George Herbert’s “The Pulley”

Posted March 28, 2016 6:43 am by Mitchell Kalpakgian

In the style of the “wit” of metaphysical poetry—the ability to see striking, original analogies and to use fresh metaphors—Herbert writes of man’s relationship to God by comparing the communication of God to man and man to God to the movements of a pulley. In the language of seventeenth century poetry, Herbert uses a “conceit,” an unexpected image from another realm of learning to illuminate a truth of theology—the simple machine of a pulley from the science of physics as a concept to understand the mystery of love between God and man. The first stanza describes God’s gifts from above


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