Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gold: that which God doth touch and own

Teach me, my God and King

Words: George Herbert, 1633
Tune: Sandys, Carlisle


Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see,
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.

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 this 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 the 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.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not think that this is what what George Herbert meant to say.
That which God does touch and own can not be COMPARED with anything less than the famous stone that turnes everything that it touches to gold. So it is much more than just gold.

Loy said...

Consider 'gold' here in a metaphorical sense -- in the same way that Herbert uses 'stone that turneth all to gold.' Is that a real stone or a myth? It is a myth. But it is myth representing fact: it is a dim echo of the touch of God that indeed turns all to 'gold.'

Gold here is indeed much more than mere human gold. Herbert is dealing in metaphor and metaphysics -- beyond question. I just assumed that was self-evident! :-)