Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
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The Rose

by George Herbert


Press me not to take more pleasure
     In this world of sugred lies,
And to use a larger measure.
     Than my strict, yet welcome size.


First, there is no pleasure here:
     Colour'd griefs indeed there are,
Blushing woes, that look as clear
     As if they could beauty spare.


Or if such deceits there be,
     Such delights I meant to say,
There are no such things to me,
     Who have pass'd my right away.


But I will not much oppose
     Unto what you now advise:
Only take this gentle rose,
     And therein my answer lies.


What is fairer than a rose?
     What is sweeter? yet it purgeth.
Purgings enmity disclose,
     Enmity forbearance urgeth.


If then all that worldlings prize
Be contracted to a rose;
Sweetly there indeed it lies,
But it biteth in the close.


So this flower doth judge and sentence
     Worldly joys to be a scourge:
For they all produce repentance,
     And repentance is a purge.


But I health, not physic choose:
     Only, though I you oppose,
Say that fairly I refuse,
     For my answer is a rose.



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