Gratefulnesse by George Herbert

The Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet, 1857-1859

The Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet, 1857-1859


by George Herbert

Thou that hast giv’n so much to me,
Give one thing more, a gratefull heart.
See how thy beggar works on thee
By art.

He makes thy gifts occasion more,
And sayes, If he in this be crost,
All thou hast giv’n him heretofore
Is lost.

But thou didst reckon, when at first
Thy word our hearts and hands did crave,
What it would come to at the worst
To save.

Perpetuall knockings at thy doore,
Tears sullying thy transparent rooms,
Gift upon gift, much would have more,
And comes.

This notwithstanding, thou wentst on,
And didst allow us all our noise:
Nay, thou hast made a sigh and grone
Thy joyes.

Not that thou hast not still above
Much better tunes, then grones can make;
But that these countrey-aires thy love
Did take.

Wherefore I crie, and crie again;
And in no quiet canst thou be,
Till I a thankfull heart obtain
Of thee:

Not thankfull, when it pleaseth me;
As if thy blessings had spare dayes:
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Thy praise.

 NOTE: Jean-Francois Millet’s painting, The Angelus (originally titled Prayer for the Potato Crop), shows a young couple in the field, pausing to pray the Angelus, an ancient Christian prayer usually recited at 6 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. You may read the history of this prayer, as well as the text in Latin or English at the online Treasury of Latin Prayers.

This is a great poem for Thanksgiving, as well as all through the year.

Other George Herbert poetry