Verse > Anthologies > Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. > Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c.
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Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C.  1921.
 
George Herbert
 
85. Affliction
 
WHEN first thou didst entice to thee my heart, 
                I thought the service brave: 
So many joyes I writ down for my part, 
                Besides what I might have 
Out of my stock of naturall delights,         5
Augmented with thy gracious benefits. 
  
I looked on thy furniture so fine, 
                And made it fine to me: 
Thy glorious houshold-stuffe did me entwine, 
                And 'tice me unto thee;  10
Such starres I counted mine: both heav'n and earth 
Payd me my wages in a world of mirth. 
  
What pleasures could I want, whose King I served? 
                Where joyes my fellows were. 
Thus argu'd into hopes, my thoughts reserved  15
                No place for grief or fear. 
Therefore my sudden soul caught at the place, 
And made her youth and fiercenesse seek thy face 
  
At first thou gav'st me milk and sweetnesses; 
                I had my wish and way:  20
My dayes were straw'd with flow'rs and happinesse; 
                There was no moneth but May. 
But with my yeares sorrow did twist and grow, 
And made a partie unawares for wo. 
  
My flesh began unto my soul in pain,  25
                Sicknesses cleave my bones; 
Consuming agues dwell in ev'ry vein, 
                And tune my breath to grones. 
Sorrow was all my soul; I scarce beleeved, 
Till grief did tell me roundly, that I lived.  30
  
When I got health, thou took'st away my life, 
                And more; for my friends die: 
My mirth and edge was lost; a blunted knife 
                Was of more use then I. 
Thus thinne and lean without a fence or friend,  35
I was blown through with ev'ry storm and winde. 
  
Whereas my birth and spirit rather took 
                The way that takes the town; 
Thou didst betray me to a lingring book, 
                And wrap me in a gown.  40
I was entangled in the world of strife, 
Before I had the power to change my life. 
  
Yet, for I threatned oft the siege to raise, 
                Not simpring all mine age, 
Thou often didst with Academick praise  45
                Melt and dissolve my rage. 
I took thy sweetned pill, till I came neare; 
I could not go away, nor persevere. 
  
Yet lest perchance I should too happie be 
                In my unhappinesse,  50
Turning my purge to food, thou throwest me 
                Into more sicknesses. 
Thus doth thy power crosse-bias me, not making 
Thine own gift good, yet me from my wayes taking. 
  
Now I am here, what thou wilt do with me  55
                None of my books will show: 
I reade, and sigh, and wish I were a tree; 
                For sure then I should grow 
To fruit or shade: at least some bird would trust 
Her houshold to me, and I should be just.  60
  
Yet, though thou troublest me, I must be meek; 
                In weaknesse must be stout. 
Well, I will change the service, and go seek 
                Some other master out. 
Ah my deare God! though I am clean forgot,  65
Let me not love thee, if I love thee not. 
 
 
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