Sunday poem context collect.

We need to consider the times and seasons in which those who came before us. In the case of Herbert, he lived through the reign of Elisabeth and James — James ruled Scotland from 1567 — 1625 and after the fall of the house of Tudor England and Ireland as well from 1605 to 1625. So, when we are discussing holy communion, the prayers said at the time were regulated thus in 1559.

ALMIGHTY God, whose kingdom is everlasting, and power infinite: Have mercy upon the whole congregation, and so rule the heart of thy chosen servant Elizabeth, our queen and governor, that she (knowing whose minister she is) may above all things seek thy honor and glory; and that we her subjects (duly considering whose authority she hath) may faithfully serve, honor, and humbly obey her, in thee, and for thee, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever one God, world without end. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, we be taught by thy holy Word, that the hearts of kings are in thy rule and governance, and that thou dost dispose and turn them, as it seemeth best to thy godly wisdom: We humbly beseech thee, so to dispose and govern the heart of Elizabeth, thy servant, our queen and governor, that in all her thoughts, words, and works, she may ever seek thy honor and glory, and study to preserve thy people committed to her charge, in wealth, peace, and godliness. Grant this, O merciful Father, for thy dear Son’s sake, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Herbert had given up a very senior role in the University to become a parish priest. He had rejected riches. He never had good health.

And the divisions between the High Church and Puritans were starting.

The H. Communion.

Not in rich furniture, or fine aray,
Nor in a wedge of gold,
Thou, who for me wast sold,
To me dost now thy self convey;
For so thou should’st without me still have been,
Leaving within me sinne:

But by the way of nourishment and strength
Thou creep’st into my breast;
Making thy way my rest,
And thy small quantities my length;
Which spread their forces into every part,
Meeting sinnes force and art.

Yet can these not get over to my soul,
Leaping the wall that parts
Our souls and fleshy hearts;
But as th’ outworks, they may controll
My rebel-flesh, and carrying thy name,
Affright both sinne and shame.

Onley thy grace, which with these elements comes,
Knoweth the ready way,
And hath the privie key,
Op’ning the souls most subtile rooms;
While those to spirits refin’d, at doore attend
Dispatches from their friend.
Give me my captive soul, or take
My bodie also thither.
Another lift like this will make
Them both to be together.

Before that sinne turn’d flesh to stone,
And all our lump to leaven;
A fervent sigh might well have blown
Our innocent earth to heaven.

For sure when Adam did not know
To sinne, or sinne to smother;
He might to heav’n from Paradise go,
As from one room t’another.

Thou hast restor’d us to this ease
By this thy heav’nly bloud;
Which I can go to, when I please,
And leave th’earth to their food.

George Herbert, The Temple, 1633