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Best Famous George Herbert Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous George Herbert poems. This is a select list of the best famous George Herbert poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous George Herbert poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of George Herbert poems.

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Written by George Herbert |


          My God, I heard this day
That none doth build a stately habitation,
     But he that means to dwell therein.
What house more stately hath there been, Or can be, than is Man? to whose creation All things are in decay.
For Man is every thing, And more: he is a tree, yet bears more fruit; A beast, yet is or should be more: Reason and speech we only bring.
Parrots may thank us, if they are not mute, They go upon the score.
Man is all symmetry, Full of proportions, one limb to another, And all to all the world besides: Each part may call the furthest, brother; For head with foot hath private amity, And both with moons and tides.
Nothing hath got so far, But man hath caught and kept it, as his prey.
His eyes dismount the highest star: He is in little all the sphere.
Herbs gladly cure our flesh, because that they Find their acquaintance there.
For us the winds do blow, The earth doth rest, heaven move, and fountains flow.
Nothing we see but means our good, As our delight or as our treasure: The whole is either our cupboard of food, Or cabinet of pleasure.
The stars have us to bed; Night draws the curtain, which the sun withdraws; Music and light attend our head.
All things unto our flesh are kind In their descent and being; to our mind In their ascent and cause.
Each thing is full of duty: Waters united are our navigation; Distinguishèd, our habitation; Below, our drink; above, our meat; Both are our cleanliness.
Hath one such beauty? Then how are all things neat? More servants wait on Man Than he'll take notice of: in every path He treads down that which doth befriend him When sickness makes him pale and wan.
O mighty love! Man is one world, and hath Another to attend him.
Since then, my God, thou hast So brave a palace built, O dwell in it That it may dwell with thee at last! Till then, afford us so much wit, That, as the world serves us, we may serve thee, And both thy servants be.

Written by George Herbert |


 Full of rebellion, I would die, 
Or fight, or travel, or deny
That thou has aught to do with me.
O tame my heart; It is thy highest art To captivate strong holds to thee.
If thou shalt let this venom lurk, And in suggestions fume and work, My soul will turn to bubbles straight, And thence by kind Vanish into a wind, Making thy workmanship deceit.
O smooth my rugged heart, and there Engrave thy rev'rend law and fear; Or make a new one, since the old Is sapless grown, And a much fitter stone To hide my dust, than thee to hold.

Written by George Herbert |

The Thanksgiving

 Oh King of grief! (a title strange, yet true, 
To thee of all kings only due) 
Oh King of wounds! how shall I grieve for thee, 
Who in all grief preventest me? 
Shall I weep blood? why thou has wept such store
That all thy body was one door.
Shall I be scourged, flouted, boxed, sold? 'Tis but to tell the tale is told.
'My God, my God, why dost thou part from me? ' Was such a grief as cannot be.
Shall I then sing, skipping, thy doleful story, And side with thy triumphant glory? Shall thy strokes be my stroking? thorns, my flower? Thy rod, my posy? cross, my bower? But how then shall I imitate thee, and Copy thy fair, though bloody hand? Surely I will revenge me on thy love, And try who shall victorious prove.
If thou dost give me wealth, I will restore All back unto thee by the poor.
If thou dost give me honour, men shall see, The honour doth belong to thee.
I will not marry; or, if she be mine, She and her children shall be thine.
My bosom friend, if he blaspheme thy name, I will tear thence his love and fame.
One half of me being gone, the rest I give Unto some Chapel, die or live.
As for thy passion - But of that anon, When with the other I have done.
For thy predestination I'll contrive, That three years hence, if I survive, I'll build a spittle, or mend common ways, But mend mine own without delays.
Then I will use the works of thy creation, As if I us'd them but for fashion.
The world and I will quarrel; and the year Shall not perceive, that I am here.
My music shall find thee, and ev'ry string Shall have his attribute to sing; That all together may accord in thee, And prove one God, one harmony.
If thou shalt give me wit, it shall appear; If thou hast giv'n it me, 'tis here.
Nay, I will read thy book, and never move Till I have found therein thy love; Thy art of love, which I'll turn back on thee, O my dear Saviour, Victory! Then for thy passion - I will do for that - Alas, my God, I know not what.

