Lectionary Poetry – Third Sunday of Epiphany (Year A)

Lectionary Poetry Advent

With the dawn of Advent and a new church year, we’ve revamped our weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week (Narrative Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary).

*** Revised Common Lectionary ***

Lectionary Reading: I Corinthians 1: 10-18 



Perdam Sapientiam Sapientum
William Habington

My Lord,
Forgive my envie to the World; while I
Commend those sober thoughts perswade you fly
The glorious troubles of the Court. For though
The vale lyes open to each overflow,
And in the humble shade we gather ill
And aguish ayres: yet lightnings oftner kill
Oth’ naked heights of mountaines, whereon we
May have more prospect, not securitie.
For when with losse of breath, we have orecome
Some steepe ascent of power, and forc’d a roome
On the so envi’d hill; how doe our hearts
Pant with the labour, and how many arts
More subtle must we practise, to defend
Our pride from sliding, then we did t’ascend?
How doth successe delude the mysteries
And all th’ involv’d designements of the wise?
How doth that Power, our Pollitickes call chance,
Racke them till they confesse the ignorance
Of humane wit? Which, when ’tis fortified
So strong with reason that it doth deride
All adverse force oth’ sudden findes its head
Intangled in a spiders slender thread.
Cœlestiall Providence! How thou dost mocke
The boast of earthly wisdome? On some rocke
When man hath rais’d a structure, with such art,
It doth disdaine to tremble at the dart
Of thunder, or to shrinke oppos’d by all
The angry winds, it of it selfe doth fall,
Ev’n in a calme so gentle that no ayre
Breaths loude enough to stirre a Virgins haire!
But misery of judgement! Though past times
Instruct us by th’ ill fortune of their crimes,
And shew us how we may secure our state
From pittied ruine, by anothers fate;
Yet we contemning all such sad advice,
Pursue to build though on a precipice.
But you (my Lord) prevented by foresight
To engage your selfe to such an unsafe height,
And in your selfe both great and rich enough
Refused t’ expose your vessell to the rough
Vncertaine sea of businesse: whence even they
Who make the best returne, are forc’t to say;
The wealth we by our worldly traffique gaine,
Weighes light if ballanc’d with the feare or paine.

*** This poem is in the public domain,
and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.


Mary Ruefle

Found in:
Dunce: Poems


The world was divided into two countries.
Every photograph taken in the first was of people.
Every photograph taken in the second showed none.



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