The World


Text by George Herbert
SATB, a cappella
Published by Fresh Ayre Music

George Herbert’s poem depicts various figures acting upon the allegorical “house” of a human being: it is built by Love, weakened by Pleasure, buttressed by Wisdom and Law, finally “razed” by Sin and Death, then “raised” by Love, Grace, and Glory as a “braver palace than before.”

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Love built a stately house; where Fortune came,
And spinning phansies, she was heard to say,
That her fine cobwebs did support the frame,
Whereas they were supported by the same:
But Wisdome quickly swept them all away.

Then Pleasure came, who, liking not the fashion,
Began to make Balcones, Terraces,
Till she had weakned all by alteration:
But rev’rend laws, and many a proclamation
Reformed all at length with menaces.

Then enter’d Sinne, and with that Sycomore,
Whose leaves first sheltred man from drought & dew,
Working and winding slily evermore,
The inward walls and sommers1 cleft and tore:
But Grace shor’d these, and cut that as it grew.

Then Sinne combin’d with Death in a firm band
To raze the building to the very floore:
Which they effected, none could them withstand.
But Love and Grace took Glorie by the hand,
And built a braver Palace then before.


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