Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (18591919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903. Mans Medley
By George Herbert (15931633)
H ARK, 1 how the birds do sing,
And woods do ring.
All creatures have their joy: and man hath his.
Yet if we rightly measure,
Mans joy and pleasure 5
Rather hereafter, than in present, is.
To this life things of sense
Make their pretence;
In th other angels have a right by birth:
Man ties them both alone, 10
And makes them one,
With th one hand touching heavn, with th other earth.
In soul he mounts and flies,
In flesh he dies,
He wears a stuff whose thread is coarse and round, 15
But trimmd with curious lace,
And should take place,
After the trimming not the stuff and ground.
Not that he may not here
Taste of the cheer, 20
But as birds drink, and straight lift up their head,
So must he sip and think
Of better drink
He may attain to after he is dead.
But as his joys are double, 25
So is his trouble.
He hath two winters, other things but one;
Both frosts and thoughts do nip,
And bite his lip;
And he of all things fears two deaths alone. 30
Yet evn the greatest griefs
May be reliefs,
Could he but take them right, and in their ways.
Happy is he, whose heart
Hath found the art 35 To turn his double pains to double praise.
The thought in this poem is clearer than the expression. Man has double joys and sorrows answering to his double nature, but the souls joys are to be preferred as lasting into the world beyond. [ Note 1. back]