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By George Herbert

I struck the board, and cried, “No more;

                         I will abroad!

What? shall I ever sigh and pine?

My lines and life are free, free as the road,

Loose as the wind, as large as store.

          Shall I be still in suit?

Have I no harvest but a thorn

To let me blood, and not restore

What I have lost with cordial fruit?

          Sure there was wine

Before my sighs did dry it; there was corn

    Before my tears did drown it.

      Is the year only lost to me?

          Have I no bays to crown it,

No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?

                  All wasted?

Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,

            And thou hast hands.

Recover all thy sigh-blown age

On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute

Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage,

             Thy rope of sands,

Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee

Good cable, to enforce and draw,

          And be thy law,

While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.

          Away! take heed;

          I will abroad.

Call in thy death’s-head there; tie up thy fears;

          He that forbears

         To suit and serve his need

          Deserves his load.”

But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild

          At every word,

Methought I heard one calling, Child!

          And I replied My Lord.


  • Living
  • Religion

Poet Bio

George Herbert
While George Herbert’s early adult life centered around the secular world of the university, his later dedication to Christianity and to poetry have had a lasting effect on literature. His mother was well acquainted with John Donne, with whose work Herbert’s is often associated. Herbert’s poetry, although often formally experimental, is always passionate, searching, and elegant.

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