[Today is the feast of George Herbert, who died on this day in 1633]
Lord, I confess my sin is great;
Great is my sin. Oh! gently treat
With your quick flower, your momentary bloom;
Whose life still pressing
Is one undressing,
A steady aiming at a tomb.
Man’s age is two hours work, or three:
Each day does round about us see.
Thus are we to delights: but we are all
To sorrows old,
If like be told
From what life feels of Adam’s fall.
O let your height of mercy then
Compassionate short-breathéd men.
Cut me not off for my most foul transgression:
I do confess
My God, accept of my confession.
Sweeten at length this bitter bowl,
Which you have poured into my soul;
Your wormwood turn to health, winds to fair weather:
For if you stay,
I and this day,
As we did rise, we die together.
When you for sin rebuke each man,
Forthwith he waxeth woe and wan:
Bitterness fills our bowels; all our hearts
Pine, and decay,
And drop away,
And carry with them th’ other parts.
But you will sin and grief destroy;
That so the broken bones may joy,
And tune together in a well-set song,
Full of His praises,
Who dead men raises.
Fractures well cured make us more strong.
*** Books by George Herbert