September 23, 2020

Robert Herrick: To Keep a True Lent

Lenten Candles (2020)

To Keep a True Lent

Is this a fast, to keep
The larder lean?
And clean
From fat of veals and sheep ?

Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh, yet still
To fill
The platter high with fish ?

Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg’d to go,
Or show
A downcast look and sour ?

No ;  ‘tis a fast to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat,
And meat,
Unto the hungry soul.

It is to fast from strife,
From old debate
And hate ;
To circumcise thy life.

To show a heart grief-rent ;
To starve thy sin,
Not bin ;
And that’s to keep thy Lent.


Robert Herrick 1648


  1. anonymous says

    excellent Lenten meditation by Robert Herrick from the seventeenth century

    likely he may have been inspired by Isaiah’s famous passage, this:

    “5 Is this the fast I have chosen, a day for a man to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the LORD? 6Is not the fast I have chosen to break the chains of wickedness, to untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and tear off every yoke? 7Isn’t it to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your home, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

    (from Isaiah, chapter 58)

  2. anonymous says

    The ‘prophet’ Isaiah was a liberal.

    • flatrocker says

      …except of course when he was a nationalistic strict constructionist.

      Don’t ya wish he would just stay in his box?
      Pigeon-holing is so much easier that way.