"Here endeth"-expain the expression from church going by larkincritical analysis

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

'Here endeth' was the common ending for a Bible reading in church.  In the poem "Church Going" by Philip Larkin, the speaker walks to the front of the church, examining all of the items:

"Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant."

He shows particular, mocking interest in the lectern and its copy of verses; a lectern is a large podium at the front of the church, used for Bible readings, where the minister may stand and read from a particular passage.  In very traditional services, reading from the King James version of the Bible was common, and the minister reading from his large print verses perched on the lectern would have closed each reading with the traditional ending, 'Here endeth the lesson.'  Larkin's loud reading of the verses feels derisive to the reader; the connotation of the word 'hectoring' suggests that he makes fun of the verses' old fashioned sensibility.  He imagines that the echoes of his reading "snigger briefly" and concludes that "the place was not worth stopping for."