March 1, 1633, George Herbert died of tuberculosis. He left as his major literary accomplishment a set of poems called The Temple, a nearly inexhaustible source of spiritual insight and guidance. Here is my favorite, The Bunch of Grapes.
Joy, I did lock thee up: but some bad man
Hath let thee out again:
And now, me thinks, I am where I began
Sev’n yeares ago: one vogue and vein,
One aire of thoughts usurps my brain
I did towards Canaan draw; but now I am
Brought back to the Red sea, the sea of shame.
For as the Jews of old by Gods command
Travell’d, and saw no town;
So now each Christian hath his journeys spann’d:
Their storie pennes and sets us down.
A single deed is small renown.
Gods works are wide, and let in future times;
His ancient justice overflows our crimes.
Then have we too our guardian fires and clouds;
Our Scripture-dew drops fast:
We have our sands and serpents, tents and shrowds;
Alas! our murmurings come not last.
But where’s the cluster? where’s the taste
Of mine inheritance? Lord, if I must borrow,
Let me as well take up their joy, as sorrow.
But can he want the grape, who hath the wine?
I have their fruit and more.
Blessed be God, who prosper’d Noahs vine,
And made it bring forth grapes good store.
But much more him I must adore,
Who of the Laws sowre juice sweet wine did make,
Ev’n God himself being pressed for my sake.