The Works of George Herbert

By F. E. Hutchinson; George Herbert | Go to book overview

POEMS FROM WALTON'S LIVEVS

Sonnets.

MY God, where is that ancient heat towards thee,
Wherewith whole showls of Martyrs once did burn,
Besides their other flames? Doth Poetry
Wear Venus Livery? only serve her turn?
Why are not Sonnets made of thee? and layes
Upon thine Altar burnt? Cannot thy love
Heighten a spirit to sound out thy praise
As well as any she? Cannot thy Dove
Out-strip their Cupid easily in flight?

Or, since thy wayes are deep, and still the same, 10 Will not a verse run smooth that bears thy name?
Why doth that fire, which by thy power and might
Each breast does feel, no braver fuel choose
Than that, which one day Worms may chance refuse?

SUre, Lord, there is enough in thee to dry
Oceans of Ink; for, as the Deluge did
Cover the Earth, so doth thy Majesty:
Each Cloud distills thy praise, and doth forbid
Poets to turn it to another use. 5

Roses and Lillies speak thee; and to make
A pair of Cheeks of them, is thy abuse.
Why should I Womens eyes for Chrystal take?
Such poor invention burns in their low mind
Whose fire is wild, and doth not upward go 10 To praise, and on thee, Lord, some Ink bestow.
Open the bones, and you shall nothing find
In the best face but filth, when, Lord, in thee
The beauty lies in the discovery.

Sonnets. From Walton's Lives ( 1670). Also in Life of Herbert ( 1670), in the Life in The Temple ( 1674) and in Lives ( 1675). Printed in italic, with certain words in roman, here italicized. A line-space separates the sonnets, except in 1675

I. 3 flames? 1674. 1675: flames. 1670 (both edns) 11 name? Ed: name! Walton 14 day Worms Ed: day, Worms, Walton

II. 1 Sure comma supplied by Ed 9 mind] mind, 1670 (Life) 11 thee, Ed: thee Walton 13 when, Ed: when Walton 14 lies Ed: lies, Walton

-206-

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