From Peace to Prayer: A George Herbert Quartet

This is a re-blog of an old post of mine (written close to a year ago in fact). I have been having one of my periodic re-immersions in George Herbert’s poetry, and was thereby drawn back to some of my favourite poems of his, which include these four. This quartet seems to me to display particularly clearly something of the breadth and depth of the poet’s vision, and so, firmly planted in Herbert territory as I am at the moment, I thought them worth revisiting today.

Journey Towards Easter

After leafing through my collection of George Herbert’s verse last night, I stumbled upon an unintended theme involving four of his poems. These four are favourites of mine, which I have read many times before, but a chance combination of mood and reflection on the day’s events led me to see a connection between them. I am not suggesting that this connection is anything but coincidental, and this is certainly more an act of eisegesis than exegesis. However, I would venture the point that Herbert’s poetry is so rich in imagery and his vision so consistent, that this is not an arrangement that does any violence to the poems, or to their original meaning.

The first is entitled Peace, and in it Herbert asks urgently where one may find peace in life; he looks in vain amongst the things of this world, until an answer is finally given: 

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