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Penguin Classics Complete English Poems Paperback – Sep 27 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic; 1 edition (Sept. 27 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140424555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140424553
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 15 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #196,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Thou, whose sweet youth and early hopes enhance Thy rate and price, and mark thee for a treasure; Harken unto a Verser, who may chance Rhyme thee to good, and make a bait of pleasure. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
Over the centuries, there has been a great deal of Christian poetry written by a broad range of poets, but only a tiny handful of that can stand comparison with the very best nonreligious poetry. The later poetry of John Donne, Milton, Dante, some of the early American Puritan poets, and the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins does not quite exhaust the list, but it consumes most of it. And, of course, George Herbert stands at the head of any such list. Of all these poets, Herbert is probably my favorite as a religious poet. By that, I mean someone who is religiously satisfying while at the same time writing exquisite poetry. There is simplicity of expression in Herbert that is missing in Donne, and a personal piety that I do not find in Milton, whose poetry, while unquestionably religious in spirit, is somewhat spiritually dry. One wouldn't read Milton to inspire piety. Hopkins is brilliant, but I find myself focusing on his over alliteration.
George Herbert was one of those either fortunate or unfortunate younger sons of a landed family who was forced to enter the Church because the family title passed onto his older brother. That brother, very nearly as well known as his younger brother for his own writings, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, was the author of several books, including what could be regarded as the first history of comparative religion written in England. The religions compared were not, however, Christianity, Judaism, Islam with Buddhism and Hinduism or with so-called primitive religion, but with Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian religions.
This is an excellent edition of Herbert's poetry, but one should note the title carefully. Herbert, in fact, wrote a fair amount of poetry in Latin. That unfortunately, is not included either in original form or in English translation.
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Format: Paperback
Other poets can write about the beauty of the woman that they love, but Hebert writes of the true source of beauty, the source that most deserves praise in poetry: God. Hebert's poetry is a tribute to God, for whom he gave up everything to go into ministry. A musician, Herbert writes much of his poetry in a way that is almost musical, and may have at one time been set to music. A collection of his poetry can be an incredible devotional tool for personal reflection and praise. It can also be wonderful to study in the classroom because of his brilliant use of literary devices. My favorite poem of his is The Holy Scriptures. For a taste of Hebert's beautiful tributes... "Oh book! Infinite sweetnesse! Let my heart suck ev'ry letter...."Your heart will suck every letter from Hebert's beautiful poetry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Among the greatest religious poetry ever penned March 7 2002
By Robert Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Over the centuries, there has been a great deal of Christian poetry written by a broad range of poets, but only a tiny handful of that can stand comparison with the very best nonreligious poetry. The later poetry of John Donne, Milton, Dante, some of the early American Puritan poets, and the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins does not quite exhaust the list, but it consumes most of it. And, of course, George Herbert stands at the head of any such list. Of all these poets, Herbert is probably my favorite as a religious poet. By that, I mean someone who is religiously satisfying while at the same time writing exquisite poetry. There is simplicity of expression in Herbert that is missing in Donne, and a personal piety that I do not find in Milton, whose poetry, while unquestionably religious in spirit, is somewhat spiritually dry. One wouldn't read Milton to inspire piety. Hopkins is brilliant, but I find myself focusing on his over alliteration.
George Herbert was one of those either fortunate or unfortunate younger sons of a landed family who was forced to enter the Church because the family title passed onto his older brother. That brother, very nearly as well known as his younger brother for his own writings, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, was the author of several books, including what could be regarded as the first history of comparative religion written in England. The religions compared were not, however, Christianity, Judaism, Islam with Buddhism and Hinduism or with so-called primitive religion, but with Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian religions.
This is an excellent edition of Herbert's poetry, but one should note the title carefully. Herbert, in fact, wrote a fair amount of poetry in Latin. That unfortunately, is not included either in original form or in English translation.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
You don't need to be religious to love his poems Aug. 26 2005
By matthewarnold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I'm a solid atheist. I also love Herbert's intimate dialogue and often battle with his God. Stylistically, he dominates better known poets of the Metaphysical era, such as Donne. His backround as a musician comes through in all his work. He inherits the Metaphysicals' use of vivid metaphor. He looks ahead to Gerard Manley Hopkins in his fusion of music,image and conversation. "Love bade me welcome" and "Prayer" are among the jewels of poetry.

If you are religious, Herbert will be of great comfort in his deep and moving spirituality. If you are not, that spirituality is still so compelling and resonant that you will feel with and for him. He in many ways reminds me of Emily Dickinson: the poet of the quirky, gentle, wry and elegaic short poem. Do read Prayer with its lovely last line "something understood" and Love with its last line "And I replied, my Lord."

Herbert os a treasure. In my sixties, I respond to him with the same respect and warmth as in my twenties when I first discovered him.
45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Is there in truth no beautie? Dec 6 1999
By J. Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Other poets can write about the beauty of the woman that they love, but Hebert writes of the true source of beauty, the source that most deserves praise in poetry: God. Hebert's poetry is a tribute to God, for whom he gave up everything to go into ministry. A musician, Herbert writes much of his poetry in a way that is almost musical, and may have at one time been set to music. A collection of his poetry can be an incredible devotional tool for personal reflection and praise. It can also be wonderful to study in the classroom because of his brilliant use of literary devices. My favorite poem of his is The Holy Scriptures. For a taste of Hebert's beautiful tributes... "Oh book! Infinite sweetnesse! Let my heart suck ev'ry letter...."Your heart will suck every letter from Hebert's beautiful poetry.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A most intense dialogue with God Oct. 31 2005
By Shalom Freedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Herbert is ordinarily classified along with Donne, as a Metaphysical poet i.e. one who use extreme metaphor and makes connections between completely diverse matters to forward a rough and energetic argument in verse. Herbert is , as I sense it, gentler than Donne. He is a more quiet devotional poet, one with deep religious faith. There is a certain sense of his humility and great power of concentration in his devotion.His love of music plays a central role in the metaphoric structure of his work.

Among his often anthologized poems are " The Collar" " The Pulley" "To the Jews" "The Altar"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Spiritual Edification at its Best Nov. 25 2011
By David Bennett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you like to meditate on Biblical spiritual truth... buy this book! If you like to meditate on anything... buy it. If you like a mental challenge in poetry ... buy it. If you like various and sundry poetical styles...buy it. If you like to write poetry ... buy it. Herbert is a genius. He challenges my reading, my understanding, my poetical skills, and most of all... MY HEART! I am a dedicated Christian who began studying sacred poetry years ago. I now read all kinds but prefer sacred writings. I love Herbert's poetry. Thus I gave it a 5 star. But you have to be serious about either poetry or your Christian consecration... or both. Thank you, Lord, for introducing me to George Herbert!

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