“Can there be any day but this?”


Easter
by George Herbert
    RISE heart ;  thy Lord is risen.  Sing his praise
Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise :
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long :
Or since all music is but three parts vied,
And multiplied ;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

I got me flowers to straw thy way ;
I got me boughs off many a tree :
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.
Engraving
The Sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’ East perfume ;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour ?
We count three hundred, but we misse :
There is but one, and that one ever.

Source: George Herbert. Easter.

“Was ever grief like mine?”

Read George Herbert’s “The Sacrifice,” a poem from the perspective of Christ on the Cross, quoted and linked after the jump.  Do you see how it influenced the beloved Lenten hymn “My Song Is Love Unknown”?  (Throw in Herbert’s poem Love Unknown and you’ve pretty much got the whole hymn.) [Read more…]

“Which my God feel as blood; but I, as wine”

Today is Maundy Thursday, arguably the climax of our Lord’s earthly ministry, the day He washed His disciple’s feet, gave them the mandate (thus, “maundy”) to love one another, instituted the Sacrament of Holy Communion, experienced agony in the garden, gave His high priestly prayer for his disciples and for all who would later believe (us), was betrayed, arrested, scourged, and abandoned.

After the jump, one of my favorite poems, by George Herbert, a Maundy Thursday/Good Friday poem that brings together many of these themes in an unforgettable way.  (I’ve posted it here before, but it is worth re-reading at this time of year over and over.) [Read more…]

Herbert’s Maundy Thursday poem

I’ve posted this poem before, since it’s maybe my favorite poem by George Herbert.  But I realized that this is his Maundy Thursday poem.  It’s all here:  love, the agony in the garden, the Sacrament, the leadup to the Crucifixion.  And in this poem, Herbert shows how all of those are linked.  Read it after the jump. [Read more…]

Evangelicals discover George Herbert

Finally, as I have been agitating for throughout my career, modern-day Christians are discovering George Herbert, whom I consider to be the greatest and most spiritually satisfying Christian poet.  Now Wesley Hill writes about him in Christianity Today.

If you want a guide to Herbert’s poetry–what he is doing aesthetically, theologically, and spiritually–you should read my book on the subject, which is newly brought back in print, another sign of the Herbert revival. [Read more…]

New literary biography of George Herbert

There is a new literary biography of the 17th century Christian poet George Herbert.  It’s entitled Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert, by John Drury.  The book pays close attention to Herbert’s Christian faith and to close readings of his poetry.  That Herbert’s stock is going up is evident in the enthusiastic reviews the book is getting.  After the jump, a link to one in the Washington Post and excerpts from others.  (I wrote my dissertation and published my first book on Herbert.) [Read more…]


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