Love

Love bade me welcome : yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack’d any thing.

A guest, I answer’d, worthy to be here :
Love said, you shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

Truth Lord, but I have marr’d them : let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat :
So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert, Love (3), 1633

Here again, Herbert has the Feast of Love for the outwardly unwilling guest. The metaphor isn’t as opaque in this one, with Love (Christ) being called Lord at the start of the third stanza. It’s another setting of Christ as Love inviting the shameful sinner to the communion Feast, where the sinner actually wants to be, and where he ends up as the guest, not a servant.

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