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Short poem

George Herbert (1593-1633)


              1Having been tenant long to a rich Lord,
              2          Not thriving, I resolved to be bold,
              3          And make a suit unto him, to afford
              4A new small-rented lease, and cancell th' old.

              5In heaven at his manour I him sought:
              6          They told me there, that he was lately gone
              7          About some land, which he had dearly bought
              8Long since on earth, to take possession.

              9I straight return'd, and knowing his great birth,
            10          Sought him accordingly in great resorts;
            11          In cities, theatres, gardens, parks, and courts:
            12At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth

            13          Of theeves and murderers: there I him espied,
            14          Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, & died.


3] make a suit unto him: make a request of him. The phrase is usually used for matters of finance or love.

4] small-rented lease: presumably, a lease whose requirements are not difficult to meet, as with low financial payments

6] lately: recently

7] dearly bought: paid a great price for

9] straight: without delay

12] ragged: The Oxford English Dictionary quotes this poem as an example of the use of "ragged" to mean harsh or discordant.

Online text copyright © 2009, Ian Lancashire (the Department of English) and the University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: George Herbert, The temple. Sacred poems and private ejaculations, edited by N. Ferrar (Cambridge: T. Buck and R. Daniel, 1633), 31-32. STC 13183. Facs. edn. Menston: Scolar Press, 1968. PR 3507 T45 1633A.
First publication date: 1633
RPO poem editor: Marc R. Plamondon
RP edition: 2006
Recent editing: 2:2006/1/11

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: abab cdcd effe gg

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