Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership

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.

Search for the best famous George Herbert poems, articles about George Herbert poems, poetry blogs, or anything else George Herbert poem related using the PoetrySoup search engine at the top of the page.

See also:

Famous poems below this ad
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 Robert Pinsky | |


 The back, the yoke, the yardage.
Lapped seams, The nearly invisible stitches along the collar Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or Malaysians Gossiping over tea and noodles on their break Or talking money or politics while one fitted This armpiece with its overseam to the band Of cuff I button at my wrist.
The presser, the cutter, The wringer, the mangle.
The needle, the union, The treadle, the bobbin.
The code.
The infamous blaze At the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven.
One hundred and forty-six died in the flames On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes-- The witness in a building across the street Who watched how a young man helped a girl to step Up to the windowsill, then held her out Away from the masonry wall and let her drop.
And then another.
As if he were helping them up To enter a streetcar, and not eternity.
A third before he dropped her put her arms Around his neck and kissed him.
Then he held Her into space, and dropped her.
Almost at once He stepped up to the sill himself, his jacket flared And fluttered up from his shirt as he came down, Air filling up the legs of his gray trousers-- Like Hart Crane's Bedlamite, "shrill shirt ballooning.
" Wonderful how the patern matches perfectly Across the placket and over the twin bar-tacked Corners of both pockets, like a strict rhyme Or a major chord.
Prints, plaids, checks, Houndstooth, Tattersall, Madras.
The clan tartans Invented by mill-owners inspired by the hoax of Ossian, To control their savage Scottish workers, tamed By a fabricated heraldry: MacGregor, Bailey, MacMartin.
The kilt, devised for workers to wear among the dusty clattering looms.
Weavers, carders, spinners.
The loader, The docker, the navvy.
The planter, the picker, the sorter Sweating at her machine in a litter of cotton As slaves in calico headrags sweated in fields: George Herbert, your descendant is a Black Lady in South Carolina, her name is Irma And she inspected my shirt.
Its color and fit And feel and its clean smell have satisfied both her and me.
We have culled its cost and quality Down to the buttons of simulated bone, The buttonholes, the sizing, the facing, the characters Printed in black on neckband and tail.
The shape, The label, the labor, the color, the shade.
The shirt.

Written by George Herbert | |

The World

 1 I saw Eternity the other night,
2 Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
3 All calm, as it was bright;
4 And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
5 Driv'n by the spheres
6 Like a vast shadow mov'd; in which the world
7 And all her train were hurl'd.
8 The doting lover in his quaintest strain 9 Did there complain; 10 Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights, 11 Wit's sour delights, 12 With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure, 13 Yet his dear treasure 14 All scatter'd lay, while he his eyes did pour 15 Upon a flow'r.
16 The darksome statesman hung with weights and woe, 17 Like a thick midnight-fog mov'd there so slow, 18 He did not stay, nor go; 19 Condemning thoughts (like sad eclipses) scowl 20 Upon his soul, 21 And clouds of crying witnesses without 22 Pursued him with one shout.
23 Yet digg'd the mole, and lest his ways be found, 24 Work'd under ground, 25 Where he did clutch his prey; but one did see 26 That policy; 27 Churches and altars fed him; perjuries 28 Were gnats and flies; 29 It rain'd about him blood and tears, but he 30 Drank them as free.
31 The fearful miser on a heap of rust 32 Sate pining all his life there, did scarce trust 33 His own hands with the dust, 34 Yet would not place one piece above, but lives 35 In fear of thieves; 36 Thousands there were as frantic as himself, 37 And hugg'd each one his pelf; 38 The downright epicure plac'd heav'n in sense, 39 And scorn'd pretence, 40 While others, slipp'd into a wide excess, 41 Said little less; 42 The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave, 43 Who think them brave; 44 And poor despised Truth sate counting by 45 Their victory.
46 Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing, 47 And sing, and weep, soar'd up into the ring; 48 But most would use no wing.
49 O fools (said I) thus to prefer dark night 50 Before true light, 51 To live in grots and caves, and hate the day 52 Because it shews the way, 53 The way, which from this dead and dark abode 54 Leads up to God, 55 A way where you might tread the sun, and be 56 More bright than he.
57 But as I did their madness so discuss 58 One whisper'd thus, 59 "This ring the Bridegroom did for none provide, 60 But for his bride.

More great poems below...

Written by George Herbert | |


 I cannot ope mine eyes, 
But thou art ready there to catch
My morning-soul and sacrifice: 
Then we must needs for that day make a match.
My God, what is a heart? Silver, or gold, or precious stone, Or star, or rainbow, or a part Of all these things or all of them in one? My God, what is a heart? That thou should'st it so eye, and woo, Pouring upon it all thy art, As if that thou hadst nothing else to do? Indeed man's whole estate Amounts (and richly) to serve thee: He did not heav'n and earth create, Yet studies them, not him by whom they be.
Teach me thy love to know; That this new light, which now I see, May both the work and workman show: Then by a sun-beam I will climb to thee.

