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The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  499 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A collectible new Penguin Classics series: stunning, clothbound editions of ten favourite poets, which present each poet's most famous book of verse as it was originally published. Designed by the acclaimed Coralie Bickford-Smith and beautifully set, these slim, A format volumes are the ultimate gift editions for poetry lovers.

On his deathbed George Herbert entrusted the
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published August 24th 2017 by Penguin Classics (first published 1633)
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Metaphysical Poetry!

What’s that mean? Well, for the great poet T.S. Eliot, the term perfectly characterizes that moment in history when poetic writing became split into a Cartesian duality - ‘A disassociation of sensibility.’

And that, he says, happened back in the late Renaissance.

I think he’s right, and I’ll use one example from this book to show you the prelapsarian (in a literary sense) genius of George Herbert...

(But let’s first take a look back to the early Renaissance before the Reformatio
Douglas Wilson
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Read this in another edition. But always fantastic. Some glorious lines in here.
Do I read a lot of poetry? I wouldn't say that I do. Perhaps two or three books per year, usually. And often those "poetry books" are poems for the very young. So reading George Herbert, in many ways, was going outside of my comfort zone. Yet, it was good for me to go outside my comfort zone in reading. I assumed--presumed--that it would be an intimidating read: at best a bit boring, at worst, incomprehensible. But I really enjoyed reading this one.

I enjoyed "The Sacrifice" which is a poem writt
Ben Zornes
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really wonderful collection of devotional poetry. George Herbert's poetry sinks deep roots into the glorious doctrines of the Christian faith, and then raises us up to soar with poignant praise. He is witty, lucid, and demonstrates that good doctrine with a beating heart is a potent combination. Herbert also mingles in a healthy dose of that good, ol' fashioned earthiness of English poets. In almost every selection you find some sort of proverbial statement which are often quite Solomonic. I'd ...more
Jim Leckband
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is why I read random books from lists of the great books - that dirty word - (sound effect here...duh duh duuuuuuh...) the canon.

Herbert's poetry is on the surface about God, religion, devotion and other mind-numbing (to me) generalities. However, these doctrinal MacGuffins are only there (in my secular reading) for Herbert to jump-start his creativity. His fecund display of wit, craft, rhyme and meter are in almost every poem. He dabbles in concrete poetry (and makes a masterpiece). He sne
I did not connect with this as much as some have, but I do not argue with the fact that it is beautiful and has been influential in the world of literature for centuries. Glad I read it.
Jan 03, 2022 rated it liked it
'Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,/ Guilty of dust and sin.' ...more
William Schrecengost
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
If a Christian is to read one work of poetry in his or her life, it ought to be this. Herbert is a masterful poet and he is amazing at structuring his poems. Each one is full of theological meaning and help convey a yearning for God. Truly lovely poems with a heart for God.
Tori Samar
"Invention rest,
Comparisons go play, wit use thy will:
Less than the least
Of all God's mercies, is my posy still."

George Herbert is one of my favorite poets. This collection is full of beautiful gems in language, form, and theme. Surely some of the greatest devotional poetry ever written.
Oct 03, 2021 rated it it was ok
Two stars, not because it was bad, but just because I didn't really connect to it. It was long and at some point the poems start to blurr together somewhat. Some review or blurb of this work somewhere gave me very high expectations that were barely met. It was interesting to dive into religious poetry as a genre, but I am not sure this hit me the way it should have or could have. If you are into renaissance poetry and are specifically into religious genres this would be for you. ...more
Katherine Cowley
George Herbert was my favorite poet in the Early British Literature class that I took, and so I was delighted when my book group to read him. We read about thirty of his poems and I loved revisiting his works. In particular, what I find striking is the nuances and challenges of faith, and his notions of God and spirituality, which really speak to me and encourage me. Sometime I plan to read the entire book.
Laura Spaulding
The Poetry of George Herbert transcends time, space, and any 5 star rating scale! It’s incredible that no one ever even knew these poems existed until he was on his death bed. This poetry collection is a treasure that I’m certain to revisit often for years to come.
Michael Arnold
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
An amazing collection from a great, and I think under valued, metaphysical poet. I do like George Herbert a lot.
Jaran Miller
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Herbert and I share thoughts, but the potency of his words far exceed that of mine.

The lines are of impeccable form. The prayers are honest, somewhat erratic, and saturated with devotion.
Logan Davis
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every Christian should read this book of poetry. This has helped define and navigate my faith and Christianity in so many ways. Will definitely read and re-read again.
Dec 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read through this with my husband. I had heard one George Herbert poem before that I absolutely loved (Love III) and hoped that this book would contain much of the same. Instead, we found many of the poems inscrutable, at least on a first reading. I imagine that with repeated readings and more time spent on each poem, some of these might become more dear, but it occasionally felt as though Herbert had reached his hand into a bowl of words and then scattered them on the page at random. I realize ...more
Bronte Madeleine Ellis-Calcott
i just love this collection !! A* work from Herbert - you can really visualise the temple and walk through it in the way he wanted us to
Dec 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: renaissance
Such beautiful poetry
J. Alfred
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full of well known works like "Love (III)" and "Easter Wings" (which, together with cummings' "l(a," is one of the only concrete poems I've ever liked) and other gems like "the Dawning," this is one of the absolute masterpieces of Christian poetry. It is a prolonged demonstration that word play and wit are not mutually exclusive with a devotional work. For example, here's a stanza from "Evensong": "But thou art Light and darkness both together:/ If that be dark we cannot see:/ The sun is darker ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first time reading any one of Herbert's poems, I confess I am lost. I can't even tell you what the poem is about. Reading a second time, I understand the general topic or theme, but no specifics. The third time, I begin to see how the ideas in the poem fit the language he uses. The poem becomes more worshipful as I understand it and I start to delight after the fourth reading. It takes that long.

I highly recommend George Herbert. He influenced C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot, and many others. Me t
Devin Becker
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book The Temple is structurally, poetically, religiously, and many other ways adverbally amazing. The history of the book's printing, layout, etc., especially in regards to Herbert's pattern poems ("Easter Wings") is fascinating as well. This book is a good place to start thinking about the book's history; it includes pictures of the manuscript from which the first edition was printed. Get it from your library. ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: bookshelf
I bought the Penguin pocket poetry collection and while quite a few of the other books in the collections were rather beautiful, so I came to this book with high hopes which might have to explain the extreme rating I had to go with.

Poetry is quite personal and sometimes you just don't like a poet and for me this was such a case.
Jul 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, spirituality
Herbert offers the reader some of the best spiritual poetry ever written.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Dave Mankin
Feb 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i keep a copy of this in my satchel.
Nov 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Ew. Did not realize that "modernized" meant "rewritten for the dull reader". I'm all for normalized spelling and punctuation, but this was gag inducing. Am now in the market for a different edition. ...more
Tadas Sandanavicius
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brent Pinkall
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in the classics of Western Spirituality edition. Herbert is a genius wordsmith and a master of form. There are some very beautiful poems in this collection.
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George Herbert was a Welsh-born English poet and orator. Herbert's poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognized as "a pivotal figure: enormously popular, deeply and broadly influential, and arguably the most skillful and important British devotional lyricist."

Born into an artistic and wealthy family, Herbert received a good education that led to his admiss

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“Be calm in arguing: for fierceness makes
Error a fault, and truth discourtesy.”
“Who says that fictions only and false hair
Become a verse? Is there in truth no beauty?
Is all good structure in a winding stair?”
More quotes…