Approaching Perfection

Bees work for man; and yet they never bruise
Their master’s flower, but leave it, having done,
As fair as ever, and as fit to use;
So both the flower doth stay, and hony run.

~from George Herbert’s “Providence”

4 comments to Approaching Perfection

  • Is it weird or right that this seemed like it was speaking of a kind of environmentalism, in caring for the world God gave us like the bee cares for the honey– taking what is needed but not destroying the source?

  • d4v34x

    I doubt environmentalism was on Herbert’s radar, although he probably thought highly of thrift and economy.

    Although it would be easy to impose an environmental reading on it. Would, however, the flower remain after such use?

  • Laura

    So like, (that’s right, like) maybe the flower still looks just as pretty, but it’s changed?

  • d4v34x

    Well it has changed. It has potentially reproduced.

    But the title is key here; the poem is about delighting in the way God has provided for us. Here, sweetness and beauty where once was merely beauty. Fullness upon fullness.

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