Virtue

By George Herbert 1593–1633 George Herbert
Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky;
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night,
         For thou must die.

Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in its grave,
         And thou must die.

Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My music shows ye have your closes,
         And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season'd timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
         Then chiefly lives.

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Poet George Herbert 1593–1633

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Spring, Religion, Living, Faith & Doubt, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Trees & Flowers, Philosophy, Weather, Death

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Simile, Imagery

 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 Spring, Religion, Living, Faith & Doubt, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Trees & Flowers, Philosophy, Weather, Death

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Simile, Imagery

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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