12 February 2011

Love bade me welcome

At Valentine's Day, one of our traditions is that I force anyone who will stand sort of still for a bit to listen to poetry. This is one of my faves.

Love bade me welcome

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

"A guest," I answer'd, "worthy to be here";
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.
-- George Herbert

It's even more beautiful in the setting by Vaughan William, I think. This version is so gorgeous and I was so excited to see that Thomas Allen is the baritone for this. Sublime.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this poem! I studied the metaphysical poets at university and taught them for a few years in my teaching days. Such wealth, such riches in the words and construction.