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Written by George Herbert |

The Flower

 Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower, The people said, a weed.
To and fro they went Thro' my garden bower, And muttering discontent Cursed me and my flower.
Then it grew so tall It wore a crown of light, But thieves from o'er the wall Stole the seed by night.
Sow'd it far and wide By every town and tower, Till all the people cried, "Splendid is the flower!" Read my little fable: He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now, For all have got the seed.
And some are pretty enough, And some are poor indeed; And now again the people Call it but a weed.

Written by George Herbert |

A Wreath

 A wreathed garland of deserved praise,
Of praise deserved, unto thee I give,
I give to thee, who knowest all my wayes,
My crooked winding wayes, wherein I live,
Wherein I die, not live : for life is straight,
Straight as a line, and ever tends to thee,
To thee, who art more farre above deceit,
Then deceit seems above simplicitie.
Give me simplicitie, that I may live, So live and like, that I may know thy wayes, Know them and practise them : then shall I give For this poore wreath, give thee a crown of praise.

Written by George Herbert |


 Ah, my dear angry Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.
I will complain, yet praise; I will bewail, approve; And all my sour-sweet days I will lament and love.

Written by George Herbert |


 O blessed body! Whither are thou thrown? 
No lodging for thee, but a cold hard stone? 
So many hearts on earth, and yet not one
Receive thee? 
Sure there is room within our hearts' good store; 
For they can lodge transgressions by the score: 
Thousands of toys dwell there, yet out of door
They leave thee.
But that which shows them large, shows them unfit.
What ever sin did this pure rock commit, Which holds thee now? Who hath indicted it Of murder? Where our hard hearts have took up stories to brain thee, And missing this, most falsely did arraign thee, And order.
And as of old, the law by heav'nly art Was writ in stone; so thou, which also art The letter of the word, find'st no fit heart To hold thee.
Yet do we still persist as we began, And so should perish, but that nothing can, Though it be cold, hard, foul, from loving man Withold thee.

Written by George Herbert |

Sonnet (II)

 Sure Lord, there is enough in thee to dry 
Oceans of Ink ; for, as the Deluge did 
Cover the Earth, so doth thy Majesty : 
Each Cloud distills thy praise, and doth forbid 
Poets to turn it to another use.
Roses and Lillies speak thee ; and to make A pair of Cheeks of them, is thy abuse.
Why should I Womens eyes for Chrystal take? Such poor invention burns in their low mind, Whose fire is wild, and doth not upward go To praise, and on thee Lord, some Ink bestow.
Open the bones, and you shall nothing find In the best face but filth, when Lord, in thee The beauty lies, in the discovery

Written by George Herbert |


 How soon doth man decay!
When clothes are taken from a chest of sweets
To swaddle infants, whose young breath
Scarce knows the way;
Those clouts are little winding-sheets,
Which do consign and send them unto Death.
When boyes go first to bed, They step into their voluntarie graves; Sleep binds them fast; onely their breath Makes them not dead: Successive nights, like rolling waves, Convey them quickly who are bound for Death.
When Youth is frank and free, And calls for musick, while his veins do swell, All day exchanging mirth and breath In companie, That musick summons to the knell Which shall befriend him at the house of Death.
When man grows staid and wise, Getting a house and home, where he may move Within the circle of his breath, Schooling his eyes, That dumbe inclosure maketh love Unto the coffin, that attends his death.
When Age grows low and weak, Marking his grave, and thawing ev'ry year, Till all do melt and drown his breath When he would speak, A chair or litter shows the biere Which shall convey him to the house of Death.
Man, ere he is aware, Hath put together a solemnitie, And drest his hearse, while he has breath As yet to spare; Yet, Lord, instruct us so to die, That all these dyings may be LIFE in DEATH.

Written by George Herbert |

Sin (II)

 O that I could a sin once see! 
We paint the devil foul, yet he
Hath some good in him, all agree.
Sin is flat opposite to th' Almighty, seeing It wants the good of virtue, and of being.
But God more care of us hath had: If apparitions make us sad, By sight of sin we should grow mad.
Yet as in sleep we see foul death, and live: So devils are our sins in perspective.

