Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
VI. Human Experience
A True Lent
Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
IS this a fast,—to keep
    The larder lean,
        And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish        5
    Of flesh, yet still
        To fill
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
    Or ragg’d to go,        10
        Or show
A downcast look, and sour?
No! ’t is a fast to dole
    Thy sheaf of wheat,
        And meat,        15
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife,
    From old debate
        And hate,—
To circumcise thy life.        20
To show a heart grief-rent;
    To starve thy sin,
        Not bin,—
And that ’s to keep thy Lent.

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