The Friends of St. Andrew's Bemerton

Selected Work - 'The Call'

This is one of the poems in George Herbert's 'The Temple', first published in 1633.

'The Call'

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life;
Such a Way as gives us breath,
Such a Truth as ends all strife,
Such a Life as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength;
Such a Light as shows a Feast,
Such a Feast as mends in length,
Such a Strength as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart;
Such a Joy as none can move,
Such a Love as none can part,
Such a Heart as joys in love.

Commentary

This short poem is simple and direct. It is almost completely composed of words of one syllable. Allusions to the Old and New testaments, as well as to the Church of England liturgy, abound in Herbert's poetry. In this short poem there are references to Revelations 22:26: 'Come, Lord Jesus..' and to John 14:6, where Jesus is described as 'the way, the truth and the life'. 'Come' is the call of the poet to God, but it is also the response of the poet to a call from God.

This poem has been set to music several times, notably by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 'Five Mystical Songs'.

 

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