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Dapprich 1 Cole Dapprich Lauri Krumm AP English IV 20 April 2012 The Blessed Sacrament: George Herbert and the

Real Presence In George Herberts poem Love (III), the speaker is a soul, engaging in a conversation with God, personified as Love. The resulting interaction illuminates Herberts core belief that the love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the message of the Holy Spirit are fully realized and fulfilled through Christs true presence in the Eucharist. George Herbert was born in 1593 to a widow with 10 children. His mother was good friends with John Donne, who later influenced Herbert's poetry. Herbert earned a bachelor of arts in 1613 and a master of arts in 1617 from Trinity College in Cambridge. His early career consisted of largely secular prospects: he became a fellow of Trinity, and worked his way up to a seat in Parliament. However, when King James I died, supporters of war with Spain were put in power, which ended his secular pursuits. Herbert became a deacon around 1626. In 1627, his mother died, and John Donne preached her funeral sermon. It was later published with poems written by Herbert in her memory. He soon resigned his post at the university and got married. After being ordained an Anglican priest in 1630, he served as rector of Bemerton in Wiltshire until his death in 1633. While serving as a priest, he composed over 70 religious poems. When he died, he entrusted these poems to a friend, with instructions to publish them if he thought they would be beneficial to the people and to burn them if not. Thankfully, the poems were published posthumously in 1633 as The Temple, of which Love (III) is the final poem.

Dapprich 2 During the late Renaissance period, in which these poems were published, there was much religious tension throughout the world. The Protestant Reformation had occurred only around a century before and the Catholic Church had by this time countered with its own reformation. During this time period, some Anglican high priests held beliefs identical or similar to Catholic ones, which could cause tension with the majority of their fellow priests, who disagreed. It was in this context that Love (III) was written. Before I can move on to my analysis proper, I must first explain the doctrine of Transubstantiation and the sacrament of the Eucharist in both Catholic and Anglican terms. In both Catholicism and Anglicanism, the sacrament of the Eucharist is a recreation of the Last Supper. The day before he was crucified, Jesus Christ broke unleavened bread, gave it to his disciples and told them to eat it; for it was his body, which would be given up for them. Then, he gave them a cup of wine and told them that it was his blood, which was the blood of a new covenant with humanity, and would be poured out for all so that their sins may be forgiven. He then commanded his disciples to do this in his memory (The New American Bible, Luke 22.1720). In fulfillment of this command, the Catholic Church performs the sacrament of the Eucharist every Sunday. After the priest recreates the Last Supper, called the consecration, all members of the congregation come up one by one and receive the bread and wine. Most other factions of Christianity have a rite similar to this that they perform at varying intervals. However, Protestants disagree with Catholics on one key issue: transubstantiation. Transubstantiation is defined as the process in which the essence of something is replaced with something else while the outer appearance remains, by all physical senses, the same. The Catholic Church holds that By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of

Dapprich 3 Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651) (Catechism 1413). Almost all Protestant faiths, on the other hand, regard this rite as merely symbolic, including most of the Anglican Church at this time. However, as stated earlier, there were some Anglican priests who held beliefs almost identical to Catholic ones. This included the doctrine of transubstantiation. Was Herbert one of these Anglo-Catholics? As stated by R.V. Young, The dramatic power of the scene created in [Love (III)], as well as Herbert's other Eucharistic poems, casts doubt upon the notion that the Eucharistic references in Herbert are merely metaphorical. Based on the evidence contained in Love (III), I conclude that Herbert believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and therefore in the doctrine of Transubstantiation. The theological themes of Love (III) begin in the title. As Scripture tells us, God is love (1 John 4.8), and the roman numeral III refers to this poem being the third and final entry in Herberts series of poems entitled Love while simultaneously alluding to the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. From the very beginning of the poem, God, personified as love, engages in conversation with the speaker: Love bade me welcome. However, the speakers soul is hesitant, acutely aware that he is Guilty of dust and sin. This reference to dust is an allusion to Genesis 3.19: For you are dust, and to dust you shall return. As Adam and Eve found themselves naked before God, the speaker also finds himself in a state of nakedness with his sins lying open for Gods judgment (Woodruff). Herbert then describes the omniscient God as simply quick-eyd in noticing the speakers hesitance. This colloquial diction gives the poem a poignant atmosphere of homeliness (Young 190), making the poem more relatable and effective. Loves questioning if the speaker lackd anything suggests the

Dapprich 4 vender's phrase, What d'ye lack?roughly the seventeenth-century equivalent of May I help you (Young 190). This also helps put the poem in relatable terms to the seventeenth-century commoner. In the second stanza, the speaker answers Loves question, saying that he lacks the title of worthy guest. Love, however, quickly contradicts him: Love said, You shall be he. The speaker, in the tradition of Moses in the Old Testament, instantly comes up with a list of excuses as to why he is unworthy, telling Love he is unkind and ungrateful and that he cannot look on thee. Love then smiles and replies with a simple yet powerful: Who made the eyes but I? Throughout this stanza, Love sustains his encouragement while reminding the speaker of his sole dependence on God (Woodruff). In the third and final stanza, the speaker gives his final protestations and eventually accepts Gods sacrifice. The speaker protests that he has marrd Loves perfect creation, so he is right to be shameful; however, Love gently reminds him who bore the blame: Jesus. Finally, the speaker relents: My dear, then I will serve. The next two lines draw the poem to a deeply moving conclusion by alluding to the perfect contentment of receiving Christ, body, blood, and divinity in the Eucharist: You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat. / So I did sit and eat. There are a few different ways a reader can interpret the circumstances of Love (III). It could be interpreted as a member of a congregation approaching Communion. Slightly change perspectives and the poem appears to tell the story of a souls first arrival in Heaven. There are elements of both of these interpretations in the poem. As Young aptly put it: In the simplest possible diction Herbert effects a remarkable convergence of the Christian mysteries: Christ's sacrificial passion and death (who bore the blame),

Dapprich 5 the sacramental feast of the Eucharist and the heavenly marriage feast of the Lamb. These mysteries are represented simultaneously because they exist simultaneously from the eternal perspective of the Deity and, by grace, are made simultaneous for the communicant; the same Christ who died on Calvary, who will receive the elect in heaven, is sacramentally present in the Eucharist. (192) The first interpretation is supported through Herberts references to the Eucharistic rite, such as the need for penance before receiving, shown through the speakers hesitance (Woodruff). However, God is also merciful and willing to forgive, as shown in the 3rd edition of The Roman Missal: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. This supports Loves insistence that the speaker receive Him despite the speakers sins. On the other hand, this communion could also refer to achieving paradise after death. Louis L. Martz hit the nail on the head when he wrote that Herbert simultaneously represents the reception of the sacrament and the admission of the redeemed to the marriage supper of Revelation (Martz 319). Whatever the interpretation, the fact that Herbert can create such a complex poem using such simple diction is what makes Love (III) a masterpiece.

Dapprich 6 Works Cited Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997. Print. Herbert, George. Love (III). By George Herbert: The Poetry Foundation. Web. 05 Apr. 2012. Martz, Louis L. The Poetry of Meditation. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale UP, 1962. Print. The New American Bible. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1991. Print. The Roman Missal. 3rd ed. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011. Print. Woodruff, Carolyn E. Theological Dualism in the Poetry of George Herbert. Thesis. East Tennessee State University, 2004. Web. 05 Apr. 2012. Young, R. V. Herbert And The Real Presence. Renascence 45.3 (1993): 179. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 4 Apr. 2012.