Jordan (I)

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 ROBA.
2Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
3Is all good structure in a winding stair?
4May no lines pass, except they do their duty
5      Not to a true, but painted chair?
6Is it no verse, except enchanted groves
7And sudden arbours shadow coarse-spun lines?
8Must purling streams refresh a lover's loves?
9Must all be veil'd, while he that reads, divines,
10      Catching the sense at two removes?
13I envy no man's nightingale or spring;
14Nor let them punish me with loss of rhyme,
15      Who plainly say, my God, my King.


1] In the Old Testament (Deut. 27) crossing the Jordan is described as the sign of becoming the chosen people. It became a Christian symbol of redemption through baptism. Back to Line
11] Shepherds: in literary usage, poets. Back to Line
12] pull for prime: draw for winning card in the game of primero. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.211-12.