Thursday, April 30, 2015

Love (III) - George Herbert

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd any thing.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, you shall be he.
I, the unkind, the ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr'd them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

No matter how undeserving one feels, Love is present for us nonetheless.  That's the main crux of this poem, a dialogue between the unworthy feeling narrator and Love.  Herbert's narrator feels the "dust and sin" that is the human condition.  Regardless, Love ameliorates these fears, inviting the narrator in for all of his faults and loving him all the same.  It has a divine character, this Love, reinforced by the capitalization of the L throughout.

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