Passion Week: George Herbert’s “The Sacrifice” (1633)
Posted by David
For Passion Week, here is an excerpt from George Herbert’s poem “The Sacrifice,” which was first published in The Temple (1633):
O all ye who passe by, behold and see; Man stole the fruit, but I must climbe the tree; The tree of life to all, but onely me: Was ever grief like mine? Lo, here I hang, charg’d with a world of sinne, The greater world o’ th’ two; for that came in By words, but this by sorrow I must win: Was ever grief like mine? Such sorrow as, if sinfull man could feel, Or feel his part, he would not cease to kneel. Till all were melted, though he were all steel: Was ever grief like mine? But, O my God, my God! why leav’st thou me, The sonne, in whom thou dost delight to be? My God, my God —— Never was grief like mine. Shame tears my soul, my bodie many a wound; Sharp nails pierce this, but sharper that confound; Reproches, which are free, while I am bound. Was ever grief like mine? Now heal thy self, Physician; now come down. Alas! I did so, when I left my crown And fathers smile for you, to feel his frown: Was ever grief like mine? In healing not my self, there doth consist All that salvation, which ye now resist; Your safetie in my sicknesse doth subsist: Was ever grief like mine? Betwixt two theeves I spend my utmost breath, As he that for some robberie suffereth. Alas! what have I stollen from you? Death. Was ever grief like mine?