|George Herbert 1593-1633|
Way back in college, my sister, Kathi and I attended the same elective (a "yawner"), . . . ready? "Seventeenth Century Prose and Poetry." Really, I had hope that this class may yield something out of my normal range (which wouldn't have taken much). And though much was a bit on the dull side (especially then), at least one writer loomed large in my mind -- George Herbert. Now, some 37-ish years later, here's an example:
Immortal Heat, O let thy greater flameAttract the lesser to it: let those fires,Which shall consume the world, first make it tame;And kindle in our hearts such true desires,As may consume our lusts, and make thee way.Then shall our hearts pant thee; then shall our brainAll her invention on thine Altar lay,And there in hymns send back thy fire again:Our eyes shall see thee, which before saw dust;Dust blown by wit, till that they both were blind:Thou shalt recover all thy goods in kind,Who wert disseized by usurping lust:All knees shall bow to thee; all wits shall rise,And praise him who did make and mend our eyes.
And there is an example . . . But, if you read this carefully, there is a very modern prayer inferred. How do our minds compete against our hearts in love for Jesus Christ. Herbert was well aware of this and wrote often of it. Whether or not you enjoy poetry, his sentiments are accurate and (as poems can do) surfaces our hypocrisy, exposing it so that it may be amended. May it be so . . . and thank you 17th C Prose and Poetry. Hope you enjoyed it too, Kathi! :-)