The British Church

By George Herbert 1593–1633 George Herbert
I joy, dear mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
      Both sweet and bright.
Beauty in thee takes up her place,
And dates her letters from thy face,
      When she doth write.

   A fine aspect in fit array,
Neither too mean nor yet too gay,
      Shows who is best.
Outlandish looks may not compare,
For all they either painted are,
      Or else undress'd.

   She on the hills which wantonly
Allureth all, in hope to be
      By her preferr'd,
Hath kiss'd so long her painted shrines,
That ev'n her face by kissing shines,
      For her reward.

   She in the valley is so shy
Of dressing, that her hair doth lie
      About her ears;
While she avoids her neighbour's pride,
She wholly goes on th' other side,
      And nothing wears.

   But, dearest mother, what those miss,
The mean, thy praise and glory is
      And long may be.
Blessed be God, whose love it was
To double-moat thee with his grace,
      And none but thee.

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Poet George Herbert 1593–1633


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Religion, Christianity

Poetic Terms Metaphor, Rhymed Stanza

 George  Herbert


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, Christianity


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Metaphor, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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