se e e a h t an wi ay bi e n e e y o d l an t g th e i s w r v us m os i th o y sh se d e to , r th fl t ic i a id ib i n n ti o t n vi h w i th ct n n e in o n d se
The shape poem "Easter Wings" by George Herbert, as it was originally published in 1633.
again begins the recovery stage with the sixth-line phrase "With thee," followed by a plea, "Let me combine, / And feel this day thy victory." The speaker asks to become a part of Christ, to meld into him, concluding, "For if I imp my wing on thine, / Affliction shall advance the flight in me." The man's affliction, or weakness, will actually strengthen him, as it causes him to seek God's support.
Herbert's concluding line reflects on the wing and flight image of the poem, as well as on its theme, that man must remain completely dependent on God, paradoxically a prisoner of God's strength, in order to enjoy freedom. This conclusion can be reached only after the in-depth self-examination the speaker undergoes, with his confession of lack proving crucial to his gain of power through faith. As the critic Cristina Malcolmson suggests, Herbert's poem achieves the great harmony suggested by its shape. She considers this shape poem more successful than "The Altar," which "never quite escapes the problems associated with hardness of the heart."
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