anonymid (anonymid) wrote in poetofthemonth,

so here we go

Last night I read the "Church Porch" section of The Temple, with its lengthy, didactic (I use the term here neutrally/descriptively, not critically) "Perirrhanterium" (which, according to the gloss in the Penguin edition, is "an instrument for sprinkling holy water, especially upon the newly baptised"). A couple things I'll be paying attention to as I shift to the shorter lyrics in the subsequent section:

1.) the architectural metaphor that structures the whole book (nowhere more blatantly than in the first lyric of the "Church" section, "The Alter"); and

2.) the radical shift in the rhetorical structure and tone of the verse (i.e., the shift from a didactic, authoritative voice addressing a young newcomer to the church, to an intimate, isolated, often insecure voice addressing God/Christ and/or himself)--Herbert's lyrics are generally read detached from the context supplied by the opening section, and I'll be interested to see, reading The Temple as a unity, how the agenda (for lack of a better word) established in "The Church Porch" colors/shades the more famous lyrics that follow.
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