Themes

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The Depravity of Man 

Herbert makes it clear that this world is full of suffering and that we as humans are inherently sinners. This is a core concept in the Christian life—that humanity is flawed. It is because of this that his speaker wishes to escape by way of eternal life in heaven. The speaker talks at length about how mankind has lost its wealth and all the good things God has bequeathed. He also relates how his own sorrow in life began at a very young age, and he wishes that he could escape and be united with Christ’s perfection.

The Power of God

In this work, Herbert makes it clear how much power God has. He is, first and foremost, the creator of humanity and the benefactor of all good things. Beyond that, Herbert relates the idea of flying to being caught up with Christ in the air—essentially signifying the Rapture and the final joy that those who are taken up to eternal life with Christ will experience. Herbert’s speaker knows that God has the power to end his suffering when He sees fit, and He also has the power to transform Herbert’s life and everything around it.

The Joy of the Resurrection

The resurrection of Christ and humanity’s subsequent salvation and resurrection are this poem’s most crucial underpinnings. Herbert’s speaker looks forward to the day when his suffering can be alchemized into eternal life and bliss in heaven with Christ. The metaphors of wings and allusions to flight relate the rapturous joy and freedom the speaker yearns for and trusts he will experience when he is united with Christ at the end of his life.

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