Thou Wast in the Grief

From Affliction III, The Temple (1633)

My heart did heave, and there came forth, O God!

By that I knew that thou wast in the grief,

To guide and govern it to my relief

Making a septer of the rod:

Hadst thou not had thy part,

Sure the unruly sigh had broke my heart.


But since thy breath gave me both life and shape,

Thou knowst my tallies; and when there’s assign’d

So much breath to a sigh, what’s then behinde?

Or if some yeares with it escape,

The sigh then only is

A gale to bring me sooner to my blisse.


Thy life on earth was grief, and thou asrt stull

Constant unto it, making it to be

A point of honour, now to grieve in me,

And in thy members suffer ill.

They who lament one crosse,

Thou dying daily, praise thee to thy losse.

George Herbert (1583-1633) was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest, one of the best known of the metaphysical poets. He had a political career before his ordination and served as rector of a rural parish near Salisbury. His poems were published posthumously by his friend, Nicholas Ferrar. Herbert is commemorated on February 27 on the liturgical calendars of several Anglican churches.


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