True Lent

To Keep a True Lent

 By Robert Herrick (1591-1647)

Is this a fast to keep
The larder lean?
And clean

From fat of veals and sheep?
Is it to quit the dish
Of flesh, yet still
To fill

The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,
Or ragg’d to go,
Or show

A downcast look and sour?
No: ‘tis a Fast to dole
Thy sheaf of wheat
And meat

Unto the hungry soul,
It is to fast from strife
And old debate,
And hate,

To circumcise thy life.
To show a heart grief rent;
To starve thy sin,
Not bin;

And that’s to keep thy Lent.