Repentance Poem Analysis

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The importance of Repentance in a Sinful World
George Herbert’s “Repentance” is a powerful poem which reviews regrets for past wrongs, humbling the human, recognizing them as a sinner, resolving a life that is growing in spirituality. Herbert, the speaker, offers a humbled prayer before God, to turn from his sin and commit to personal change so that that his mortal soul is prepared for salvation and the returning Christ. As much as this poem is about repentance, it acknowledges the mortality of the human body and the need of repentance as life is short and layered in sin. We can draw this emphasis to the importance of repentance on the physical and spiritual body through close attention to the tone, diction, and the lasting impression it leaves
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The life on earth is short as is evidenced by the limited time in the day. Each day is a blessing and we are to delight God in the way we spend his time. The delights are in proportion to our sorrows and everyone is a sinner as a result of “Adam’s fall”; the sin is borne by everyone because of Adam’s original sin (12). The emotion is still humbled in nature as seen in the line “Cut me not off for my most foul transgression” (15). Herbert knows that his ways are “foolish” and that he can only hope through God’s unconditional love that God accepts his confession…show more content…
The power of sin is destroyed as a result of participating in the last supper as “Thy wormwood turn to health” exemplifying the power of repentance (21).The last line of stanza four repeats the notion of limited life while also implying the struggle with sin as everyone will “rise, and die together” (24). The next stanza brings us back to man’s evil ways and the tone switches back to solemnity. The sin of man makes Christians “woe and wan” and the “Bitterness fills our bowels” (26-27). Contemplation of sin makes man miserable, but the “bitterness” has a double meaning as Herbert can let his heart become bitter or let Christ’s blood enter and heal spiritually and
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