A Chameleon. Ustad Mansur. 1612.
A Chameleon. Ustad Mansur. 1612.



George Herbert


Oh, what a thing is man! how far from power,

From settled peace and rest!

He is some twenty sev’ral men at least

Each sev’ral hour.


One while he counts of heav’n, as of his treasure:

But then a thought creeps in,

And calls him coward, who for fear of sin

Will lose a pleasure.


Now he will fight it out, and to the wars;

Now eat his bread in peace,

And snudge in quiet: now he scorns increase;

Now all day spares.


He builds  a house, which quickly down must go,

As if a whirlwind blew

And crushed the building: and it’s partly true,

His mind is so.


O what a sight were Man if his attires

Did alter with his mind;

And like a Dolphin’s skin, his clothes combin’d

With his desires!


Surely if each one saw another’s heart,

There would be no commerce,

No sale or bargain pass: all would disperse

And live apart.


Lord, mend or rather make us: one creation

Will not suffice our turn:

Except thou make us daily, we shall spurn

Our own salvation.