exceeds her wit.
But Man doth know
The spring, whence all things flow:
And yet as though he knew it not,
His knowledge winks, and lets his humours reigne:
They make his life a constant blot,
And all the bloud of God to run in vain.
Ah, wretch! what verse
Can thy strange wayes rehearse?
Indeed at first Man was a treasure,
A box of jewels, shop of rarities,
A ring, whose posie was, My pleasure:
He was a garden in a Paradise:
Glorie and grace
Did crown his heart and face.
But sinne hath fool'd him. Now he is
A lump of flesh, without a foot or wing
To raise him to the glimpse of blisse:
A sick toss'd vessel, dashing on each thing;
Nay, on his shelf:
My God, I mean myself.

Last updated January 14, 2019