David Beach

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Jerusalem Sonnets 2

The Lord doesn’t expect lice-infested beards
to be put up with, and a good start is
to shave off the beard. But Baxter not even
considering losing the beard is the least
of the self-satire. If the lice aren’t pearls
of God, don’t they, and their cloudiness,
invite some other reading? Baxter, one
must think, is taking as his metaphor that
the beard equals mind, with the lice what’s
ailing the mind. He’s virtually pronouncing
himself a whited sepulchre; the shaggy,
barefooted, early morning piety a
sham; his blindness not just error but a
matter of being eaten up by error.

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