By George Herbert 1593–1633 George Herbert
    When my devotions could not pierce
                              Thy silent ears,
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse;
         My breast was full of fears
                              And disorder.

    My bent thoughts, like a brittle bow,
                               Did fly asunder:
Each took his way; some would to pleasures go,
          Some to the wars and thunder
                               Of alarms.

    “As good go anywhere,” they say,
                               “As to benumb
Both knees and heart, in crying night and day,
         Come, come, my God, O come!
                               But no hearing.”

    O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue
                               To cry to thee,
And then not hear it crying! All day long
          My heart was in my knee,
                               But no hearing.

    Therefore my soul lay out of sight,
                               Untuned, unstrung:
My feeble spirit, unable to look right,
          Like a nipped blossom, hung

    O cheer and tune my heartless breast,
                               Defer no time;
That so thy favors granting my request,
          They and my mind may chime,
                               And mend my rhyme.

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Poet George Herbert 1593–1633


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love

 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 Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love


SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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