Explication Of The Altar

Decent Essays

Alicia Markley ENG 213 Newton November 18, 2015 Explication of The Altar George Herbert, an English seventeenth century metaphysical poet, published a volume of poetry called The Temple, which contains The Altar. Herbert uses the concrete poem method to clearly illustrate the themes thought this work. Because the altar is physically constructed with varying lines lengths, the reader is imprinted with the image. This poem captivates the senses both visually and verbally. Using pictures, intelligent wording, allusions to the church, symbolism, and tone shifts Herbert transitions the topic from sacrifice, to heart, to sacrifice once more. Before the reader has a chance to dive into the poem, they see the outline of a table or in this case, an altar. The Altar is the first poem under The Church collection. Altars are elaborate tables used to sacrifice things to God. The first thing that draws attention in a church is the altar. In the same way Herbert used visual imagery of an altar to catch the eye of the reader. He begins by describing the materials evolved to assemble the altar. The altar is portrayed as broken and built with the heart and tears of a faithful servant. Because man builds the altar and all men are sinful, human heart and pain cannot appear untainted before God. In the first two lines are written in iambic pentameter however the meter fluctuates throughout The Alter. Similar sounds in lines 2 and 3 add a flow to the poem. “Heart and “cemented”(2) have the

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