George Herbert–“Jordan (II)”

Front Range Eastern View from Wilkerson Pass

When first my lines of heav’nly joyes made mention,
Such was their lustre, they did so excell,
That I sought out quaint words, and trim invention;
My thoughts began to burnish, sprout, and swell,
Curling with metaphors a plain intention,
Decking the sense, as if it were to sell.

Thousands of notions in my brain did runne,
Off’ring their service, if I were not sped:
I often blotted what I had begunne;
This was not quick enough, and that was dead.
Nothing could seem too rich to clothe the sunne,
Much lesse those joyes which trample on his head.

As flames do work and winde, when they ascend,
So did I weave my self into the sense.
But while I bustled, I might heare a friend
Whisper, How wide is all this long pretence!
There is in love a sweetness readie penn’d:
Copie out onely that, and save expense.

George Herbert

Image: view east from Colorado’s Wilkerson Pass at an ordinary noon


~ by matt on 24 August 2009.

2 Responses to “George Herbert–“Jordan (II)””

  1. Thank you for introducing me to George Herbert. Even a second reading of this poem leaves so much undiscovered. And I love the photo, did you take it? The composition is wonderful. I grew up in the Colorado Springs area so, for me, this is an especially lovely picture to accompany the poem.

  2. Hi Scotti–it’s always great hearing from you. Thanks too for your comment. Having grown up in “the Springs,” you are certainly well aware that it’s impossible to take a bad shot in that part of the country. We spend several weeks a year in Lake George and, this time, I came back with about 500 digital images.

    During our most recent week in our regular hideaway, I thoroughly immersed myself in “George Herbert: The Country Parson, The Temple” fastidiously edited and engagingly introduced by Dr. John Nelson Wall, Jr (1981, Paulist Press). I highly recommend this edition and reading Herbert’s prose (Country Parson) and poetic masterpiece (The Temple) in sequence (which I’d not done before). Even at 9500 ft above sea level, this was a very uplifting experience!

    I’ll post a selection from that volume in coming days. Thanks again for visiting and take care! matt

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Natalie E. Illum...

is a poet, performer and disability activist. Bring her stumbling to your city.

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