The Windows

Saint Chapelle Church. Paris, France. 1250.


The Windows

George Herbert


Lord, how can a man preach thy eternal word?

He is a brittle crazy glass:

Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford

This glorious and transcendent place,

To be a window, through thy grace.


But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,

Making thy life to shine within

The holy Preacher’s; then the light and glory

More rev’rend grows, and more doth win:

Which else shows wat’rish, bleak, and thin.


Doctrine and life, colors and ight, in one

When they combine and mingle, bring

A strong regard and awe: but speech alone

Doth vanish like a flaring thing,

And in the ear, not conscience ring.

2 thoughts on “The Windows”

  1. I find it so amazing that 2/3 of Saint Chapelle’s architecture is glass! Glass seems to symbolize the transparent and brittle human soul reaching to the presence of God.
    Beautiful poem, Herbert.

    1. And it’s a bit worrying too. During World War II, the windows were removed and hidden to protect them from bombings.

      If I had to choose a single favorite poet, it would be George Herbert. I’m taking him with me to the proverbial desert island!

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