Herbert’s Maundy Thursday poem

Herbert’s Maundy Thursday poem April 2, 2015

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.THE AGONY

Philosophers have measured mountains,
Fathom’d the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk’d with a staff to heaven, and traced fountains
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove:
Yet few there are that sound them; Sin and Love.

Who would know Sin, let him repair
Unto Mount Olivet; there shall he see
A man, so wrung with pains, that all his hair,
His skin, his garments, bloody be.
Sin is that Press and Vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruel food through every vein.

Who knows not Love, let him assay,
And taste that juice, which on the cross a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say
If ever he did taste the like.
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as blood; but I, as wine.
by George Herbert 1593-1633
source: The Poetical Works Of George Herbert, ed. George Gilfillan. Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1853

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