There is a story about George Herbert, seventeenth-century Anglican clergyman and poet. A skilled lutist, he set off one evening to play music with friends. On the way he encountered “a poor man with a poorer horse” that had collapsed under the weight of the load it carried. Herbert helped the man unload and reload the horse, admonishing the man “that if he loved himself he should be merciful to his beast.” But in the course of his charitable work, he had soiled his canonical cloak. Responding to the accusation of his friends that “he had disparaged himself in so dirty an employment,” he told them that the memory of the event would be “as music to me at midnight.”

He added, “For if I be bound to pray for all that be in distress, I am sure that I am bound, so far as it is in my power, to practice what I pray for.”