Life

By George Herbert 1593–1633 George Herbert
I made a posy, while the day ran by:
“Here will I smell my remnant out, and tie
                           My life within this band.”
But Time did beckon to the flowers, and they
By noon most cunningly did steal away,
                           And withered in my hand.

My hand was next to them, and then my heart;
I took, without more thinking, in good part
                           Time’s gentle admonition;
Who did so sweetly death’s sad taste convey,
Making my mind to smell my fatal day,
                           Yet, sug’ring the suspicion.

Farewell dear flowers, sweetly your time ye spent,
Fit, while ye lived, for smell or ornament,
                           And after death for cures.
I follow straight without complaints or grief,
Since, if my scent be good, I care not if
                           It be as short as yours.

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Poet George Herbert 1593–1633

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Subjects Living, Death, Time & Brevity

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 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 Living, Death, Time & Brevity

POET’S REGION Wales

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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