Pilgrims and Pilgrimage

I’ve been thinking about this topic recently after reading a book about going on a pilgrimage (Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron–Book Review). I came across this poem by Sir Walter Raleigh, said to have been written shortly before his death by beheading. I really liked it, and I hope our readers will, too. It’s definitely an English major moment!

The Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage

Give me my scallop shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope’s true gage,
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

   Blood must be my body’s balmer,
No other balm will there be given,
Whilst my soul, like a white palmer,
Travels to the land of heaven;
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains;
And there I’ll kiss
The bowl of bliss,
And drink my eternal fill
On every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before,
But after it will ne’er thirst more;
And by the happy blissful way
More peaceful pilgrims I shall see,
That have shook off their gowns of clay,
And go apparelled fresh like me.
I’ll bring them first
To slake their thirst,
And then to taste those nectar suckets,
At the clear wells
Where sweetness dwells,
Drawn up by saints in crystal buckets

   And when our bottles and all we
Are fill’d with immortality,
Then the holy paths we’ll travel,
Strew’d with rubies thick as gravel,
Ceilings of diamonds, sapphire floors,
High walls of coral, and pearl bowers.

   From thence to heaven’s bribeless hall
Where no corrupted voices brawl,
No conscience molten into gold,
Nor forg’d accusers bought and sold,
No cause deferr’d, nor vain-spent journey,
For there Christ is the king’s attorney,
Who pleads for all without degrees,
And he hath angels, but no fees.
When the grand twelve million jury
Of our sins and sinful fury,
’Gainst our souls black verdicts give,
Christ pleads his death, and then we live.
Be thou my speaker, taintless pleader,
Unblotted lawyer, true proceeder,
Thou movest salvation even for alms,
Not with a bribed lawyer’s palms.
And this is my eternal plea
To him that made heaven, earth, and sea,
Seeing my flesh must die so soon,
And want a head to dine next noon,
Just at the stroke when my veins start and spread,
Set on my soul an everlasting head.
Then am I ready, like a palmer fit,
To tread those blest paths which before I writ.

P. S. In case you are wondering, the scallop shell was an ancient symbol associated with pilgrimage, and palmer is another name for pilgrim.

If you’re interested in more of my English major moments see:

An English Major Moment from Joan

Another of Joan’s English Major Moments

More Rest In Nature + English Major Moment!

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen–Book Review

This is a book to warm the heart of an English major!  It is attractively designed with a hard cover in silver and gray and a ribbon bookmark attached.  Part of a new series of classics being offered by B&H Publishing, the goal is to help readers understand these works in light of the gospel.

The author of the introduction and reflection questions at the end of each section is Karen Swallow Prior, a Professor of English at Liberty University.  She reviews the work in the context of its’ time, and gives pertinent details about the writer.  For example:

“Jane Austen was a Christian–a devout believer.  She did not sermonize or proselytize in her novels (she was too good an artist to do so), yet the language and themes of her work reflect a life steeped in her Christian faith.”

There are also footnotes throughout to explain words and phrases that might be unfamiliar to present day readers.

If you haven’t read this well-known classic, I won’t give away any details of the plot.  Suffice it to say that it touches on the topics of love and marriage, forgiveness and moral character.  Which is most important and valid in making decisions?  Sense (logical reason and self control) or sensibility (emotion)?  Austen uses misunderstandings, irony and satire to poke gentle fun of her characters.  It falls into the genre of a comedy of manners.  You’ll find yourself smiling often and recognizing different kinds of people you know today in her witty characterizations.

VERDICT:  Definitely 5 Stars.  This would be a great selection for a Christian book club.  I look forward to seeing more in this series.  Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad is already available, and other titles are forthcoming.

If you would like to purchase this book follow the link below:


The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR part 255.


Resurrection, Imperfect by John Donne

I don’t know how many readers will like this, but what can I say? I was an English major in one of my lives! I really like John Donne who was a church of England cleric, and one of the metaphysical poets.  If you read the entire post, you will see that the poem is titled “Imperfect” because it was unfinished.

conversant faith

resurrection imperfect


Sleep sleep old sun, thou canst not have repast
As yet, the wound thou took’st on Friday last;
Sleep then, and rest; the world may bear thy stay,
A better Sun rose before thee today,
Who, not content to enlighten all that dwell
On the earth’s face, as thou, enlightened hell,
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As, at thy presence here, our fires grow pale.
Whose body having walked on earth, and now
Hasting to heaven, would, that he might allow
Himself unto all stations, and fill all,
For these three days become a mineral;
He was all gold when he lay down but rose
All tincture, and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make even sinful flesh like his.
Had one of those, whose credulous piety
Thought, that a soul one might discern and…

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