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About this Poem 

“The Flower” was published in The Poetical Works of George Herbert (George Bell and Sons, 1886).

The Flower

How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are Thy returns! ev’n as the flow’rs in Spring,
    	To which, besides their own demean
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring;
                	   Grief melts away
         	           Like snow in May,
    	As if there were no such cold thing.
 
    	Who would have thought my shrivel’d heart
Could have recover’d greennesse? It was gone
    	Quite under ground; as flow’rs depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown,
                	Where they together
                	All the hard weather,
    	Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
 
    	These are Thy wonders, Lord of power,
Killing and quickning, bringing down to Hell
    	And up to Heaven in an houre;
Making a chiming of a passing-bell.
                	We say amisse
                	This or that is;
    	Thy word is all, if we could spell.
 
    	O that I once past changing were,
Fast in Thy Paradise, where no flower can wither;
 	   Many a Spring I shoot up fair,
Offring at Heav’n, growing and groning thither,
                	Nor doth my flower
                	Want a Spring-showre,
    	My sinnes and I joyning together.
 
    	But while I grow in a straight line,
Still upwards bent, as if Heav’n were mine own,
    	Thy anger comes, and I decline:
What frost to that? what pole is not the zone
                	Where all things burn,
                	When Thou dost turn,
    	And the least frown of Thine is shown?
 
    	And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
    	I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing: O, my onely Light,
                	It cannot be
                	That I am he
    	On whom Thy tempests fell all night.
 
    	These are Thy wonders, Lord of love,
To make us see we are but flow’rs that glide;
    	Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide.
                	Who would be more,
               	Swelling through store,
    	Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 8, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on September 8, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

George Herbert

George Herbert

George Herbert was born on April 3, 1593, the fifth son of an eminent Welsh family.

by this poet

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Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
	Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
	From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
	If I lacked anything.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here":
	Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah,
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Love built a stately house, where Fortune came,
And spinning fancies, she was heard to say
That her fine cobwebs did support the frame,
Whereas they were supported by the same;
But Wisdom quickly swept them all away.

The Pleasure came, who, liking not the fashion,
Began to make balconies, terraces,
Till she had
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Full of rebellion, I would die,
Or fight, or travell, or denie
That thou hast ought to do with me.
                          O tame my heart; 
                   It is thy highest art
To captivate strong holds to thee.

If thou shalt let this venome lurk,
And in suggestions fume