Poem of the Week: “The Pulley”

During a recent book haul (more on that next week), I bought an old copy of The Oxford Book of English Verse for the exorbitant amount of $2. 😉 Since then, I’ve been poking around it, reading all the poets that my fellow bloggers swear by whom I’ve never read. One of them is George Herbert, from whom I found this little gem today.

“The Pulley”

by George Herbert

 When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
  Contract into a span.”

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

“For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
So both should losers be.

“Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.”
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