The British Church

Original Text: 
George Herbert, The temple. Sacred poems and private ejaculations, edited by N. Ferrar (Cambridge: T. Buck and R. Daniel, 1633). STC 13183. Facs. edn. Menston: Scolar Press, 1968. PR 3507 T45 1633A. Also The Bodleian Manuscript of George Herbert's Poems: A Facsimile of Tanner 307, Introduced by Amy M. Charles and Mario A. Di Cesare. Delmar: Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, 1984. PR 3507 T45 1984 Robarts Library.
1I joy, dear mother, when I view
2Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
3    Both sweet and bright.
4Beauty in thee takes up her place,
6    When she doth write.
7  A fine aspect in fit array,
8Neither too mean nor yet too gay,
9    Shows who is best.
10Outlandish looks may not compare,
11For all they either painted are,
12    Or else undress'd.
14Allureth all, in hope to be
15    By her preferr'd,
16Hath kiss'd so long her painted shrines,
17That ev'n her face by kissing shines,
18    For her reward.
19  She in the valley is so shy
21    About her ears;
22While she avoids her neighbour's pride,
23She wholly goes on th' other side,
24    And nothing wears.
25  But, dearest mother, what those miss,
26The mean, thy praise and glory is
27    And long may be.
28Blessed be God, whose love it was
30    And none but thee.


5] Possibly refers to the ecclesiastical practice of dating by the Church Year. Back to Line
13] Refers to the Roman Catholic Church, to which the allegory in Revelation, xvii.3-6, was frequently applied by Protestants. Back to Line
20] Refers to the Nonconformist Churches. Back to Line
29] double-moat: protect against a twofold danger. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.316; RPO 1996-2000.