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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 |


 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.

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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 |

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.

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 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 |


 Lord, how couldst thou so much appease
Thy wrath for sin, as when man's sight was dim, 
And could see little, to regard his ease, 
And bring by Faith all things to him? 

Hungry I was, and had no meat: 
I did conceit a most delicious feast; 
I had it straight, and did as truly eat, 
As ever did a welcome guest.
There is a rare outlandish root, Which when I could not get, I thought it here: That apprehension cur'd so well my foot, That I can walk to heav'n well near.
I owed thousands and much more.
I did believe that I did nothing owe, And liv'd accordingly; my creditor Believes so too, and lets me go.
Faith makes me any thing, or all That I believe is in the sacred story: And where sin placeth me in Adam's fall, Faith sets me higher in his glory.
If I go lower in the book, What can be lower than the common manger? Faith puts me there with him, who sweetly took Our flesh and frailty, death and danger.
If bliss had lien in art or strength, None but the wise or strong had gained it: Where now by Faith all arms are of a length; One size doth all conditions fit.
A peasant may believe as much As a great Clerk, and reach the highest stature.
Thus dost thou make proud knowledge bend and crouch While grace fills up uneven nature.
When creatures had no real light Inherent in them, thou didst make the sun Impute a lustre, and allow them bright; And in this show what Christ hath done.
That which before was darkned clean With bushy groves, pricking the looker's eye, Vanisht away, when Faith did change the scene: And then appear'd a glorious sky.
What though my body run to dust? Faith cleaves unto it, counting ev'ry grain With an exact and most particular trust, Reserving all for flesh again.

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 |

H. Baptism

 As he that sees a dark and shady grove, 
Stays not, but looks beyond it on the sky; 
So when I view my sins, mine eyes remove
More backward still, and to that water fly, 
Which is above the heav'ns, whose spring and rest 
Is in my dear Redeemer's pierced side.
O blessed streams! either ye do prevent And stop our sins from growing thick and wide, Or else give tears to drown them, as they grow.
In you Redemption measures all my time, And spreads the plaster equal to the crime; You taught the book of life my name, that so What ever future sins should me miscall, Your first acquaintance might discredit all.

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 |


 When thou didst entice to thee my heart, 
I thought the service brave: 
So many joys I writ down for my part, 
Besides what I might have
Out of my stock of natural delights, 
Augmented with thy gracious benefits.
I looked on thy furniture so fine, And made it fine to me: Thy glorious household-stuff did me entwine, And 'tice me unto thee.
Such stars I counted mine: both heav'n and earth Paid me my wages in a world of mirth.
What pleasures could I want, whose King I served? Where joys my fellows were? Thus argu'd into hopes, my thoughts reserved No place for grief or fear.
Therefore my sudden soul caught at the place, And made her youth and fierceness seek thy face.
At first thou gav'st me milk and sweetnesses; I had my wish and way: My days were straw'd with flow'rs and happiness; There was no month but May.
But with my years sorrow did twist and grow, And made a party unawares for woe.
My flesh began unto my soul in pain, Sicknesses cleave my bones; Consuming agues dwell in ev'ry vein, And tune my breath to groans.
Sorrow was all my soul; I scarce believed, Till grief did tell me roundly, that I lived.
When I got health, thou took'st away my life, And more; for my friends die: My mirth and edge was lost; a blunted knife Was of more use than I.
Thus thin and lean without a fence or friend, I was blown through with ev'ry storm and wind.
Whereas my birth and spirit rather took The way that takes the town; Thou didst betray me to a lingering book, And wrap me in a gown.
I was entangled in the world of strife, Before I had the power to change my life.
Yet, for I threatened oft the siege to raise, Not simpring all mine age, Thou often didst with Academic praise Melt and dissolve my rage.
I took thy sweetened pill, till I came where I could not go away, nor persevere.
Yet lest perchance I should too happy be In my unhappiness, Turning my purge to food, thou throwest me Into more sicknesses.
Thus doth thy power cross-bias me; not making Thine own gift good, yet me from my ways taking.
Now I am here, what thou wilt do with me None of my books will show: I read, and sigh, and wish I were a tree; For sure I then should grow To fruit or shade: at least some bird would trust Her household to me, and I should be just.
Yet though thou troublest me, I must be meek; In weakness must be stout.
Well, I will change the service, and go seek Some other master out.
Ah my dear God! though I am clean forgot, Let me not love thee, if I love thee not.

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 |

The Storm


Against the stone breakwater,
Only an ominous lapping,
While the wind whines overhead,
Coming down from the mountain,
Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;
A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves,
And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against
 the lamp pole.
Where have the people gone? There is one light on the mountain.
2 Along the sea-wall, a steady sloshing of the swell, The waves not yet high, but even, Coming closer and closer upon each other; A fine fume of rain driving in from the sea, Riddling the sand, like a wide spray of buckshot, The wind from the sea and the wind from the mountain contending, Flicking the foam from the whitecaps straight upward into the darkness.
A time to go home!-- And a child's dirty shift billows upward out of an alley, A cat runs from the wind as we do, Between the whitening trees, up Santa Lucia, Where the heavy door unlocks, And our breath comes more easy-- Then a crack of thunder, and the black rain runs over us, over The flat-roofed houses, coming down in gusts, beating The walls, the slatted windows, driving The last watcher indoors, moving the cardplayers closer To their cards, their anisette.
3 We creep to our bed, and its straw mattress.
We wait; we listen.
The storm lulls off, then redoubles, Bending the trees half-way down to the ground, Shaking loose the last wizened oranges in the orchard, Flattening the limber carnations.
A spider eases himself down from a swaying light-bulb, Running over the coverlet, down under the iron bedstead.
Water roars into the cistern.
We lie closer on the gritty pillow, Breathing heavily, hoping-- For the great last leap of the wave over the breakwater, The flat boom on the beach of the towering sea-swell, The sudden shudder as the jutting sea-cliff collapses, And the hurricane drives the dead straw into the living pine-tree.

Written by George Herbert |

The Collar

 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, Methoughts I heard one calling "Child!" And I replied "My Lord".