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 | |

The Dawning

 Awake, sad heart, whom sorrow ever drowns ;
Take up thine eyes, which feed on earth ;
Unfold thy forehead, gathered into frowns ;
Thy Saviour comes, and with Him mirth :
Awake, awake,
And with a thankful heart His comforts take.
But thou dost still lament, and pine, and cry, And feel His death, but not His victory.
Arise, sad heart ; if thou dost not withstand, Christ's resurrection thine may be ; Do not by hanging down break from the hand Which, as it riseth, raiseth thee : Arise, Arise; And with His burial linen drie thine eyes.
Christ left His grave-clothes, that we might, when grief Draws tears or blood, not want a handkerchief.

Written by George Herbert | |


 1 My Soul, there is a country
2 Afar beyond the stars,
3 Where stands a winged sentry
4 All skillful in the wars;
5 There, above noise and danger
6 Sweet Peace sits, crown'd with smiles,
7 And One born in a manger
8 Commands the beauteous files.
9 He is thy gracious friend 10 And (O my Soul awake!) 11 Did in pure love descend, 12 To die here for thy sake.
13 If thou canst get but thither, 14 There grows the flow'r of peace, 15 The rose that cannot wither, 16 Thy fortress, and thy ease.
17 Leave then thy foolish ranges, 18 For none can thee secure, 19 But One, who never changes, 20 Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

Written by George Herbert | |


 Lord, with what care hast Thou begirt us round!
Parents first season us; then schoolmasters
Deliver us to laws;—they send us bound
To rules of reason, holy messengers,
Pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin,
Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes,
Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in,
Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,
Blessings beforehand, ties of gratefulness,
The sound of glory ringing in our ears;
Without, our shame; within, our consciences;
Angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears:
Yet all these fences and their whole array
One cunning bosom-sin blows quite away.

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 | |

The Storm

 If as the winds and waters here below 
Do fly and flow, 
My sighs and tears as busy were above;
Sure they would move 
And much affect thee, as tempestuous times 
Amaze poor mortals, and object their crimes.
Stars have their storms, ev'n in a high degree, As well as we.
A throbbing conscience spurred by remorse Hath a strange force: It quits the earth, and mounting more and more, Dares to assault, and besiege thy door.
There it stands knocking, to thy musick's wrong, And drowns the song.
Glory and honour are set by till it An answer get.
Poets have wrong'd poor storms: such days are best; They purge the air without, within the breast.

Written by George Herbert | |

Easter Wings

 Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
  Though foolishly he lost the same,
   Decaying more and more,
     Till he became
      Most poor:
      With thee
     O let me rise
    As larks, harmoniously, 
  And sing this day thy victories:
 Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
My tender age in sorrow did begin: And still with sicknesses and shame Thou didst so punish sin, That I became Most thin.
With thee Let me combine And feel this day thy victory: For, if I imp my wing on thine, Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

Written by George Herbert | |

Affliction (III)

 My heart did heave, and there came forth, 'O God'! 
By that I knew that thou wast in the grief, 
To guide and govern it to my relief, 
Making a sceptre of the rod: 
Hadst thou not had thy part, 
Sure the unruly sigh had broke my heart.
But since thy breath gave me both life and shape, Thou know'st my tallies; and when there's assigned So much breath to a sigh, what's then behind? Or if some years with it escape, The sigh then only is A gale to bring me sooner to my bliss.
Thy life on earth was grief, and thou art still Constant unto it, making it to be A point of honour now to grieve in me, And in thy members suffer ill.
They who lament one cross, Thou dying daily, praise thee to thy loss.

Written by George Herbert | |


 Who says that fictions only and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?
May no lines pass, except they do their duty
Not to a true, but painted chair?

Is it no verse, except enchanted groves
And sudden arbours shadow coarse-spun lines?
Must purling streams refresh a lover's loves?
Must all be veiled, while he that reads divines,
Catching the sense at two removes?

Shepherds are honest people: let them sing:
Riddle who list, for me, and pull for prime:
I envy no man's nightingale or spring;
Nor let them punish me with loss of rhyme,
Who plainly say, My God, My King.

Written by George Herbert | |


 Throw away thy rod,
Throw away thy wrath:
O my God,
Take the gentle path.
For my heart's desire Unto thine is bent: I aspire To a full consent.
Not a word or look I affect to own, But by book, And thy book alone.
Though I fail, I weep: Though I halt in pace, Yet I creep To the throne of grace.
Then let wrath remove: Love will do the deed; For with love Stony hearts will bleed.
Love is swift of foot; Love's a man of war, And can shoot, And can hit from far.
Who can 'scape his bow? That which wrought on thee, Brought thee low, Needs must work on me.
Throw away they rod; Though man frailties hath, Thou art God: Throw away thy wrath.

Written by George Herbert | |


 HERE where the loves of others close
The vision of my heart begins.
The wisdom that within us grows Is absolution for our sins.
We took forbidden fruit and ate Far in the garden of His mind.
The ancient prophecies of hate We proved untrue, for He was kind.
He does not love the bended knees, The soul made wormlike in His sight, Within whose heaven are hierarchies And solar kings and lords of light.
Who come before Him with the pride The Children of the King should bear, They will not be by Him denied, His light will make their darkness fair.
To be afar from Him is death Yet all things find their fount in Him: And nearing to the sunrise breath Shine jewelled like the seraphim.