George Herbert, Part III: The Poetry

Sampling of Herbert’s Poems:

_ The Elixer_

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see,
And what I do in any thing
To do it as for thee:

Not rudely, as a beast,
To runne into an action;
But still to make the prepossest,
And give it his perfection.

A man that looks on glasse,
On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it passe,
And then the heav’n espie.

All may of thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture (for thy sake)
Will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgerie divine:
Who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
Makes that and th’ action fine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold:
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for lesse be told.

_The Pulley_

When God at first made man,
Having a glasse of blessings standing by;
Let us (said he) poure on him all we can:
Let the worlds riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way;
Then beautie flow’d, then wisdome, honour, pleasure;
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all his treasure
Rest in the bottome lay.

For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewell also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts in stead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlesnesse:
Let him be rich and wearie, that at least,
if goodnesse leade him not, yet wearinesse
May tosse him to my breast.


Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:
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 beginne:
and still with sicknesses and shame
thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Most thinne,
With thee
Let me combine
And feel this day thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thing,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.


Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guiltie of dust and sinne.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearere to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack’d any thing.

A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be here:
Love said, you shall be he.
I the unkind, ungratefull? Ah my deare,
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, sayes Love, who bore the blame?
My deare, then I will serve.
You must sit down, sayes Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

I would encourage you to seek out more of his poems and read more of his life. I find them all lovely, deeply meaningful and reverent, with great spiritual truths to teach. It’s always very hard for me to choose just one or two to share.

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The Equuschick Writes History

She, the Equuschick, of course, wrote a mini-bio of Theodora many years ago for various reasons. It has been sitting in her folder collecting dust, and she here puts forth an excerpt to receive a breath of fresh air. The Equuschick didn’t like writing the following much, though no doubt it was good for her. She isn’t very good at writing longer works, and especially long works meant to keep a child’s attention. But here it is, her version of “The Emperor’s Wife.”

___The Emperor’s Wife____

I don’t know if any of you have ever heard of the story of Theodora, the Emperor’s Wife? I am going to tell it to you, and I hope you enjoy it. She was born in the large city of Constantinople, the most important city in the country that was once called the Byzantine Empire. Though this country was destroyed by wars a long time ago, it used to be the strongest country in the world! Constantinople was called that because of the king who started building it, the Emperor Constantine. He was a Christian and wanted to build a strong city to protect his Christian country. So he built the city of Constantinople-the biggest and most beautiful city the world had ever seen! But just because Theodora was born into an important place does not mean that she was born an important person.

No indeed, few people would have guessed that Theodora would grow up to become the empress of the whole country! She did though, and that is what this story is about.

Theodora was born the second child of Acacius, a bear trainer for the circus, and his wife Julia, an actress. Her older sister’s name was Comito and soon after Theodora was born Julia had another little girl, and they called her Anastasia. The circus that her father worked for was very different from the circus that you like to go to today. It was called the “Hippodrome” and it was a large, stone circle with gates on either side and seats all around. Sometimes there were plays there, sometimes there were animal shows (with the bears that her father cared for) and often there were chariot races, the favorite game in Constantinople. Chariots were great carriages pulled by two or four horses, they were often used in wars as well. The Hippodrome was also where a great deal of “politics” happened, and the people who were in the chariot races were politicians. “Politics” is how people decide who is making to the rules for the country (politicians are the people who decide this), and what the rules are going to be. There were two groups of people who had different ideas about how to make the rules. They were called the “Green Party”(after the men who drove the green chariots) and the “Blue Party “, (after the people who drove the blue chariots).

At first Theodora’s parents were part of the Green Party, and the Green Party paid her father for training the bears. They were not rich, but they were not poor either.

