Sunday, 25 January 2009


The following is by C17th English poet George Herbert. I studied it repeatedly during my degree, because it's an interesting conceit and I could feed it nicely into T.S. Eliot's religious stuff. I like the tone and the image is comforting. It's one of the most beautiful rationalisations of the figure of Christ that I've ever come across, no matter what you believe.


Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

'A guest,' I answer'd, 'worthy to be here:'
Love said, 'You shall be he.'
'I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.'
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
'Who made the eyes but I?'

'Truth, Lord; but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.'
'And know you not,' says Love, 'Who bore the blame?'
'My dear, then I will serve.'
'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.'
So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert, 1593-1633

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