Disdaine Returned

stanza supports the request by making clear the person does not speak from a sense of entitlement, but rather from humility:

For my heart's desire Unto thine is bent:

The speaker possesses a heart willing to comply with God's demands, although his flesh may not have that strength. The third stanza declares that the speaker has learned all he knows through "thy book alone," meaning the Bible; the speaker "affect[s] to own" (11-12) nothing of his own. The fourth stanza offers imagery of a man on his knees, constantly trying to gain God's grace:

Though I fail, I weep: Though I halt in pace,

Yet I creep To the throne of grace. (9-12)

The speaker then returns to his original request, suggesting that rather than wrath, "Love will do the deed," causing "Stony hearts" to bleed. He praises Love as "swift of foot" and contradicts traditional visions of Love, describing it with figurative language (figure of speech) as "a man of war" that "can shoot, / And can hit from afar." Herbert emphasizes the terrible and awesome strength of love as an emotion. The speaker then notes that love's "bow . . . brought thee low," meaning because God loved man, his son died on the cross. As love has worked miracles previously, it can surely work to discipline the speaker.

The poem concludes with an echo of its opening lines, with alterations:

Throw away thy rod; Though man frailties hath,

Thou art God: Throw away thy wrath. (29-32)

By requesting that God "throw away" wrath, Herbert notes God's role as an active deity and one fully capable of making choices of sacrifice. His previous reference to the sacrifice made by Christ on the cross confirms this tremendous power.

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