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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907.

A Dialogue

George Herbert (1593–1633)

Man.SWEETEST Saviour, if my soul

Were but worth the having,

Quickly should I then control

Any thought of waving.

But when all my care and pains

Cannot give the name of gains

To Thy wretch so full of stains,

What delight or hope remains?

Saviour.What, child, is the balance thine,

Thine the poise and measure?

If I say, ‘Thou shalt be Mine,’

Finger not my treasure.

What the gains in having thee

Do amount to, only He

Who for man was sold can see;

That transferred th’ accounts to Me.

Man.But as I can see no merit

Leading to this favour,

So the way to fit me for it

Is beyond my savour!

As the reason, then, is Thine,

So the way is none of mine;

I disclaim the whole design;

Sin disclaims and I resign.

Saviour.That is all: if that I could

Get without repining;

And My clay, My creature, would

Follow My resigning;

That as I did freely part

With My glory and desert,

Left all joys to feel all smart—

Man.Ah, no more! Thou break’st my heart!