From Perfection to the Elixir

How George Herbert fashioned a famous poem


Ben de la Mare, George Herbert

ISBN: 978-0-7283-0172-6

LENGTH: 34 pages

Fairacres Publications 153


Herbert’s spiritual journey reflected in the development of ‘Perfection’ into its final version, ‘The Elixir’, best known as the hymn, ‘Teach me my God and King’.

Ben de la Mare’s deep understanding of poetry is shown in this sensitive examination of the spiritual journey and conversion reflected in George Herbert’s development and revision of his poem ‘Perfection’ to become the final version, ‘The Elixir’. This poem is best known in the hymn version, ‘Teach me my God and King …’ In his work of revision and his quest for perfection, George Herbert has created an inspired image for that transformation of the human heart which only God can accomplish.

Additional information




34 pages


Ben de la Mare, George Herbert



Book Size

140 x 210 mm


How George Herbert fashioned a famous poem


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

Author Bio

Ben de la Mare (1938-2009) was the grandson of Walter de la Mare; prior to his death, he lived in retirement in Durham, where he had served for over twenty years as a parish priest. Living within reach of the cathedral and the university library helped to nourish his study of the poetic and pastoral art of George Herbert.

Click here to see all books by this author.

George Herbert died at the age of 39, in March 1633. A month before, he had given the manuscript of his poems to an emissary of Nicholas Ferrar, who had it copied out and then printed as The Temple. In the preface to that popular book, Vaughan would have learned that Herbert was ‘nobly born’, but had given up on a fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, ‘choosing rather to serve at God’s Altar’. In 1630, Herbert became rector of Bemerton, near Salisbury, where he remained for the rest of his short life.

Click here to see all books by this author.