Good Friday Poems by George Herbert

Here are two Good Friday poems by George Herbert, one of my favorite poets. As with all poetry, you will get the most out of the poems if you take them slowly and read them through several times, out loud if possible.

“GOOD FRIDAY” – by George Herbert (Notice how each stanza roughly resembles the shape of a cross.)

                Oh my chief good,
How shall I measure out thy blood?
How shall I count what thee befell,
                And each grief tell?

                Shall I thy woes
Number according to thy foes?
Or, since one star show’d thy first breath,
                Shall all thy death?

                Or shall each leaf,
Which falls in Autumn, score1 a grief?
Or cannot leaves, but fruit, be sign,
                Of the true vine?

                Then let each hour
Of my whole life one grief devour;
That thy distress through all may run,
                And be my sun.

                  Or rather let
My several sins their sorrows get;
That, as each beast his cure doth know,
                  Each sin may so.

1. score. Mark, as in counting.


“THE PASSION” – by George Herbert

Since blood is fittest, Lord, to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloody fight;
My heart hath store; write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sin:

That when sin spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes,
All come to lodge there, sin may say,
No room for me, and fly away.

Sin being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sin take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.

Source (for poems and footnotes): George Herbert: The Country Parson, The Temple (The Classics of Western Spirituality; 1981)

Related posts:
    • What’s So Good about Friday?
    • What is Good Friday?
    • Good Friday Poem by Christina Rossetti.

Click here for more poems by George Herbert.
Click here for more posts relating to the Cross.
Click here for more Easter posts.
Click here for poems by Ray Fowler.


  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    I am smiling because your advice on how to understand and appreciate poetry could very easily be applied to Bible reading – especially Psalms and the NT letters – as well! Take it slowly, read the verses several times, out loud if possible. Loved the poems (and I read them out loud!!)

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Hi Sharon – I am glad you enjoyed them. There are more coming tomorrow and Sunday. Good thoughts on applying the principles of reading poetry to Scripture as well. Thanks!

  3. Ronnie says:

    When I was seeking the Lord and I came to my end, I asked Him… “lord if man be separated, utterly alienated from you… how do you show yourself? What is your convanant with man… After this I received preaching within a moment I was made like a child. Everything God is was found in Jesus Christ displayed on the cross. Why because it being the foolishness of man, it is God’s wisdom. The cross is the love, wisdom, justice, depth, wrath, goodness, mercy, grace, reconciliation, peace, of God dilplayed to all of man kind. Jesus says in John 3, a man must be born again to look upon the son of man and be saved.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. George Herbert Poems and Posts at Ray Fowler .org
  2. Good Friday Poem - Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) at Ray Fowler .org
  3. Good Friday in the Poetry Corner « Reasonable Minds

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