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 lack’d any thing.
A guest, I answer’d, 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 marr’d 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.
This famous poem by metaphysical poet George Herbert has stayed with me long after I finished my degree. I suspect it has influenced (as did many of the poems of this era) much of my own thought, and to a lesser extent, my own poetry. It was a long time after graduating before I wrote poetry; overawed by the giants I had studied, it just didn’t seem right.
Besides, you need to have something to write about, the passion to actually bother, the time in which to do it and the will to even try. I didn’t get any of these till my late thirties. But I am hoping to make up for lost time.
by Viv (and George Herbet, mainly!)