My Stock Lies Dead

Grace” from The Temple (1633)

My stock lies dead, and no increase

Doth my dull husbandrie improve:

O let thy graces without cease

Drop from above!


If still the sunne should hide his face,

Thy house would but a dungeon prove,

Thy works nights captives: O let grace

Drop from above!


The dew doth ev’ry morning fall;

And shall the dew out-strip thy Dove?

The dew, for which grasse cannot call,

Drop from above.


Death is still working like a mole,

And digs my grave at each remove

Let grace work too, and on my soul

Drop from above.


Sinne is still hammering my heart

Unto a hardnesse, void of love:

Let suppling grace, to crosse his art,

Drop from above.


O come! for thou dost know the way:

Or if to me thou wilt not move,

Remove me, where I need not say,

Drop from above.

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. The poem “Grace” begins with an allusion to Job 14, the Old Testament reading for Holy Saturday. Herbert is commemorated on February 27 on the liturgical calendars of several Anglican churches.


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