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

By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)


IS this a fast, to keep
      The larder lean?
            And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish        5
      Of flesh, yet still
            To fill
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
      Or ragg’d to go?        10
            Or show
A downcast look and sour?
No; ’tis a fast to dole
      Thy sheaf of wheat,
            And meat,        15
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife,
      From old debate
            And hate;
To circumcise thy life.        20
To show a heart grief-rent;
      To starve thy sin,
            Not bin;
And that’s to keep thy Lent.