To Keep a True Lent

Is this a Fast, to keep

      The Larder leane?

   And cleane?

From fat of Veales, and Sheep?

Is it to quit the dish

      Of Flesh, yet still

   To fill

The platter high with Fish?

Is it to faste an houre,

   Or rag’d to go,

      Or show

A down-cast look, and sowre?

No: ’tis a Fast, to dole

      Thy sheaf of wheat,

   And meat,

Unto the hungry Soule.

It is to fast from strife,

      From old debate,

   And hate;

To circumcise thy life.

To shew a heart grief rent;

      To sterve thy sin,

   Not Bin;

And that’s to keep thy Lent.

—Robert Herrick

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