The Temple

Devils are our sins in perspective.”

George Herbert

Will the revision never end?

The Temple is a collection of devotional Christian poetry from the seventeenth century by aristocratic clergyman George Herbert, and while it is charming and lovely and very heartfelt and all, it’s very hard to get a handle on, as it were, because it’s basically all the same. There’s no real progression, as such: no narrative; just almost 200 lyric poems about God.

Like I said, they are lovely, but The Temple as a collection is probably better dipped into than read as a whole. I’ll leave you with my favourite, “Prayer”:

Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;
Engine against th’Almightie, sinners towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-daies world transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear;
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bels beyond the stares heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices; something understood.

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