A True Hymn

Joy, my Life, my Crown !
My heart was meaning all the day,
                        Somewhat it fain would say,
And still it runneth muttering up and down
With only this, My Joy, my Life, my Crown !

          Yet slight not those few words ;
    If truly said, they may take part
          Among the best in art :
The fineness which a hymn or psalm affords
Is, when the soul unto the lines accord.

          He who craves all the mind,
    And all the soul, and strength, and time,
          If the words only rhyme,
Justly complains that somewhat is behind
To make His verse, or write a hymn in kind.

          Whereas if the heart be moved,
    Although the verse be somewhat scant,
          God doth supply the want ;
As when the heart says, sighing to be approved,
‘O, could I love !’ and stops, God writeth, ‘Loved.’

George Herbert


Herbert, George. The Poetical Works of George Herbert.
New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1857