Yesterday in Lesser Feasts and Fasts, we remembered George Herbert (1593-1633). Herbert is chiefly known for his poetry, especially The Temple and The Country Parson, but neither appeared in print during his lifetime. Apparently he struggled with a call to the ministry and was only ordained a priest in 1630. The Country Parson seems to have been written as something of a guidebook for him to follow after he took up his cure, so it doesn’t reflect his practice of ministry. It has had a profound effect on Anglican priests over the centuries, and probably on laypeople as well. Several of his poems appear in The Hymnal 1982 and his poems continue to capture the imagination of readers today.
Among my favorites:
And in honor of the season of Lent:
|Welcome dear feast of Lent: who loves not thee,
He loves not Temperance, or Authority,
But is compos’d of passion.
The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says, now:
Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow
To ev’ry Corporation.
The humble soul compos’d of love and fear
True Christians should be glad of an occasion
Besides the cleanness of sweet abstinence,
Then those same pendant profits, which the spring
It’s true, we cannot reach Christ’s forti’eth day;
Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast