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This two-stanza poem's built on a back-and-forth between despair and hope. First comes the bummer: in the first half of each stanza, Herbert describes the downward spiral of human life. It all starts with Adam who, in addition to being the first man, was also the first Loser, bungling away the "wealth and store" God gave him and sinking into poverty. Because of Adam, Herbert also has it bad. In the second stanza, he goes from one sad s-word to the next, getting serious about how sickness, shame, and sin wore him down to nothing.
But just when you thought things couldn't get bleaker, Herbert turns the sunshine back on. In the second half of each stanza, Herbert asks to rise up with the resurrected Christ and celebrate Easter's victory over death. Meanwhile, watch out for the flying feathers because Herbert gets a little bird-happy. Comparing himself to larks and hawks, he acknowledges his own sinful weakness but cheerfully looks forward to better days. Can't win 'em all, we guess.