The Pulley: George Herbert (1593-1632)

The Pulley

WHEN God at first made Man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by–
Let us (said He) pour on him all we can;
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way,
Then beauty flow’d, then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all His treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

For if I should (said He)
Bestow this jewel also on My creature,
He would adore My gifts instead of Me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.

George Herbert

Tuesday Poem

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About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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9 Responses to The Pulley: George Herbert (1593-1632)

  1. harvey says:

    Your choices continue to surprise me. Herbert in my mind ranks with Donne as a great metaphysical. Thanks for the reminder. Am enjoying Fly Boy. Will blog about it soon.
    Harvey

  2. Paparoa says:

    Greetings Harvey. I guess I just don’t want to put any old thing of mine up there, just to make up the numbers. I love Herbert and Donne, enjoyed studying them and reading them for pleasure – so sharp, and witty, so clever and as divines, so personal and intense.
    Glad to hear you have a Fly Boy – didn’t know if any had made the shops yet. Where did you get yours? I told Paul Millar to check out your blog, re: Bill Pearson, which he was keen to do.
    Cheers
    Jeffrey

    • harvey says:

      Jeffrey
      I’ve put up my blog on Fly Boy a few moments ago. It was a great read. I’ll keep it on the coffee table for a while longer.
      I learnt about it from Steele Roberts catalogue.
      Cheers
      Harvey

  3. Paparoa says:

    Hi again Harvey. So glad you liked it. I will have a look at your blog. There are so few poems on flight and aviation (well, good ones, at least: Yeats “Irish Airman…”, J G Magee’s “High Flight”, and Randall Jarrell’s “Death of the Ball Turret Gunner”. It was a challenge and delight to do the book – Roger as usual has done us proud.
    Cheers Jeffrey

  4. Belinda says:

    This is a lovely poem and I’m delighted by it – I know some beautiful Herbert hymns, which he may or may not have written originally as poems, but this is new to me and I’ll treasure it, and thank you.

  5. Paparoa says:

    Glad to have introduced you to The Pulley, Belinda. Herbert sometimes gets overshadowed by John Donne, but he has his own depths and delights. Cheers.

  6. Herbert is so sure-footed and humble. The poems are so memorable, they’ve stayed in my head for years. Lovely to see this here. Thank you.

  7. paparoa says:

    He’s great isn’t he? Now, who else can we honour today (I am a little dry myself).

  8. google says:

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