Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Favorite Poem on Thankfulness

George Herbert (1593 – 1633)

George Herbert was a prominent English scholar (though born in Wales) who could have used his standing to pursue a political career, but chose to use his energy and learning as a preacher. He helped rebuild the church in Bremerton using his own funds; he preached there until his death in 1633. C.S. Lewis said that Herbert’s poetry was "most alarming" to his assumption, before conversion, that the Christian faith could not be satisfying. Herbert’s poetry shows the extraordinary quality of the ordinary Christian life. The poem is called Gratefulnesse:

Thou that hast giv’n so much to me,
Give one thing more, a gratefull heart.
See how thy beggar works on thee
By art.

He makes thy gifts occasion more,
And sayes, If he in this be crost,
All thou hast giv’n him heretofore
Is lost.

But thou didst reckon, when at first
Thy word our hearts and hands did crave,
What it would come to at the worst
To save.

Perpetuall knockings at thy doore,
Tears sullying thy transparent rooms,
Gift upon gift, much would have more,
And comes.

This notwithstanding, thou wentst on,
And didst allow us all our noise:
Nay, thou hast made a sigh and grone
Thy joyes.

Not that thou hast not still above
Much better tunes, then grones can make;
But that these countrey-aires thy love
Did take.

Wherefore I crie, and crie again;
And in no quiet canst thou be,
Till I a thankfull heart obtain
Of thee:

Not thankfull, when it pleaseth me;
As if thy blessings had spare dayes:
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.

1 comment:

Bradford Mercer said...

Great stuff Derek!