Written by George Herbert |

Employment (I)

 If as a flower doth spread and die, 
Thou wouldst extend me to some good, 
Before I were by frost's extremity
Nipt in the bud; 

The sweetness and the praise were thine; 
But the extension and the room, 
Which in thy garland I should fill, were mine
At thy great doom.
For as thou dost impart thy grace, The greater shall our glory be.
The measure of our joys is in this place, The stuff with thee.
Let me not languish then, and spend A life as barren to thy praise, As is the dust, to which that life doth tend, But with delays.
All things are busy; only I Neither bring honey with the bees, Nor flowers to make that, nor the husbandry To water these.
I am no link of thy great chain, But all my company is a weed.
Lord place me in thy consort; give one strain To my poor reed.

Written by George Herbert |

A Dialogue

SWEETEST Saviour, if my soul Were but worth the having, Quickly should I then control Any thought of waving.
But when all my care and pains Cannot give the name of gains To Thy wretch so full of stains, What delight or hope remains? Saviour.
What, child, is the balance thine, Thine the poise and measure? If I say, 'Thou shalt be Mine,' Finger not My treasure.
What the gains in having thee Do amount to, only He Who for man was sold can see; That transferr'd th' accounts to Me.
But as I can see no merit Leading to this favour, So the way to fit me for it Is beyond my savour.
As the reason, then, is Thine, So the way is none of mine; I disclaim the whole design; Sin disclaims and I resign.
That is all: if that I could Get without repining; And My clay, My creature, would Follow My resigning; That as I did freely part With My glory and desert, Left all joys to feel all smart---- Man.
Ah, no more! Thou break'st my heart!

Written by George Herbert |

The H. Communion

 Not in rich furniture, or fine array, 
Nor in a wedge of gold, 
Thou, who from me wast sold, 
To me dost now thy self convey; 
For so thou should'st without me still have been, 
Leaving within me sin: 

But by the way of nourishment and strength
Thou creep'st into my breast; 
Making thy way my rest, 
And thy small quantities my length; 
Which spread their forces into every part, 
Meeting sin's force and art.
Yet can these not get over to my soul, Leaping the wall that parts Our souls, and fleshly hearts; But as th'outworks, they may control My rebel-flesh, and carrying thy name, Affright both sin and shame.
Only thy grace, which with these elements comes, Knoweth the ready way, And hath the privy key, Op'ning the soul's most subtle rooms; While those to spirits refin'd, at door attend Dispatches from their friend.
Give me my captive soul, or take My body also thither, Another lift like this will make Them both to be together.
Before that sin turn'd flesh into stone, And all our lump to leaven, A fervent sigh might well have blown Our innocent earth to heaven.
For sure when Adam did not know To sin, or sin to smother; He might to heav'n from Paradise go, As from one room t'another.
Thou hast restor'd to us this ease By this thy heav'nly blood; Which I can go to, when I please, And leave th'earth to their food.

Written by George Herbert |


 Having been tenant long to a rich lord, 
Not thriving, I resolved to be bold, 
And make a suit unto him, to afford 
A new small-rented lease, and cancel the old.
In heaven at his manor I him sought; They told me there that he was lately gone About some land, which he had dearly bought Long since on earth, to take possession.
I straight returned, and knowing his great birth, Sought him accordingly in great resorts; In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts; At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth Of thieves and murderers; there I him espied, Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died.

Written by George Herbert |


 When my devotions could not pierce 
Thy silent ears; 
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse: 
My breast was full of fears 
And disorder: 

My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow, 
Did fly asunder: 
Each took his way; some would to pleasures go, 
Some to the wars and thunder 
Of alarms.
As good go any where, they say, As to benumb Both knees and heart, in crying night and day, Come, come, my God, O come, But no hearing.
O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue To cry to thee, And then not hear it crying! all day long My heart was in my knee, But no hearing.
Therefore my soul lay out of sight, Untuned, unstrung: My feeble spirit, unable to look right, Like a nipped blossom, hung Discontented.
O cheer and tune my heartless breast, Defer no time; That so thy favors granting my request, They and my mind may chime, And mend my rime.