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I DARE not ask a kiss;
I might grow proud the while.
No, no, the utmost share
Of my desire shall be
Only to kiss the air
That lately kissed thee.
THE BRACELET TO JULIA
WHY I tie about thy wrist,
I am fast, and fast bound so
A THANKSGIVING TO GOD FOR HIS HOUSE
LORD, Thou hast given me a cell
A little house, whose humble roof
Under the spars of which I lie
Both soft and dry;
Where Thou, my chamber for to ward,
Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
Low is my porch, as is my fate,
And yet the threshold of my door
Who thither come and freely get
Like as my parlour, so my hall
A little buttery, and therein
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar
Close by whose living coal I sit,
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
And all those other bits that be
There placed by Thee;
The worts, the purslane, and the mess
Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent;
Make those, and my beloved beet,
To be more sweet.
"Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
i. e. 'not stripped of its crust'. Cf. the word 'flay'.
And giv'st me wassail-bowls to drink
Lord, 'tis Thy plenty-dropping hand
And giv'st me for my bushel sown
Thou mak'st my teeming hen to lay
Besides my healthful ewes to bear
The while the conduits of my kine
All these and better Thou dost send
That I should render for my part
Which, fired with incense, I resign
But the acceptance-that must be,
A GRACE FOR A CHILD
HERE, a little child, I stand,
Cold as puddocks though they be,
For a benison to fall
On our meat, and on us all. Amen.
George HerbERT (1593–1633) was the son of Sir Richard Herbert, and the brother of Lord Herbert of Cherbury. He was educated at Westminster School and at Trinity College, Cambridge, and distinguished himself as a scholar. While at
1 6 'Frogs'.
Cambridge he wrote a series of Latin satiric verses defending the universities for their hostility towards the Puritans. In 1618-19 he became public orator at Cambridge, a post which brought him into frequent relations with the Court. While still a layman he received the prebend of Layton Ecclesia, to which was attached an estate at Leighton Bromswold. The church at Leighton Bromswold was in ruins. Herbert set to work to restore it, and received much help and advice concerning it from Nicholas Ferrar, with whom he soon became intimate. In 1630 Charles I presented him with the living of Fugglestone with Bemerton in Wiltshire. Herbert hesitated to accept it, but his scruples were overcome by Laud, and he settled at Bemerton. He died there three years later.
All his English poems were published posthumously. The most important of them are: The Temple (1633); a verse rendering of eight psalms (?), and a few scattered poems including two sonnets to his mother (published by Walton in his Life of Herbert), A Paradox, and an Address to the Queen of Bohemia. His chief prose work is A Priest to the Temple, or The Country Parson, his Character and Rule of Holy Life. The first edition also included a tract called Jacula Prudentum. He added to Ferrar's translation of Lessius's Hygiasticion a translation from the Latin of Cornaro, entitled A Treatise of Temperance and Sobriety. In 1640 appeared in Witt's Recreation, 'Outlandish Proverbs selected by Mr. G. H.,' which was later reprinted with 'The Author's Prayers before and after Sermons'.
I STRUCK the board, and cried 'No more!
What, shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the road,
Shall I be still in suit?
Have I no harvest but a thorn
To let me blood, and not restore
What I have lost with cordial fruit ?
Sure there was wine
Before my sighs did dry it: there was corn
Is the year only lost to me?
Have I no bays to crown it?
No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?
Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,
And thou hast hands.
Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures; leave thy cold dispute
Thy rope of sands,
Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee Good cable to enforce and draw,
And be thy law
While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
Away, take heed:
I will abroad.
Call in thy death's-head there: tie up thy fears.
He that forbears
To suit and serve his need,
Deserves his load.'
But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild
At every word,
Methought I heard one calling, 'Child!'
And I replied, 'My Lord!'
LOVE bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
'If I lacked anything.'