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The conclusion of the poem. The prior entry is here:


I fain the choicest love my soul can get,

 Would to thy gracious self a gift present

But cannot now unscrew Love’s cabinet.

 Say not this is a niggard’s complement.

 For seeing it is thus I choose now rather

 To send thee th’cabbinet, and pearl together.


Paraphrase: The poet desires to send to God some gift as recompense for great gift (the glorious robes) he has received. But he cannot open himself and find something separate to give: he cannot separate his affection from himself — and so he gives himself with his affection.

This sentiment also appears in Isaac Watts’ Hymn “Alas and Did My Savior Bleed”:

But drops of grief can ne’er repay

      The debt of love I owe;

    Here, Lord, I give myself away;

      ’Tis all that I can do

Isaac Watts, The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts. And in “When I Survey the Wond’rous Cross”:

    Were the whole realm of nature mine,

    That were a present far too small;

    Love so amazing, so divine,

    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

This payment of love is the chief duty of the Christian:

Mark 12:29–31 (AV)

29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Here we come to the point of the poem: the purpose of the great love of God toward him in Jesus Christ is to render love in return

A note on “niggard”: unfortunately, some people are confused by the the Middle English nyggard, stingy, miser. It has nothing to do with the racial slur.