A Famous Poet’s Poem Concerning Gratitude

George Herbert

Experts agree that gratitude is key to resilience. Here’s a poem about being grateful to God by the masterful poet George Herbert, which Ralph Waldo Emerson included in Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.


You that have giv'n so much to me,
Give one thing more, a grateful heart.
See how your beggar works on thee
By art.

He makes your gifts occasion more,
And says, If he in this be crossed,
All you have giv'n him heretofore
Is lost.

But you did reckon, when at first
Your word our hearts and hands did crave,
What it would come to at the worst
To save.

Perpetual knockings at your door,
Tears sullying your transparent rooms,
Gift upon gift, much would have more,
And comes.

This notwithstanding, you still went on,
And did allow us all our noise:
Nay, you have made a sigh and groan
Your joys.

Not that you have not still above
Much better tunes, than groans can make;
But that these country-airs your love
Did take.

Wherefore I cry, and cry again;
And in no quiet can you be,
Till I a thankful heart obtain
Of thee:

Not thankful, when it pleases me;
As if your blessings had spare days:
But such a heart, whose pulse may be
Your praise.