Monday, November 25, 2013


Lord, with what bounty and rare clemency
                   Hast thou redeemed us from the grave!
                           If thou hadst let us run,
                   Gladly had man adored the sun,
                           And thought his god most brave;
Where now we shall be better gods than he.

Thou has but two rare cabinets full of treasure,
                  The Trinity, and Incarnation:
                         Thou has unlocked them both,
                  And made them jewels to betroth
                          The work of thy creation
Unto thyself in everlasting pleasure.

The statelier cabinet is the Trinity,
                    Whose sparkling light access denies:
                           Therefore thou dost not show
                     This fully to us, till death blow
                           The dust into our eyes:
For by that powder thou wilt make us see.

But all thy sweets are packed up in the other;
                    Thy mercies thither flock and flow:
                            That as the first affrights,
                    This may allure us with delights;
                            Because this box we know;
For we have all of us just such another.

But man is close, reserved, and dark to thee:
                    When thou demandest but a heart,
                           He cavils instantly.
                     In his poor cabinet of bone
                             Sins have their box apart,
Defrauding thee, who gavest two for one.

—George Herbert, The Complete English Poems (New York: Penguin, 1991), 75-76.

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