Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
[Table of Contents]  [Fast Index]  [Site Map]

The Temper (I)

by George Herbert


How should I praise thee, Lord! how should my rhymes
     Gladly engrave thy love in steel,
     If what my soul doth feel sometimes,
          My soul might ever feel!


Although there were some forty heav'ns, or more,
     Sometimes I peer above them all;
     Sometimes I hardly reach a score,
          Sometimes to hell I fall.


O rack me not to such a vast extent;
     Those distances belong to thee:
     The world's too little for thy tent,
          A grave too big for me.


Wilt thou meet arms with man, that thou dost stretch
     A crumb of dust from heav'n to hell?
     Will great God measure with a wretch?
          Shall he thy stature spell?


O let me, when thy roof my soul hath hid,
     O let me roost and nestle there:
     Then of a sinner thou art rid,
          And I of hope and fear.


Yet take thy way; for sure thy way is best:
     Stretch or contract me, thy poor debtor:
     This is but tuning of nay breast,
          To make the music better.


Whether I fly with angels, fall with dust,
     Thy hands made both, and I am there:
     Thy power and love, my love and trust
          Make one place ev'ry where.




Poetry Index



Table of Contents Main Page Quote of the Week
History & Biography Poetry If You're Looking For...
New & Favourite Reformed Links Fast Index
Site Map Frivolous Search
About the Puritans