George Herbert

Pontifical Chic

In 2013, Pope Francis sonorously and rightly enjoined the bishops of the world: “Avoid the scandal of being ‘airport bishops’!”  An almost obsessive compulsion of some prelates to travel beyond their own dioceses evokes the absenteeism of the Middle Ages, when many bishops and abbots were seldom seen among their own people. The Pope travels [...]

The Poison That Spoils All the Virtues

In George Herbert’s seventeenth century poem “Humilitie,” the Virtues sit on a throne to receive gifts at court from the animals who serve their masters. Humility steps down to receive the gifts the beasts present to the members of the court. The angry Lion surrenders its paw to Meekness, the fearful Hare presents her ears [...]

George Herbert’s “The Pulley”

In the style of the “wit” of metaphysical poetry—the ability to see striking, original analogies and to use fresh metaphors—Herbert writes of man’s relationship to God by comparing the communication of God to man and man to God to the movements of a pulley. In the language of seventeenth century poetry, Herbert uses a “conceit,” [...]

Richard Crashaw and the Magnificent Seven

Were one to conduct a survey of modern-day Americans, taken at random, it is likely that not one in a hundred would have heard of the poet, Richard Crashaw. Were one to cross the Atlantic and conduct a similar experiment with modern-day Englishmen, it is likely that the result would be the same. This neglect [...]

"Love Bade Me Welcome" a poem by George Herbert was set to music by Ralph Vaughn Williams as part of his "Five Mystical Songs" (1906-11).  Both the poem and the song have the power to convert.  The poem had a profound effect on the Jewish philosopher/mystic Simone Weil.  The song has, more times than I can recall, [...]

On Easter We Can Sing A Song About Love

"Love Bade Me Welcome" a poem by George Herbert was set to music by Ralph Vaughn Williams as part of his "Five Mystical Songs" (1906-11).  Both the poem and the song have the power to convert.  The poem had a profound effect on the Jewish philosopher/mystic Simone Weil.  The song has, more times than I can recall, [...]

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