THE THANKSGIVING

O king of grief! (a title strange, yet true,
     To thee of all kings only due)
O King of wounds! how shall I grieve for thee,
     Who in all grief preventest me ?
Shall I weep blood ? why, thou hast wept such store,
     That all thy body was one door.
Shall I be scourged, flouted, boxed, sold ?
     'Tis but to tell the tale is told.
My God, my God, why dost thou part from me ?
     Was such a grief as cannot be.
Shall I then sing, skipping, thy doleful story,
     And side with thy triumphant glory ?
Shall thy strokes be my stroking 1 thorns, my flower ?
     Thy rod, my posie ? cross, my bower ?
But how then shall I imitate thee, and
     Copy thy fair, though bloody hand ?
Surely I will revenge me on thy love,
     And try who shall victorious prove.
If thou dost give me wealth; I will restore
     All back unto thee by the poor.
If thou dost give me honour; men shall see,
     The honour doth belong to thee.
I will not marry ; or, if she be mine,
     She and her children shall be thine.
My bosom-friend, if he blaspheme thy name,
     I will tear thence his love and fame.
One half of me being gone, the rest I give
     Unto some Chapel, die or live.
As for thy passion—but of that anon,
     When with the other I have done.
For thy predestination, I'll contrive,
     That three years hence, if I survive,
I'll build a spital, or mend common ways,
     But mend my own without delays.
Then I will use the works of thy creation,
     As if I used them but for fashion.
The world and I will quarrel; and the year
     Shall not perceive, that I am here.
My music shall find thee, and every string
     Shall have his attribute to sing;
That altogether may accord in thee,
     And prove one God, one harmony.
If thou shalt give me wit, it shall appear,
     If thou hast given it me, 'tis here.
Nay, I will read thy book, and never move
     Till I have found therein thy love;
Thy art of love, which I'll turn back on thee,
     O my dear Saviour, Victory!
Then for thy passion—I will do for that—
     Alas ! my God, I know not what.

by George Herbert 1593-1633
source: The Poetical Works Of George Herbert, ed. George Gilfillan. Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1853

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