by George Herbert
Oh blessed body! Whither art thou thrown?
No lodging for thee, but a cold hard stone?
So many hearts on earth, and yet not one
Sure there is room within our hearts good store;
For they can lodge transgressions by the score:
Thousands of toys1 dwell there, yet out of door
They leave thee.
But that which shows them large, shows them unfit.
Whatever sin did this pure rock commit,
Which holds thee now? Who hath indicted it
Where our hard hearts have took up stones2 to brain thee,
And missing this, most falsely did arraign thee;
Only these stones in quiet entertain thee,
And as of old, the law by heav’nly art,
Was writ in stone; so thou, which also art
The letter of the word,3 find’st no fit heart
To hold thee.
Yet do we still persist as we began,
And so should perish, but that nothing can,
Though it be cold, hard, foul, from loving man
1. toys. Trifling things.
2. took up stones. See John 10:13.
3. The letter of the word. See Hebrews 8:10 and Proverbs 3:3, 7:3.
Source (for poem and footnotes): George Herbert: The Country Parson, The Temple (The Classics of Western Spirituality; 1981)