Poetry Monday – “The H. Scriptures”

September 11, 2012 — Leave a comment

Singing the praises of Holy Scripture begins in the Bible itself, as in the magisterial Psalms 19 and 119.  Many Christian poets have joined the chorus over the centuries.  George Herbert was a pastor and poet who lived in the 17th century.  Charles Spurgeon’s wife said that nothing soothed her pastor-husband after a long exhausting Sunday like Herbert’s poetry!  Here is one of two poems (you could also call them meditative prayers) that he wrote about his love of the Bible, titled The H. Scriptures I. Let it remind you of the sweetness of Scripture!  And of our need to prayerfull “ingest” it and be transformed!  [I’ve added some translations of old English words.]

Oh Book! infinite sweetnesse! let my heart
Suck ev’ry letter, and a honey gain,
Precious for any grief in any part;
To cleare the breast, to mollifie all pain.

Thou art all health, health thriving till it make
A full eternitie: thou art a masse
Of strange delights, where we may wish & take.
Ladies, look here; this is the thankfull glasse**,                   

That mends the lookers eyes: this is the well
That washes what it shows.  Who can indeare
Thy praise too much?  thou art heav’ns Lidger** here,     
Working against the states of death and hell.

Thou art joy’s handsell:** heav’n lies flat in thee,        
   Subject to ev’ry mounters bended knee.

** [glasse = mirror];   [Lidger = ambassador];  [handsell = deposit, down payment]

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