by george!

Intro to George Herbert: The Complete English Poems by John Tobin, pp. xiv-xv 

“Herbert, by church affiliation, by social status, by religious belief, was always already in the middle of a  paradoxical universe. With his classical education and religious commitment, he was Janus-faced in the Anglican via media. It is not surprising with all this integrating of doubleness, not double binds but twofold natures, that Herbert should be as a writer so intriguing a punster, finding in non-comic wordplay a device to illustrate the fused unions of so many of the truths he believed in. We know that some gifted critics seem to need pun in order to think. Herbert seems equally to need wordplay in order to allow him to ring the changes on the basic score of the Christian story.