George Herbert’s “Easter Wings” is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, which is presented as the means by which humankind overcomes sin and attains freedom. The poem consists of two ten-line stanzas of varying line lengths, which in their printed form on the page resemble the wings of a bird.
The poem is addressed directly to God or Christ (“Lord”). The first stanza begins by emphasizing how complete humankind was when first created by God. People had “wealth and store,” meaning that they were created in the image of God and were meant to preside over the natural world, which existed only to serve them. They had everything they needed, in abundance.
In line 2, the poet points out that humankind lost its wealth. This is a reference to the Fall of Man described in the book of Genesis, a doctrine that is an essential part of the Christian faith. This line also emphasizes that the Fall was the result of human foolishness, a reference to Adam and Eve’s disobedience of God’s instructions not to eat of the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. The blame for humanity’s loss of its original “wealth” therefore lies not with God but with people. As a result of the Fall, as line 3 shows, the human condition deteriorated. Humans “fell” further and further into sin, continually “decaying” from their original purity, until they reached the lowest point in their fortunes (“Most...
(The entire section is 582 words.)