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.
This is Herbert’s ‘Easter’:
Rise heart: thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
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
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
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
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!