To Keep a True Lent

To Keep a True Lent
by Robert Herrick

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 ragged to go,
            or show
a down-cast 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.

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