Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Providence
By George Herbert (1593–1633)
 
O SACRED Providence, who from end to end
Strongly and sweetly movest! shall I write,
And not of thee, through whom my fingers bend
To hold my quill? shall they not do thee right?
 
Wherefore, most sacred Spirit, I here present,        5
For me and all my fellows, praise to thee:
And just it is that I should pay the rent,
Because the benefit accrues to me.
 
Tempests are calm to thee: they know thy hand,
And hold it fast, as children do their fathers,        10
Which cry and follow. Thou hast made poore sand
Check the proud sea, even when it swells and gathers.
 
How finely dost thou times and seasons spin,
And make a twist checkered with night and day!
Which as it lengthens, windes and windes us in,        15
As bowls go on, but turning all the way.
 
Bees work for man; and yet they never bruise
Their master’s flower, but leave it, having done,
As fair as ever, and as fit to use:
So both the flower doth stay, and honey run.        20
 
Who hath the virtue to expresse the rare
And curious virtues both of herbs and stones?
Is there an herb for that? O that thy care
Would show a root that gives expressions!
 
The sea which seems to stop the traveller,        25
Is by a ship the speedier passage made:
The windes, who think they rule the mariner,
Are ruled by him, and taught to serve his trade.
 
Rain, do not hurt my flowers, but gently spend
Your honey drops; presse not to smell them here:        30
When they are ripe, their odor will ascend,
And at your lodging with their thanks appeare.
 
Sometimes thou dost divide thy gifts to man;
Sometimes unite. The Indian nut alone
Is clothing, meat, and trencher, drink and can,        35
Boat, cable, sail and needle, all in one.
 
Each thing that is, although in use and name
It go for one, hath many ways in store
To honor thee; and so each hymn thy fame
Extolleth many ways, yet this one more.        40
 
 
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