Sunday Poetry

Although the music posts today are secular, the poetry is sacred. The temple is an extended sermon for those who were and are familiar with the English Church. Symbols and metaphors remain after the ikons, statues ahd sacristies were purged during the reformation. Mark does not mean deface: it means pay attention.

The Church-floore.

Mark you the floore? that square & speckled stone,
Which looks so firm and strong,
Is Patience:

And th’ other black and grave, where with each one
Is checker’d all along,

The gentle rising, which on either hand
Leads to the Quire above,
Is Confidence:

But the sweet cement, which in one sure band
Ties the whole frame, is Love
And Charitie.

Hither sometimes Sinne steals, and stains
The marbles neat and curious veins:
But all is cleansed when the marble weeps.
Sometimes Death, puffing at the Doore,
Blows all the dust about the floore:
But while he thinks to spoil the room, he sweeps.
Blest be the Architect, whose art
Could build so strong in a weak heart.

George Herbert, 1633

The second poem for today is from George Herbert’s older brother. His image is above, he was a diplomat, poet, soldier and philosopher. This was a better time, when the great and good knew their faults, and considered that salvation was beyond their power, regardless of their station.

Besides, he wrote, as would have George Herbert, his serious works in Latin, which could be read everywhere.

Echo in a Church

Where shall my troubled soul, at large
The burden of her sins, oh where?
Echo Here.
    Whence comes this voice I hear?
    Who doth this grace afford?
    If it be thou, O Lord,
Say, if thou hear my prayers when I call.
Echo All.
And wilt thou pity grant when I do cry?
Echo I.

Then though I fall,
    Thy Grace will my defects supply,
    But who will keep my soul from ill,
    Quench bad desires, reform my Will?
Echo I will.

O may that will and voice be blest,
Which yields such comforts unto one distrest,
More blessed yet, would’st thou thy self unmask,
Or tell, at least, who undertakes this task.
Echo Ask.

Then quickly speak,
Since now with crying I am grown so weak,
I shall want force even to crave thy name,
O speak before I wholly weary am.
Echo I am.

Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury