a brittle crazy glass



by George Herbert

LORD, how can man preach thy eternal word?
        He is a brittle crazy glass:
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
        This glorious and transcendent place,
        To be a window, through thy grace.

But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,
        Making thy life to shine within
The holy Preachers, then the light and glory
        More rev’rend grows, and more doth win;
        Which else shows watrish, bleak, and thin.

Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one
        When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and awe: but speech alone
        Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
        And in the ear, not conscience ring.