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‘Redemption’ is a poem written by George Herbert. It revolves around the Christian belief of redemption and salvation.
About the Poet:
George Herbert (1593-1633) was an eminent English poet. He was also a priest. Famous work includes “The Collar”, “The Temple”, and “Redemption”.
Having been tenant long to a rich lord, Not thriving, I resolvèd to be bold, And make a suit unto him, to afford A new small-rented lease, and cancel th’ old.
The poem’s beginning is seemingly simple enough. The persona states that they had been a “tenant” for a rich lord for a long period of time now and at the present, wished to cancel their old lease for a new, smaller one (“suit”) because they were not “thriving”. The persona thus wishes to express their unhappiness in this stanza.
In heaven at his manor I him sought; They told me there that he was lately gone About some land, which he had dearly bought Long since on earth, to take possessiòn.
Here, it can be gleaned that the land owner under which the persona had been a tenant to is none other than God Himself. The persona states that they sought out his lord, only to be informed that he had gone to another land elsewhere. This represents that God had left his abode in Heaven to travel to Earth– the land “dearly bought” because he had had to sacrifice his beloved son Jesus Christ for the same.
I straight returned, and knowing his great birth, Sought him accordingly in great resorts; In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts; At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth
In this quatrian, the persona states that they returned back from his manor– heaven– to seek God. This is so because of the persona’s understanding of God’s divine “great birth”. They thus seek him out in “great resorts” of their own landscape– “In cities, theaters, gardens, parks, and courts”. Here, they hear a “ragged noise and mirth.”
Of thieves and murderers; there I him espied, Who straight, Your suit is granted, said, and died.
The source of the noise from the previous quatrain is revealed here. It is “Of thieves and murderers”. This reveals that the persona is referring to the Crucifixion of Jesus. It is here that the persona finds his master, who grants him his suit and instantly dies.
This is an allegorical poem. Filled with biblical allusion, it brings out the crucifixion of Jesus and the redemption that he, and mankind, seek.