The Country Parson; The Temple

By John N. Wall; George Herbert | Go to book overview

THE CHURCH PORCH

PERIRRHANTERIUM 1.

Thou, whose sweet youth and early hopes enhance
Thy rate and price, and mark thee for a treasure;
Harken unto a Verser, who may chance
Rhyme thee to good, and make a bait of pleasure.

A verse may find him, who a sermon flies,
5
And turn delight into a sacrifice. 2.

Beware of lust: it doth pollute and foul
Whom God in Baptism washt with his own blood.
It blots thy lesson written in thy soul;

The holy lines cannot be understood.
10
How dare those eyes upon a Bible look,
Much less towards God, whose lust is all their book?

Abstain wholly, or wed. Thy bounteous Lord
Allows thee choice of paths: take no byways;

But gladly welcome what he doth afford;
15
Not grudging, that thy lust hath bounds and stays.
Continence hath his joy: weigh both; and so
If rottenness have more, let Heaven go. 3.

____________________
sojourn with Laban, as part of his concern for what will happen when he meets Esau again: "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands."
1.
Perirrhanterium. Greek term for instrument used for sprinkling holy water (Latin aspergillum). Here it suggests that the poem that follows is a preparatory ritual of cleansing or "setting-apart" before entering the "Church" section of The Temple, another of many uses of the analogy of The Temple poems with an actual church building.
2.
There may be echoes here of Sir Philip Sidney's definition of the poet: "For these indeed to merely make to imitate, and imitate both to delight and teach; and delight, to move men to take that goodness in hand, which without delight they would fly as from a stranger; and teach, to make them know that goodness whereunto they are moved" (A Defence of Poetry, in Miscellaneous Prose, ed. K. Duncan-Jones and J. Van Dorsten [Oxford; Clarendon, 1973], p. 81).
3.
See Prov. 12:4.

-121-

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The Country Parson; The Temple
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • George Herbert - The Country Parson, the Temple *
  • Contents *
  • Preface xi
  • Foreword xix
  • Introduction 1
  • A Priest to the Temple, Or, the Country Parson His Character, and Rule of Holy Life *
  • The Temple. Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations *
  • The Dedication 119
  • The Church Porch 121
  • The Church 139
  • The Church Militant 317
  • Poems Not Included in the Temple 327
  • Bibliography 335
  • Index to Preface, Introduction and Notes 341
  • Index to Texts and Scripture References 345
  • Index to Poems 352
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