by Gideon Burton
after George Herbert's "Love (3)"
As though a host who welcomed me to eat:
"Come in," he said, yet all my dust and sin
prevented me. He saw me balk, retreat,
then kindly asked just where he could begin
to help. "I am unworthy. Let me be."
"Let me be judge; I've set for thee this place."
"How can I? I'm unfit to look on thee."
"Who made those eyes? There's no disgrace."
"Except what I have done to mar my fate."
"But I have sounded fate, confounded hell.
The way is hard, but near. It's not too late."
"Then let me serve," I said. "I would serve well."
"Sit down," he said, "for I have born the blame."
I sat, I ate, in grace to know his name.
Photo: flickr - Sifu Renka
by George Herbert
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.