Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
IV. Comfort and Cheer
The Flower
George Herbert (1593–1633)
 
    HOW fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns! even as the flowers in spring;
    To which, besides their own demean,
The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.
        Grief melts away        5
        Like snow in May,
    As if there were no such cold thing.
 
    Who would have thought my shrivelled heart
Could have recovered greenness? It was gone
    Quite underground; as flowers depart        10
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,        15
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:        20
    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,
Off’ring at heav’n, growing and groning thither;        25
        Nor doth my flower
        Want a spring-showre,
    My sinnes and I joining together.
 
    But, while I grow in a straight line,
Still upwards bent, as if heav’n were mine own,        30
    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?        35
 
    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 only light,
        It cannot be        40
        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 flowers that glide;
    Which when we once can finde and prove,        45
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide.
        Who would be more,
        Swelling through store,
    Forfeit their paradise by their pride.
 
 
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