Book Sources - George Herbert

‘The Elixir’ by George Herbert, 1593 – 1633.

He was a Welsh poet, orator and Anglican priest, born into an artistic and wealthy family. Educated at Cambridge University, which led to his holding prominent positions there and also Parliament. He became a priest after the death of King James and worked in a rural parish, writing poetry and hymns whilst assisting poorer members of his flock. Many of his poems were set to music by leading composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Lennox Berkley, Judith Weir, Randall Thompson, William Walton and Patrick Larley.

 


 

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in any thing,
To do it as for Thee.

Not rudely, as a beast,
To runne into an action;
But still to make Thee prepossest,
And give it his perfection.

A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or if he pleaseth, through it passe,
And then the heav'n espie.

All may of Thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean
Which with his tincture, 'for Thy sake,'
Will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine;
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws
Makes that and th' action fine.

This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for lesse be told.