23 October 2009

Starving to Live - or How to Keep a True Lent

TO KEEP A TRUE LENT
by Robert Herrick

Is this a fast, to keep
The larder lean ?
And clean
From fat of veals and sheep?

Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh, yet still
To fill
The platter high with fish?

Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg’d to go,
Or show
A downcast look and sour ?

No; ‘tis a fast to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat,
And meat,
Unto the hungry soul.

It is to fast from strife,
From old debate
And hate;
To circumcise thy life.

To show a heart grief-rent;
To starve thy sin,
Not bin;
And that’s to keep thy Lent.

English Sacred Lyrics , London : Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1884. (out of print)