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

To Keep a True Lent

By Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

IS this a fast—to keep

The larder lean,

And clean

From fat of veals and sheep?

Is it to quit the dish

Of flesh, yet still

To fill

The platter high with fish?

Is it to fast an hour,

Or ragged to go,

Or show

A downcast look and sour?

No! ’Tis a fast to dole

Thy sheaf of wheat,

And meat,

Unto the hungry soul.

It is to fast from strife,

From old debate

And hate;

To circumcise thy life.

To show a heart grief-rent;

To starve thy sin,

Not bin,—

And that’s to keep thy Lent.