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George Herbert's poem, Redemption, is a sonnet dealing with the mankind's search for God. It is a parable and a sermon on the Biblical lines, using the landlord/tenant analogy, the landlord being God and the tenant being everyman. The poem relates to man's fallen state and the myth of crucifixion.
As in a number of parables in the Bible in which God is presented as the landowner and humankind as the tenat, here also the speaker, a 'tenant long to a rich lord' resolved to meet the landowner for a more affordable deal:'A new small-rented lease' in cancellation of the old contract. The first quatrain thus deals with the mankind's problematic since the Fall.
Unable to find the landlord at his manor in heaven, the 'I' in the poem returned to earth where the landlord reportedly had been to take possession of a land which he had earlier bought at a good cost. The tenant searched for the master in high places for only such places would have been appropriate for his greatness. But his search was in vain.
The poem takes a sharp allegorical turn in the last line of the third quatrain and the closing couplet. The landlord could at last be discovered in 'a ragged noise and mirth/Of thieves and murderers'. He granted the tenant's prayer and died. The closing lines refer to Christ's 'death' on the Cross, which was a way of paying good price for all the sins of mankind. We can remember that Christ was put to death in between two thieves.
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