1 December 2007 | Vol. 7, No. 3

Employment (II)

He that is weary, let him sit.

                  My soul would stir

And trade in courtesies and wit,

                  Quitting the fur

To cold complexions needing it.

Man is no star, but a quick coal

                  Of mortal fire;

Who blows it not, nor doth control

                  A faint desire,

Lets his own ashes choke his soul.

When th' elements did for place contest

                  With him, whose will

Ordain'd the highest to be best;

                  The earth sat still,

And by the others is oppressed.

Life is a business, not good cheer;

                  Ever in wars.

The sun still shineth there or here,

                  Whereas the stars

Watch an advantage to appear.

Oh that I were an Orange-tree,

                  That busy plant!

Then should I ever laden be,

                  And never want

Some fruit for him that dressed me.

But we are still too young or old;

                  The man is gone,

Before we do our wares unfold:

                  So we freeze on,

Until the grave increase our cold.

About the author:

1593-1633. George Herbert was a Welsh poet, orator, and priest, whose extant poems concern religious themes.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by George Herbert at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 3, where "Employment (II)" ran on December 1, 2007. List other work with these same labels: poetry, classic, rhyme.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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