The Four Last Things from George Herbert’s The Temple, 1633

Death.

Death, thou wast once an uncouth hideous thing,
Nothing but bones,
The sad effect of sadder grones:
Thy mouth was open, but thou couldst not sing.

For we consider’d thee as at some six                                              5
Or ten yeares hence,
After the losse of life and sense,
Flesh being turn’d to dust, and bones to sticks.

We lookt on this side of thee, shooting short;
Where we did finde                                                                 10
The shells of fledge souls left behinde,
Dry dust, which sheds no tears, but may extort.

But since our Saviours death did put some bloud
Into thy face;
Thou art grown fair and full of grace,                                          15
Much in request, much sought for, as a good.

For we do now behold thee gay and glad,
As at dooms-day;
When souls shall wear their new aray,
And all thy bones with beautie shall be clad.                                   20

Therefore we can go die as sleep, and trust
Half that we have
Unto an honest faithfull grave;
Making our pillows either down, or dust.

–George Herbert The Four Last Things from The Temple, 1633