Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

The Elixir

There's this to be said for having grown up singing hymns- that some of the tunes are good tunes and some of the lyrics are poetry. For instance, I'm not sorry that I know Bunyan's pilgrim song by heart because it always cheers me up.

Again when I'm doing housework- and feeling hard done by- George Herbert usually comes along with his "Elixir". I was only going to quote a couple of lines- but we might as well have the whole thing because it's short and well-nigh perfect.

The Elixir
By George Herbert

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

Not rudely, as a beast,
To run 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 pass,
And then the heav'n espy.

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 less be told.
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