Chorus Sacerdotum

By Baron Brooke Fulke Greville 1554–1628 Fulke Greville

from Mustapha

O wearisome condition of humanity!
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity;
Created sick, commanded to be sound.
What meaneth nature by these diverse laws?
Passion and reason, self-division cause.
Is it the mark or majesty of power
To make offenses that it may forgive?
Nature herself doth her own self deflower
To hate those errors she herself doth give.
For how should man think that he may not do,
If nature did not fail and punish, too?
Tyrant to others, to herself unjust,
Only commands things difficult and hard,
Forbids us all things which it knows is lust,
Makes easy pains, unpossible reward.
If nature did not take delight in blood,
She would have made more easy ways to good.
We that are bound by vows and by promotion,
With pomp of holy sacrifice and rites,
To teach belief in good and still devotion,
To preach of heaven’s wonders and delights;
Yet when each of us in his own heart looks
He finds the God there, far unlike his books.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Baron Brooke Fulke Greville 1554–1628


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Nature, Religion, Social Commentaries, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Baron Brooke Fulke  Greville


Fulke Greville, first Lord Brooke, survived most of his contemporaries. His active literary life of almost fifty years (the late 1570s to the 1620s) makes him the principal courtly writer of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras (apart from his short-lived friend Sir Philip Sidney). Although some attention has been paid to him as a writer of short poems, the main interest in Greville has been focused not on his closet dramas Alaham . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Religion, Social Commentaries, God & the Divine


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.