Many discount the late bloomer.

After all, aren’t we supposed to have our lives figured out by the time we interview at university?

Yet, there are those who come into their own only once they reach middle age. One of these was George Herbert (1593-1633), who was no slouch when it came to scholastics but was left behind when it came time to determine his career. His mother wanted him to enter the Anglican priesthood. He wanted to be certain before he took such a serious decision.

Once he was ordained, Herbert accepted a modest parsonage in Wiltshire.

Today, many Anglicans visit Lower Bemerton in Wiltshire to find out more about this poetic Anglican priest. My hat tip today goes to Llew of Lleweton’s Blog, where you can read more about what our green and pleasant land is really like in the Springtime. He brings Robert Browning’s ‘Oh, to be in England now that April’s there’ to life.

Llew sent me Herbert’s poem ‘Easter’, recently reproduced on The Spectator blog. It is from Herbert’s work The Temple.

This is Herbert’s ‘Easter’:

Rise heart: thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name,
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or since all music is but three parts vied
And multiplied;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

I got me flowers to straw thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.

The sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, & th’East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we misse:
There is but one, and that one ever.

Herbert also published another poem for this day entitled ‘Easter Wings’. It was printed as intended:

On this Day of Days, wherever you are, in whatever circumstances you find yourself, please also  contemplate the verses to ‘Easter Wings’:

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
    Though foolishly he lost the same,
          Decaying more and more,
              Till he became
                  Most poore:
                  With thee
              Oh 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.

May all my readers have a very happy and blessed Easter!

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