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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By George Herbert (1593–1633)

Church Music

SWEETEST 1 of sweets, I thank you: when displeasure
  Did through my body wound my mind,
You took me thence, and in your house of pleasure
  A dainty lodging me assign’d.
Now I in you without a body move,        5
  Rising and falling with your wings:
We both together sweetly live and love,
  Yet say sometimes, God help poor Kings.
Comfort, I’ll die; for if you post from me,
  Sure I shall do so, and much more:        10
But if I travel in your company,
  You know the way to heaven’s door.
Note 1. The date of Herbert’s residence at Bemerton was 1630–33, so that the reference in line 8 is probably to the growing discontent of the Puritan party. The last stanza means, It consoles me to know I shall die before the worst of the troubles: for as it is I shall be comforted with church music on my dying bed; if it were forbidden, my loss would be great, for it is the usher to the door of heaven. [back]