Home  »  library  »  poem  »  The Elixir

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

The Elixir

By George Herbert (1593–1633)

TEACH me, my God and King,

In all things thee to see,

And what I do in anything,

To do it as for thee.

Not rudely, as a beast,

To run into an action;

But still to make thee prepossest,

And give it his perfection.

A man that looks on glass,

On it may stay his eye;

Or, if he pleaseth, through it pass,

And then the heaven espy.

All may of thee partake:

Nothing can be so mean,

Which with his tincture (for thy sake)

Will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause

Makes drudgery divine:

Who sweeps a room as for thy laws

Makes that and th’ action fine.

This is the famous stone

That turneth all to gold;

For that which God doth touch and own

Cannot for less be told.