This quotation and all subsequent quotations of Herbert's works are from The Works
of George Herbert. Ed. F. E. Hutchinson. (1941; reprint, Oxford: Clarendon, 1972).
In his discussion of the encounter between the human and divine in “Love” (III)
in Prayer and Power: George Herbert and Renaissance Courtship, Michael
Schoenfeldt refers readers to paintings of the Annunciation (220—4).
The first three stanzas, in which the narrator describes the relationship between
God and man in terms of a betrothal, contain elements from the myth of Cupid
and Psyche. Cupid, moved by Psyche's situation, weds Psyche to save her from
marrying an evil demon. When she disobeys his one condition, Cupid flees.
Eventually, Cupid rescues his bride a second time, and Psyche gains immortality.
For a different reading, see Richard Strier's Love Known. He does not see the speak-
er's ancestors as potential converts but as “sots like Caliban” (23).
The varied rhyme patterns emphasize the variety of creation. For a division of the
poem by stanzas, see Mary Ellen Rickey, Utmost Art: Complexity in the Verse of
George Herbert. Rickey says that “Man” is “divided into two parts by means of the
degree of rhyme inversion from previous stanzas—the first part, one through
five, the second, six through nine.” This division, she notes, indicates a change
from an impersonal “to a more personal realization of the ministry of the universe
to man” (143).
In Authority, Church, and Society in George Herbert: Return to the Middle Way,
Christopher Hodgkins believes that the ending of “'The World' (W, 84) predicts
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Two Natures Met: George Herbert and the Incarnation.
Contributors: Jeannie Sargent Judge - Author.
Publisher: Peter Lang.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 2004.
Page number: Not available.
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