The Altar

By George Herbert 1593–1633 George Herbert
A broken ALTAR, Lord, thy servant rears,
Made of a heart and cemented with tears;
         Whose parts are as thy hand did frame;
         No workman's tool hath touch'd the same.
                  A HEART alone
                  Is such a stone,
                  As nothing but
                  Thy pow'r doth cut.
                  Wherefore each part
                  Of my hard heart
                  Meets in this frame
                  To praise thy name.
         That if I chance to hold my peace,
         These stones to praise thee may not cease.
Oh, let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
And sanctify this ALTAR to be thine.

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Poet George Herbert 1593–1633

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Religion, Faith & Doubt, Christianity, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Concrete or Pattern Poetry

 George  Herbert

Biography

Nestled somewhere within the Age of Shakespeare and the Age of Milton is George Herbert. There is no Age of Herbert: he did not consciously fashion an expansive literary career for himself, and his characteristic gestures, insofar as these can be gleaned from his poems and other writings, tend to be careful self-scrutiny rather than rhetorical pronouncement; local involvement rather than broad social engagement; and complex, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Faith & Doubt, Christianity, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Concrete or Pattern Poetry

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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