Home  »  library  »  poem  »  The Collar

C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Collar

By George Herbert (1593–1633)

I STRUCK the board and cried, “No more!

I will abroad.

What, shall I ever sigh and pine?

My lines and life are free; free as the road,

Loose as the wind, as large as store.

Shall I be still in suit?

Have I no harvest but a thorn

To let me blood, and not restore

What I have lost with cordial fruit?

Sure, there was wine

Before my sighs did dry it: there was corn

Before my tears did drown it.

Is the year only lost to me?

Have I no bays to crown it?

No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?

All wasted?

Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,

And thou hast hands.

Recover all thy sigh-blown age

On double pleasures; leave thy cold dispute

Of what is fit and not; forsake thy cage,

Thy rope of sands,

Which petty thoughts have made, and make to thee

Good cable, to enforce and draw,

And be thy law,

While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.

Awake, take heed:

I will abroad.

Call in thy death’s-head there: tie up thy fears.

He that forbears

To suit and serve his need,

Deserves his load.”

But as I raved, and grew more fierce and wild

At every word,

Methought I heard one calling, “Child!”

And I replied, “My Lord!”