George Herbert

The Collar

Note: The sources available to me do not agree on details of spelling and layout, and in any case it's hard to reproduce the layout on a web page. What follows is based mainly on the text in White, Wallerstein, and Quintana, eds. Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, Volume One (New York: Macmillan, 1951, repr. 1959).


I Struck the board, and cry'd, No more,
                                            I will abroad.
        What? shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the rode,
        Loose as the winde, as large as store.
                Shall I be still in suit?
        Have I no harvest but a thorn
        To let me bloud, and not restore
What I have lost with cordiall fruit?
                                            Sure there was wine
        Before my sighs did drie it; there was corn
              Before my tears did drown it.
        Is the yeare onely lost to me?
                Have I no bayes to crown it?
No flowers, no garlands gay? all blasted?
                                            All wasted?
        Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,
                                            And thou hast hands.
                Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures; leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit and not[;] forsake thy cage,
                                            Thy rope of sands,
Which pettie thoughts have made, and made to thee
        Good cable, to enforce and draw,
                                            And be thy law,
        While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
                                            Away; take heed:
                                            I will abroad.
Call in thy deaths head there: tie up thy fears.
                                            He that forbears
                To suit and serve his need,
                                            Deserves his load.
But as I rav'd and grew more fierce and wilde
                                            At every word,
        Me thoughts I heard one calling, Child:
                And I reply'd, My Lord.


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