restricted access Parallel Passages in The Temple
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Parallel Passages in The Temple

Poem 1

Lines 5-6: The idea of measuring grief in liquid form appears in "Good Friday" (2-4), and in the same poem, ink functions as a metonym for the poet's sinfulness (23-24).

Line 8: The idea of the poet being pregnant with the need to speak appears in "Frailtie" (22-24).

Line 8: The wit of the anagram (Metra/Mater) parallels "Anagram of the Virgin Marie."

Poem 2

Lines 11-13: The gossipers' turrets find a parallel in "Sinnes round" (14-15).

Lines 33-41: The reference to the alignment of sense and sound takes a step further in "A true Hymne" (9-10).

Lines 52-53: "The Crosse" (4-6) registers the struggle between family pride and service to God. See also Poem 14, stanza 1.

Lines 55-56: The refusal to remain silent in the midst of praise finds a devotional parallel in "Christmas" (15).

Lines 61-65: A reference to an imagined other's letters flooding the pages appears also at the end of "Jordan" (II) (18-19), a sublimely anti-rhetorical act of rhetoric.

Poem 3

Lines 1-6: Poem 3 imagines the Sun as covetous matter, unable to experience true light or sacred joys; "Faith" (33-36) also personifies the sun, but as a metaphor for Christ. "Whitsunday" (15-16) give us a sun sadly envious of the light of the apostles.

Lines 9-10: The final movement from a lower to a higher place is imagined in the end of "Grace" (23-24). Climbing by means of the sun's rays is imagined in "Mattens" (20). Numerous commentators, [End Page 187] including Charles and Pearlman, have noted the very close parallel in "The Pearl. Math. 13. 45."

Poem 4

The central motif of a diurnal, double perspective appears also in "Coloss. 3. 3." "Antiphon" (II) praises the joining of the ranks of men and angels in praise (22-23), and the speaker in Poem 4 is a pastoral singer. "Mans medley" imagines doubleness as a source of greater joy, grace, and praise (25-26, 34-36). Herbert is consistently fascinated with unity through doubleness: for example, "for as thy absence doth excell / All distance known: / So doth thy nearness bear the bell, / Making two one" ("The Search" 58-60).

When the speaker in Poem 4 speaks of his "Sphere," he plays with a central point of the Ptolemaic system; the "sphere" here is not so much one of the concentric circles of the cosmos far from earth and making music to be overheard (as in "Artillerie" 9-10) as it is an instrument of song and praise. See also "Man" (21-2) and "Conscience" (8-9). The motifs of the Ptolemaic universe are re-imagined by Herbert through a moral lens.

Many of Herbert's English poems see hierarchy as meaningful only if based on moral value or divine presence; "Miserie," for example, refers to stars as fixed points of goodness (52-54). See also "The Foil" (1-6), which imagines a less visible "sphere of virtue" on earth. "Providence" implies that contemplating the stars has a curative power superior to that of herbs (77). "The Banquet" imagines the communion cup as filled with a "starre" (10-12).

"Vanitie" (I) considers the "spheres" (2) as objects of vain inquiry by natural philosophers intent on saving appearances, as Miller argues. Similarly, in "Divinitie" Herbert belittles the idea of "spheres"or at the very least those who literally-mindedly believe in their physical existence - as explanations of the movements of stars and planets (1-4, 25-28).

The speaker's tireless fingering of his reed implies both writing poetry and playing twin pipes. The pastoral garden imagery loosely recalls lines in other poems "Life" (1-3), "Providence" (77-78). [End Page 188]

Poem 5

One finds general echoes of God's garden throughout The Temple. See "The Flower" (8-14, 24-25, 43-46), "Faith" (9-10), "Sunday" (26-27, 40-42), and "Life" (14-15).

Poem 6

"Conscience" addresses a "prattling" figure with some parallels to Galenus. "Time" imagines Christ as a physician whose powers surpass those of a doctor: through Christ, Time sends the believer...