Virtue by George Herbert

Sweet day, so cool, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky;
The dew shall weep thy fall to-night,
For thou must die.

Sweet rose, whose hue angry and brave
Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye;
Thy root is ever in its grave,
And thou must die.

Sweet spring, full of sweet days and roses,
A box where sweets compacted lie;
My music shows ye have your closes,
And all must die.

Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
Like season’d timber, never gives;
But though the whole world turn to coal,
Then chiefly lives.


The poem deals with the theme of ever beginning nature of this world. All things which appear beautiful and pleasant in the nature do not remain so, for every; they die very soon.

The day is very cool, sweet, bright and symbol of the earths marriage with the sky; but it is destined to die as soon as the night approaches. Dew drops express sorrow and grief on day’s death. Just like the fate of the day, the fate of rose is also in its ultimate death. Rose is a beautiful flower with bold and attractive colour even a passer by is forced to wipe his eyes and have a careful glance of it and admire its beauty. But it is also short lived and soon its roots would become its grave when it sheds its petal to the ground. A day lasts for only eight – ten hours only and a rose may last for two-three days but the spring season seems to last for longer period. In this season the days are very sweet; beautiful flowers bloom everywhere. But even this pleasant season also is not long-lasting and soon it would give way to the cold, harsh and unruly winter. Itis a bitter truth that this pleasant spring too would come to its and like all other things.

The poet it quite annoyed with the mortality of all natural things and thinks over it – then what lives in the world for ever. He concludes in the last stanza that all things in the world are destined to die but only sweet and virtuous soul would never die. Though the whole world may come to an end, yet the virtue would survives for ever and would never decay.

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