Even as a little girl, people could tell that Theodora was smart. She was proud and brave too and often she got in trouble for loosing her temper. But she could be very kind to those she loved, and she loved her father and sisters very much. They lived quietly and happily until Theodora was four, and then something very sad happened. Her father became sick and died. Theodora missed Acacius very much, but it was also scary. When her father died her family no longer got paid by the Green Party, and they had no money. In Constantinople at that time, a woman could not do the same jobs a man could and so Julia could not earn enough money to feed her children unless she was married. So she decided to look for another husband. She found a man named Antonius who did not have a job yet but Julia that she could ask Asterius, the president of the Green Party, to give Antonius the job that Acacius had once held. Antonius and Julia were married, and Julia went to Asterius and asked. But Asterius was a selfish and greedy man, and someone offered to pay him for the same job that Antonius wanted. This was against the law, but Asterius took the money anyway and gave the other man the job. Even as a little girl, this made Theodora very angry and when she grew up she never forgave Asterius. Her mother and Antonius were angry as well and decided not to be members of the Green Party anymore. The Blue party gave Antonius another job, and after that Theodora’s family were always Blues.

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TheocracyPhobic- irrational fear of an imaginary theocracy

James Taranto says he’s neither a Christian nor a religious believer of any stripe, and he’s “put off by self-righteousness, closed-mindedness, and contempt for democracy and pluralism” and that’s why he’s rooting for the religious right.

He recognizes that those of us “who hold traditionalist views have been shut out of the democratic process by a series of court decisions that, based on constitutional reasoning ranging from plausible to ludicrous, declared the preferred policies of the secular left the law of the land.”

Furthermore, unlike the left, the religious right has generally “responded in good civic-minded fashion.”

“…Senate Democrats, taking their cue from liberal interest groups, have responded by subverting the democratic process, using the filibuster to impose an unprecedented supermajority requirement on the confirmation of judges.

That’s what prompted Christian conservatives to organize “Justice Sunday,” last month’s antifilibuster rally, at a church in Kentucky. After following long-established rules for at least a quarter-century, they can hardly be faulted for objecting when their opponents answer their success by effectively changing those rules.”

Taranto says that

“This procedural high-handedness is of a piece with the arrogant attitude the secular left takes toward the religious right. Last week a Boston Globe columnist wrote that what he called “right-wing crackpots–excuse me, ‘people of faith’ ” were promoting “knuckle-dragging judges.”

Taranto calls it like it is, and he calls that contempt. He calls the fearmongering about a budding theocracy hysterical and says the left is overestimating the religious right’s uniformity. He points out that we didn’t have a theocracy before 1963, when public prayer in public schools was outlawed by the Supreme Court.

Here are some of the religious figures who were featured in ‘Justice Sunday:’

A black minister stood next to a preacher with a six-degrees-of-separation connection to the Ku Klux Klan. A Catholic shared the stage with a Baptist theologian who had described Roman Catholicism as “a false church.”

Taranto says that

The thought that they could ever agree enough to impose a theocracy is laughable.

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Mine Eyes Dazzle

Why do they dazzle? She has not died young…. They dazzle because of joy. I am no longer seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I am at the end of the tunnel — for a semester, anyway.

Did everyone see the news about the mummy yesterday? This mummy was newly discovered and is from the 30th Egyptian Dynasty. I’m eager to hear the results of their tests. Isn’t it fun to live in a planet where there are always new things to discover?

oh, look: they’ve found a missing link for the dinosaurs. To quote the article, this creature was:
“…a primitive plant-eater that had recently evolved from the carnivorous raptors, which also produced modern birds.
That’s an awful lot of assumptions made over a few bones. It will be interesting to see how this case develops.

(virtual gummy bears to those who recognise my subject line source. I’m well aware I’ve forced into a topic where it doesn’t belong, but that’s part of the joy of words 🙂

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Doggie tricks

Right now Zeus‘ new trick is kisses (click on Zeus’ name and scroll down to the bottom of that post to see his picture). He “kisses” my face or the Equuschick’s when we ask him to by touching his nose to ours. But for some reason I am getting the idea that he does not like it as much as shaking hands, crawling (he does a commando style crawl as one of his tricks), and jumping. I wonder why? He really is adorable when he does it, though. *waits for DHM or HeadGirl to either edit or comment that it is NOT adorable but disgusting* (consider it done, dear- DHM)
We are also attempting to teach him to jump through a hoop. He gets that he’s supposed to go through the hoop, but he doesn’t quite get the jumping through it (Indeed. He merely walks sedately through the hoop and then looks expectantly at his person, sure that a treat is in store for him. He is correct. The DHM).

*signing off*

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