Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Love
By George Herbert (1593–1633)
 
  THOU art too hard for me in Love;
There is no dealing with Thee in that Art,
  That is Thy Masterpiece, I see.
  When I contrive and plot to prove
Something that may be conquest on my part,        5
  Thou still, O Lord, outstrippest me.
 
  Sometimes, when as I wash, I say,
And shrewdly as I think, Lord, wash my soul,
  More spotted than my flesh can be!
  But then there comes into my way        10
Thy ancient baptism, which when I was foul
  And knew it not, yet cleansèd me.
 
  I took a time when Thou didst sleep,
Great waves of trouble combating my breast:
  I thought it brave to praise Thee then;        15
  Yet then I found that Thou didst creep
Into my heart with joy, giving more rest
  Than flesh did lend Thee back again.
 
  Let me but once the conquest have
Upon the matter, ’twill Thy conquest prove:        20
  If Thou subdue mortality,
  Thou dost no more than doth the grave;
Whereas if I o’ercome Thee and Thy love,
  Hell, Death, and Devil come short of me.
 
 
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