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Poem by George Herbert
Welcome dear feast of Lent: who loves not thee, He loves not Temperance, or Authority, But is compos'd of passion. The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says, now: Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow To ev'ry Corporation. The humble soul compos'd of love and fear Begins at home, and lays the burden there, When doctrines disagree, He says, in things which use hath justly got, I am a scandal to the Church, and not The Church is so to me. True Christians should be glad of an occasion To use their temperance, seeking no evasion, When good is seasonable; Unless Authority, which should increase The obligation in us, make it less, And Power itself disable. Besides the cleanness of sweet abstinence, Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense, A face not fearing light: Whereas in fulness there are sluttish fumes, Sour exhalations, and dishonest rheums, Revenging the delight. Then those same pendant profits, which the spring And Easter intimate, enlarge the thing, And goodness of the deed. Neither ought other men's abuse of Lent Spoil the good use; lest by that argument We forfeit all our Creed. It's true, we cannot reach Christ's forti'eth day; Yet to go part of that religious way, Is better than to rest: We cannot reach our Saviour's purity; Yet we are bid, 'Be holy ev'n as he, ' In both let's do our best. Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone, Is much more sure to meet with him, than one That travelleth by-ways: Perhaps my God, though he be far before, May turn and take me by the hand, and more: May strengthen my decays. Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast By starving sin and taking such repast, As may our faults control: That ev'ry man may revel at his door, Not in his parlour; banqueting the poor, And among those his soul.
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