George Herbert’s poem is very philosophical and metaphoric. First, the title- “Pulley” derives from a wheel around which a rope passes for the purpose of lifting things. God, in this poem is the metaphor of “pulley” who lifts his creatures to himself. God created everything, including man. Having created man in his image and likeness, He reasoned that His creature must have the best of everything. Simply put, man will not be in want, for God will give him everything.

“When God at first made man 

Having a glass of blessings standing by 

“Let us, said he, “pour on him all we can 

Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie

In other words, God in His infinite kindness and generosity poured His boundless blessings on “man”. The first among blessings was strength, then beauty, wisdom, honour and pleasure. All these were specially bestowed on man.

Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie

Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way,

Then beauty flowed, then wisdom,

Honour pleasure.

When it appeared that God had given out everything, He stayed a while. Then remembering that of all, a treasure was left behind because He reasoned that if He should give this ‘jewel”-precious ornament, His creature will turn to worship the gift and not God.

Perceiving that, alone of all his treasures 

Rest in the bottom lay, “For if I should”, said he.

“Bestow this jewel also on my creature. 

He would adore my gifts instead of me.


As a result, God’s creature will rest in nature and not the “God of nature”, thus making both losers — “God” and “man”. That is God will lose both man and the jewel and on the other hand man will lose God. To solve this problem, not to lose man and for men not to lose God, the almighty God gave man wealth and restlessness.

Let him be rich and weary, that at least

“If goodness lead him not yet weariness

May toss him to my breast”.

What this means is that if man does not come to God because of riches, he will surely come because of predicaments, hence the philosophy of the last stanza of the poem. These go to say that man relies on God for wealth and often when this comes, he stays away from God when problem comes. “Rich” and “Weary” are thus used as pulley to draw man to God.

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