Good Friday–George Herbert

O my chief good,
How shall I measure out thy blood?
How shall I count what thee befell,
And each grief tell?

Shall I thy woes
Number according to thy foes?
Or, since one star showed thy first breath,
Shall all thy death?

Or shall each leaf,
Which falls in Autumn, score a grief?
Or cannot leaves, but fruit, be sign
Of the true vine?

Then let each hour
Of my whole life one grief devour;
That thy distress through all may run,
And be my sun.

Or rather let
My several sins their sorrows get;
That as each beast his cure doth know,
Each sin may so.

Since blood is fittest, Lord, to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloody fight;
My heart hath store, write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sin:

That when sin spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes,
All come to lodge there, sin may say,
‘No room for me,’ and fly away.

Sin being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sin take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.

5 comments for “Good Friday–George Herbert

  1. April 9, 2004 at 12:07 pm


  2. April 9, 2004 at 12:09 pm

    Herbert is such a great poet. Thanks for thinking of him. Let me reply with John Donne:


    By miracles exceeding power of man,
    He faith in some, envy in some begat,
    For, what weak spirits admire, ambitious hate :
    In both affections many to Him ran.
    But O ! the worst are most, they will and can,
    Alas ! and do, unto th’ Immaculate,
    Whose creature Fate is, now prescribe a fate,
    Measuring self-life’s infinity to span,
    Nay to an inch. Lo ! where condemned He
    Bears His own cross, with pain, yet by and by
    When it bears him, He must bear more and die.
    Now Thou art lifted up, draw me to Thee,
    And at Thy death giving such liberal dole,
    Moist with one drop of Thy blood my dry soul.

  3. April 9, 2004 at 12:23 pm

    Thank you. I’ve been musing over what I ought to send my students to remind them of today. These are the answers to my musing.

  4. cooper
    April 9, 2004 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you Kristine.

    Amazing, I called the bank to see if they’d be open today (yesterday) and the girl asked me why they should be closed?

  5. Adam Greenwood
    April 11, 2004 at 12:41 am

    Here’s more:

    I particularly liked the verse that began, Now goth sonne under tre

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