Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FORERUNNERS, by GEORGE HERBERT

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FORERUNNERS, by             Poem Explanation     Poet's Biography
First Line: The harbingers are come. See, see their mark
Last Line: So all within be livelier than before.
Subject(s): Aging

The harbingers are come. See, see their mark:
White is their color, and behold my head.
But must they have my brain? Must they dispark
Those sparkling notions, which therein were bred?
Must dullness turn me to a clod?
Yet have they left me, Thou art still my God.

Good men ye be, to leave me my best room,
Ev'n all my heart, and what is lodged there:
I pass not, I, what of the rest become,
So Thou art still my God be out of fear.
He will be pleased with that ditty:
And I please him, I write fine and witty.

Farewell sweet phrases, lovely metaphors.
But will ye leave me thus? When ye before
Of stews and brothels only knew the doors,
The did I wash you with my tears, and more,
Brought you to church well dressed and clad:
My God must have my best, ev'n all I had.

Lovely enchanting language, sugar-cane,
Honey of roses, wither wilt thou fly?
Hath some fond lover 'ticed thee to thy bane?
And wilt thou leave the church and love a sty?
Fie, thou wilt soil thy embroidered coat,
And hurt thyself, and him that sings the note.

Let foolish lovers, if they will love dung,
With canvas, not with arras, clothe their shame:
Let folly speak in her own native tongue.
True beauty dwells on high: ours is a flame
But borrowed thence to light us thither.
Beauty and beauteous words should go together.

Yet, if you go, I pass not; take your way:
For Thou art still my God is all that ye
Perhaps with more embellishment can say.
Go, birds of spring: let winter have his fee;
Let a bleak paleness chalk the door,
So all within be livelier than before.

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