Another English Major Moment

George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633) was a Welsh-born poet, orator, and priest of the Church of England. His poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets. He is known as “one of the foremost British devotional lyricists.  Even if you’re not an English major you enjoy reading his poem, Repentance.

 Lord, I confess my sin is great; 
Great is my sin.
 Oh! gently treat
With thy quick flow'r, thy momentary bloom; 
Whose life still pressing
Is one undressing, 
A steady aiming at a tomb.

Man's age is two hours' work, or three: 
Each day doth round about us see.
Thus are we to delights: but we are all
To sorrows old, 
If life be told
From what life feeleth, Adam's fall.

O let thy height of mercy then
Compassionate short-breathed men.
Cut me not off for my most foul transgression: 
I do confess 
My foolishness; 
My God, accept of my confession.

Sweeten at length this bitter bowl, 
Which thou hast pour'd into my soul; 
Thy wormwood turn to health, winds to fair weather: 
For if thou stay, 
I and this day, 
As we did rise, we die together.

When thou for sin rebukest man, 
Forthwith he waxeth woe and wan: 
Bitterness fills our bowels; all our hearts
Pine, and decay, 
And dropp away, 
And carry with them th'other parts.

But thou wilt sin and grief destroy; 
That so the broken bones may joy, 
And tune together in a well-set song, 
Full of his praises, 
Who dead men raises; 
Fractures well cur'd make us more strong.