On Mr. G. Herbert's Book

By Richard Crashaw 1612–1649 Richard Crashaw
Know you fair, on what you look;
Divinest love lies in this book,
Expecting fire from your eyes,
To kindle this his sacrifice.
When your hands untie these strings,
Think you’have an angel by th’ wings.
One that gladly will be nigh,
To wait upon each morning sigh.
To flutter in the balmy air
Of your well-perfumed prayer.
These white plumes of his he’ll lend you,
Which every day to heaven will send you,
To take acquaintance of the sphere,
And all the smooth-fac’d kindred there.
         And though Herbert’s name do owe
         These devotions, fairest, know
         That while I lay them on the shrine
         Of your white hand, they are mine.

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Poet Richard Crashaw 1612–1649

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Couplet

Biography

The intense and intimate depiction of Richard Crashaw that prefaces his English volumes of poetry (Steps to the Temple, 1646, enlarged 1648) is also a candlelit window that opens on his soul. To look through this window is to discover Crashaw in the state of unruffled devotion which is presented as the hub of his poetic genius.

Reader, we stile his Sacred Poems, Stepps to the Temple, and aptly, for in the Temple of God, under . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Couplet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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