Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Thanksgiving to God, for His House

Lord, Thou hast given me a cell
Wherein to dwell,
A little house, whose humble roof
Is weather-proof:
Under the spars of which I lie
Both soft, and dry;
Where Thou my chamber for to ward
Hast set a guard
Of harmless thoughts, to watch and keep
Me, while I sleep.
Low is my porch, as is my fate,
Both void of state;
And yet the threshold of my door
Is worn by th' poor,
Who thither come and freely get
Good words, or meat.
Like as my parlour, so my hall
And kitchen's small;
A little buttery, and therein
A little bin,
Which keeps my little loaf of bread
Unchipp'd, unflead;*
Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar
Make me a fire,
Close by whose living coal I sit,
And glow like it.
Lord, I confess too, when I dine,
The pulse§ is Thine,
And all those other bits, that be
There plac'd by Thee;
The worts, the purslain, and the mess
Of water-cress,
Which of Thy kindness Thou hast sent;
And my content
Makes those, and my beloved beet,
To be more sweet.
'Tis Thou that crown'st my glittering hearth
With guiltless mirth;
And giv'st me wassail-bowls to drink,
Spic'd to the brink.
Lord, 'tis Thy plenty-dropping hand
That soils my land;
And giv'st me, for my bushel sown,
Twice ten for one;
Thou mak'st my teeming hen to lay
Her egg each day;
Besides my healthful ewes to bear
Me twins each year;
The while the conduits of my kine
Run cream, for wine.
All these, and better, Thou dost send
Me, to this end,
That I should render, for my part,
A thankful heart,
Which, fir'd with incense, I resign,
As wholly Thine;
But the acceptance, that must be,
My Christ, by Thee.

--Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

 *Unchipp'd = "intact", i.e., no part of the loaf broken or crumbled off; unflead = "unflayed", i.e., no crust peeled off or inner part laid bare.

§ pulse = beans, peas, etc.; worts = root vegetables or herbs.

A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to all: in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. We must confess that we have posted this poem with all credits to Mr. Herrick and to the Anglican Curmudgeon and to Mr. Alex Haley on our screed at A Gringo in Rural Mexico so as to further its dissemination, for is as ought should be. (My Tennessee grandmother used that expression frequently)
    As we enter in to the new cycle of our Calendar of Holy Events and Saints, we shall keep this poem handy to read a various gatherings when invocations or prayers before meals are required. We shall read, or if memorised within the next few hours, recite from memory the entire text.
    Thank you for posting such eloquence for us to study and enjoy!!
    El Gringo Viejo

    (ps - Imagine being three years old and trying to figure out the difference twixt ought and Tennessee-speak. My mother and grandmother and grandfather conflicted me early in life.)