Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 31: George Herbert's Easter Wings

Happy Easter!  We finish this month of Welsh and Irish poetry (mostly Welsh) with the 17th century Welsh poet, George Herbert's, Easter Wings.  Herbert was Welsh-born (Montgomeryshire), educated at Cambridge, represented Montgomeryshire in Parliament, and then took up residence as an Anglican minister in Wiltshire, where he died in 1633 from tuberculosis, at the age of 39.  All of his poems were religious in theme; a few, like Easter Wings, also were "pattern poems" in which the format of the lines also formed a pattern related to the theme.  If you rotate the poem to the right, the two stanzas appear to be wings of  a bird in upward flight.  I've included an image of the poem as originally printed below (thanks to Wikipedia).


Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
    Though foolishly he lost the flame,
       Decaying more and more,
         Till   he   became
            Most poore:
            With     thee
         O   let   me  rise
       As  larks, harmoniously,
    And sing this  day  thy victories:
Then  shall  the  fall  further  the  flight  in me.

My   tender  age   in   sorrow  did   beginne
     And still with sicknesses and shame
       Thou didst so punish sinne,
          That      I     became
             Most thinne.
            With   thee
          Let    me     combine,
       And feel this day thy victorie:
     For,  if  I  imp  my  wing  on  thine,
Affliction   shall   advance  the  flight   in  me.   

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