Redemption: New Testament and Christ
An Explanation on “Redemption” George Herbert was a religious poet who lived from 1593 – 1633 - Redemption: New Testament and Christ introduction. His poetry portrayed his struggles with God and how he defined their relationship. “These poems reflect Herbert’s struggle to define his relationship to God through biblical metaphors invested with the tensions of relationships familiar in his own society: king and subject, lord and courtier, master and servant, father and child, bridegroom and bride, friends of unequal status.
” (Norton, 1705) His poem titled “Redemption” is a perfect example of this. Herbert goes off searching for the Lord, however he is not at “his manner” so he goes off searching for him where he is found among the sinners. The poem’s general theme is about Herbert, and his relationship with Christ and how he feels as though it is lacking. He is hoping to get a new lease; a stronger relationship with Christ where Christ is more involved. The mood of the poem is one of the first things I noticed when reading it.
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It almost seems kind of sad or misplaced. He states right in the second line that he is “Not thriving” in the place where he currently is so he is going to seek out the lord for a “new small-rented lease”. This to me says that he feels as though he is giving all he has to God but not getting enough in return. At this point in the poem Herbert is also referencing to the Old Testament when he states “A new small-rented lease and cancel th’ old. ” The poem continues its dreary tone as he goes in search of the Lord but doesn’t find him.
He uses the word “lately” when referring to the Lord and typically when using that word to refer to a person you are referring to someone who has passed. He then went to search all sorts of palaces and nice places, however when he finally finds him, he is among the sinners, which is where is he needed most. Even though at the end of the poem Herbert gets his request granted, all of these things combine makes for a very gloomy poem. The setting of the poem takes place with Herbert while he goes on his search for Christ.
First it starts out at his past residence where he has decided to seek out the Lord and ask him for a “new lease”. For me this represents his relationship with the Lord in that he is completely unsure of it, but he does know that he wants more from him. He wants a better and more secure relationship so by seeking him out, he feels as though this will help that. The next location the poem takes you is heaven which is described as a manor; however when he arrives, Christ isn’t there and I feel like that’s even more of a representation of his relationship with him.
I believe that Herbert feels as though he is constantly searching for Christ which is why he wants this “new lease” he doesn’t want to have to feel a though he is searching for him. He wants Christ to be an active participant. “In poem after poem he has to come to terms with the fact that his relationship with Christ is always radically unequal, that Christ must both initiate it and enable his own response. ” (Norton, 1707) The poem then continues the search for Christ through palaces and nice places because the poet assumes that Christ would only be located in a nice place.
However he is surprised when he finds him about the sinners. The poem ends with his request being granted. The setting itself also has a very depressed theme to it, even when he is in heaven, Christ is not there. You can feel the emptiness Hebert feels throughout the entire poem. Metaphors are also used widely throughout the poem to represent his relationship with Christ. The first metaphor is in line four where he discusses how he wants to ask for a “new lease” and give up the old one. He is stating that he is not happy with his current relationship with Christ and would like to trade it in for a new one.
He feels as though He is not getting enough rom Christ. It is also a reference to the New Testament. The next metaphor is in line five where he compares heaven to a manor. When you yourself picture the Lord, you picture him as all powerful, so stating that heaven is his manor suits him well. The next few metaphors are in lines six, seven, and eight where Herbert discusses how he is told the Lord is “lately gone about some land which he had dearly bought”. (Redemption, line 6 and 7) Here I believe Herbert is referencing to how Christ died for his people and his country.
The metaphors of the poem also cause the poem to have a lot of irony. It’s ironic when Herbert goes searching for Christ at his manor and at palaces, but in the end he finds him among the sinners. The end is also ironic in that Christ grants Herbert’s request, however right after his request is granted, he dies. The poem “Redemption” is a very religious poem about Herbert’s search for Christ, in his hopes that Christ will give more to their relationship. The mood of the poem is very sad and lacking, lacking something from Christ.
The setting takes you on a very ironic journey in the search for Christ in order to ask for a ‘new lease” with the hopes of getting Christ to participate more in their relationship. The metaphors are used in the poem to describe his relationship with Christ as lacking. By the end of the poem you do not know if he actually got more from Christ in their relationship, all you know is that his request was granted. Work Cited Greenblatt, Stephen. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9. B. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print.