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George Herbert

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Poem Analysis
Added by: Najwa
In herbert's poem, "Virtue", he talks of judgement day and in each stanza, Herbert chooses to make everything die, except in the last stanza, he states, "Only a sweet virtuous soul, like seasoned timber never gives; but though the whole world turn to coal, then chiefly lives." What is the purpose of this why does he do this? What does it mean?
Added by: stassy
In his poem Virtues Herbert uses the typical for the metaphysical poets of his time arguments. In each of the stanzas he makes a different argument consisting of two parts. In the first part he describes why the object he has chosen is beautiful and in the second why it should die. The rose, the day and the spring are all temporary objects. The fourt stanza i s the only different one. He states that the soul cannot die, because it is everlasting. This may be connected to the development of theology of these times and by this I mean Plato's idea about the material world and the world of ideas. His idea is that soul does not diasappear, but only moves from one world into the other. As a whole, the idea of the poem is that virtuous soul need not fear death.
a late answer
Added by: chris
herbert was intent on describing and recording the landscape of the spirit and soul. In this poem he says that all earthly things, though sweet for a time (and you can include any physical thing or activity you can find on this earth) but will eventually fade away and die. however the virtuous soul, belonging to those disciplined in the spiritual real, chaste, humble, honorable, is in fact the one thing that will last, it will not die.

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