Sunday, March 13, 2011

Poetry Splash - George Herbert

I'm not a big fan of poetry, but lately my classes have had me reading a lot of it. Most poems, unfortunately, I couldn't care less about, but some are pretty great, so I'm going to start posting some of those. First off: George Herbert (1593-1633), religious metaphysical poet known for his book of poems The Temple.

The Pilgrimage

I traveled on, seeing the hill where lay
My expectation.
A long it was and weary way.
The gloomy cave of desperation
I left on th' one, and on the other side
The rock of pride.

And so I came to fancy's meadow, strowed
With many a flower;
Fain would I here have made my abode,
But I was quickened by my hour.
So to care's copse I came, and there got through
With much ado.

That led me to the wild of passion, which
Some call the wold -
A wasted place but sometimes rich,
Here I was robbed of all my gold
Save one good angel, which a friend had tied
Close to my side.

At length I got unto the gladsome hill
Where lay my hope,
Where lay my heart; and, climbing still,
When I had gained the brow and top,
A lake of brackish waters on the ground
Was all I found.

With that abashed, and struck with many a sting
Of swarming fears,
I fell, and cried, "Alas, my king!
Can both the way and end be tears?"
Yet taking heart I rose, and then perceived
I was deceived:

My hill was further; so I flung away,
Yet heard a cry,
Just as I went: None goes that way
And lives: "If that be all," said I,
"After so foul a journey, death is fair,
And but a chair."

The Pulley

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
"Let us," said he, "pour on him all we can:
Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span."

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honor, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

"For if I should," said He,
"Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be.

"Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast."

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