"Yet I love thee": The "Wayes of Learning" and "Groveling Wit" in Herbert's "The Pearl"

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christopher T. Hodgkins, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: The word "yet" is a sharp little monosyllable. Like the arrow pointing on the highway, it signals a sudden turning away, or across, or back. Especially if repeated, the word "yet" adds a certain dynamic tension, a touch of interior drama, to any statement, whether it be the tension of a considered contrast between differences, or the drama of an outright conflict between opposites. So we should attend closely when George Herbert, Cambridge scholar, repeats three times in his poem, "The Pearl," this adversative formula: "I know . . ." he insistently assures his auditor, "Yet I love thee" (emphasis mine).1 If we were to ignore for a moment the questions of what and how Herbert claims to know, and the question of whom he nevertheless claims to love, that which remains is a remarkable, and rather worrying, opposition: an opposition between knowledge and love.

Additional Information

George Herbert Journal 27: 22-31; Special Issue, “George Herbert at the 2005 RSA Cambridge Meeting.”
Language: English
Date: 2004
George Herbert, Love, Divine, Christianity, Reason, Rationalism, Calvinism

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