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



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THE CROSSE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What is this strange and uncouth thing?
Last Line: With but foure words, my words, thy will be done.
Variant Title(s): The Cross
Subject(s): Cross, The; Repentance; Penitence


WHAT is this strange and uncouth thing? --
To make me sigh, and seek, and faint, and die,
Untill I had some place where I might sing,
And serve thee; and not onely I,
But all my wealth and familie, might combine
To set thy honour up, as our designe.

And then, when, after much delay,
Much wrestling, many a combate, this deare end,
So much desir'd, is giv'n, to take away
My power to serve thee; to unbend
All my abilities, my designes confound,
And lay my threatnings bleeding on the ground.

One ague dwelleth in my bones;
Another in my soul (the memorie
What I would do for thee, if once my grones
Could be allow'd for harmonie):
I am in all a weak, disabled thing,
Save in the sight thereof, where strength doth sting.

Besides, things sort not to my will,
Ev'n when my will doth studie thy renown:
Thou turnest th' edge of all things on me still,
Taking me up to throw me down:
So that, ev'n when my hopes seem to be sped,
I am to grief alive, to them as dead.

To have my aim, and yet to be
Farther from it than when I bent my bow;
To make my hopes my torture, and the fee
Of all my woes another wo,
Is in the midst of delicates to need,
And ev'n in paradise to be a weed.

Ah, my deare Father, ease my smart!
These contrarieties crush me; these crosse actions
Doe winde a rope about, and cut my heart:
And yet, since these thy contradictions
Are properly a crosse felt by thy Sonne
With but foure words, my words, Thy will be done.





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