George Herbert was born in 1593 in Montgomery, Wales. He wrote most of his poetry while studying at Cambridge, where he became the official university orator in 1620. Herbert was a pivotal figure in metaphysical poetry, and his work was both enormously popular and broadly influential. His collection “The Temple,” which contains the series of poems that “Love (III)” is part of, was published shortly after his death in 1633.
By George Herbert
Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked any thing.
A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, 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 marred 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.
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