Death, thou wast once an uncouth hideous thing,
Nothing but bones,
The sad effect of sadder groans:
Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing.
For we considered thee as at some six
Or ten years hence,
After the loss of life and sense,
Flesh being turned to dust, and bones to sticks.
We looked on this side of thee, shooting short;
Where we did find
The shells of fledg’d souls left behind,
Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort.
But since our Saviour’s death did put some blood
Into thy face;
Thou hast grown fair and full of grace,
Much in request, much sought for as a good.
For we do now behold thee gay and glad,
As at doom’s-day;
When souls shall wear their new array,
And all thy bones with beauty shall be clad.
Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
Half that we have
Unto an honest faithful grave;
Making our pillows either down, or dust.
Apologies for my techno-inability to reproduce Herbert’s formatting!