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I DARE not ask a kiss;
I dare not beg a smile;
Lest having that or this,

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.


WHY I tie about thy wrist,
Julia, this my silken twist-
For what other reason is 't,
But to show thee how in part
Thou my pretty captive art?
But thy bondslave is my heart.
"Tis but silk that bindeth thee,
Knap the thread and thou art free:
But 'tis otherwise with me;

I am fast, and fast bound so
That from thee I cannot go;
If I could, I would not so.



LORD, Thou hast given me a cell
Wherein to dwell;

A little house, whose humble roof
Is weatherproof,

Under the spars of which I lie

Both soft and dry;

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Where Thou, my chamber for to ward,

Hast set a guard

Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
Me while I sleep.

Low is my porch, as is my fate,
Both void of state;

And yet the threshold of my door
Is worn by th' poor,

Who thither come and freely get
Good words or meat.

Like as my parlour, so my hall
And kitchen 's small:

A little buttery, and therein
A little bin,

Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Unchipped, unflead1;

Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar
Make me a fire,

Close by whose living coal I sit,
And glow like it.

Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
The pulse is Thine,

And all those other bits that be

There placed by Thee;

The worts, the purslane, and the mess

Of water-cress,

Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent;
And my content

Make those, and my beloved beet,

To be more sweet.

"Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth,

i. e. 'not stripped of its crust'. Cf. the word 'flay'.

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And giv'st me wassail-bowls to drink
Spiced to the brink.

Lord, 'tis Thy plenty-dropping hand
That soils my land,

And giv'st me for my bushel sown
Twice ten for one:

Thou mak'st my teeming hen to lay
Her egg each day;

Besides my healthful ewes to bear
Me twins each year;

The while the conduits of my kine
Run cream for wine.

All these and better Thou dost send
Me, to this end-

That I should render for my part
A thankful heart,

Which, fired with incense, I resign
As wholly thine:

But the acceptance-that must be,
My Christ, by Thee.


HERE, a little child, I stand,
Heaving up my either hand:


Cold as puddocks though they be,
Yet I lift them up to Thee,

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!
I will abroad.

What, shall I ever sigh and pine?

My lines and life are free; free as the road,
Loose as the wind, as large as store.

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
Before my tears did drown it.

Is the year only lost to me?

Have I no bays to crown it?

No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?
All wasted?

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
Of what is fit and not; forsake thy cage,

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,
Guilty of dust and sin.

But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,

Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,

'If I lacked anything.'



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