Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Complete
Part 13 out of 20
Her earnest sighs procured her tears
And filled her breasts.
2 Oh that man could do so! that he would hear
The world read to him! all the vast expense
In the creation shed and slaved to sense,
Makes up but lectures for his eye and ear.
3 Sure mighty Love, foreseeing the descent
Of this poor creature, by a gracious art
Hid in these low things snares to gain his heart,
And laid surprises in each element.
4 All things here show him heaven; waters that fall
Chide and fly up; mists of corruptest foam
Quit their first beds and mount; trees, herbs, flowers, all
Strive upwards still, and point him the way home.
5 How do they cast off grossness? only earth
And man, like Issachar, in loads delight,
Water's refined to motion, air to light,
Fire to all three, but man hath no such mirth.
6 Plants in the root with earth do most comply,
Their leaves with water and humidity,
The flowers to air draw near and subtilty,
And seeds a kindred fire have with the sky.
7 All have their keys and set ascents; but man
Though he knows these, and hath more of his own,
Sleeps at the ladder's foot; alas! what can
These new discoveries do, except they drown?
8 Thus, grovelling in the shade and darkness, he
Sinks to a dead oblivion; and though all
He sees, like pyramids, shoot from this ball,
And lessening still, grow up invisibly,
9 Yet hugs he still his dirt; the stuff he wears,
And painted trimming, takes down both his eyes;
Heaven hath less beauty than the dust he spies,
And money better music than the spheres.
10 Life's but a blast; he knows it; what? shall straw
And bulrush-fetters temper his short hour?
Must he nor sip nor sing? grows ne'er a flower
To crown his temples? shall dreams be his law?
11 O foolish man! how hast thou lost thy sight?
How is it that the sun to thee alone
Is grown thick darkness, and thy bread a stone?
Hath flesh no softness now? mid-day no light?
12 Lord! thou didst put a soul here. If I must
Be broke again, for flints will give no fire
Without a steel, oh, let thy power clear
Thy gift once more, and grind this flint to dust!
 'All three:' light, motion, heat
1 I saw eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, time, in hours, days, years,
Driven by the spheres,
Like a vast shadow moved, in which the world
And all her train were hurled.
The doting lover in his quaintest strain
Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
Wit's sour delights;
With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure,
Yet his dear treasure,
All scattered lay, while he his eyes did pour
Upon a flower.
2 The darksome statesman, hung with weights and woe,
Like a thick midnight fog, moved there so slow,
He did nor stay, nor go;
Condemning thoughts, like sad eclipses, scowl
Upon his soul,
And clouds of crying witnesses without
Pursued him with one shout.
Yet digged the mole, and, lest his ways be found,
Worked under ground,
Where he did clutch his prey. But one did see
Churches and altars fed him; perjuries
Were gnats and flies;
It rained about him blood and tears; but he
Drank them as free.
3 The fearful miser on a heap of rust
Sat pining all his life there, did scarce trust
His own hands with the dust,
Yet would not place one piece above, but lives
In fear of thieves.
Thousands there were as frantic as himself,
And hugged each one his pelf;
The downright epicure placed heaven in sense,
And scorned pretence;
While others, slipped into a wide excess,
Said little less;
The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave,
Who think them brave,
And poor, despised truth sat counting by
4 Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing and weep, soared up into the ring;
But most would use no wing.
'O fools,' said I,'thus to prefer dark night
Before true light!
To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
Because it shows the way,
The way, which from this dead and dark abode
Leads up to God,
A way where you might tread the sun, and be
More bright than he!'
But, as I did their madness so discuss,
One whispered thus,
'This ring the bridegroom did for none provide,
But for his bride.'
'All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And
the world passeth away, and the lusts thereof; but he that doeth the
will of God abideth for ever.'--1 JOHN ii. 16, 17.
1 Fair, ordered lights, whose motion without noise
Resembles those true joys,
Whose spring is on that hill where you do grow,
And we here taste sometimes below.
2 With what exact obedience do you move,
Now beneath, and now above!
And in your vast progressions overlook
The darkest night and closest nook!
3 Some nights I see you in the gladsome east,
Some others near the west,
And when I cannot see, yet do you shine,
And beat about your endless line.
4 Silence and light and watchfulness with you
Attend and wind the clue;
No sleep nor sloth assails you, but poor man
Still either sleeps, or slips his span.
5 He gropes beneath here, and with restless care,
First makes, then hugs a snare;
Adores dead dust, sets heart on corn and grass,
But seldom doth make heaven his glass.
6 Music and mirth, if there be music here,
Take up and tune his ear;
These things are kin to him, and must be had;
Who kneels, or sighs a life, is mad.
7 Perhaps some nights he'll watch with you, and peep
When it were best to sleep;
Dares know effects, and judge them long before,
When the herb he treads knows much, much more.
8 But seeks he your obedience, order, light,
Your calm and well-trained flight?
Where, though the glory differ in each star,
Yet is there peace still and no war.
9 Since placed by him, who calls you by your names,
And fixed there all your flames,
Without command you never acted ought,
And then you in your courses fought.
10 But here, commissioned by a black self-will,
The sons the father kill,
The children chase the mother, and would heal
The wounds they give by crying zeal.
11 Then cast her blood and tears upon thy book,
Where they for fashion look;
And, like that lamb, which had the dragon's voice,
Seem mild, but are known by their noise.
12 Thus by our lusts disordered into wars,
Our guides prove wandering stars,
Which for these mists and black days were reserved,
What time we from our first love swerved.
13 Yet oh, for his sake who sits now by thee
All crowned with victory,
So guide us through this darkness, that we may
Be more and more in love with day!
14 Settle and fix our hearts, that we may move
In order, peace, and love;
And, taught obedience by thy whole creation,
Become an humble, holy nation!
15 Give to thy spouse her perfect and pure dress,
Beauty and holiness;
And so repair these rents, that men may see
And say, 'Where God is, all agree.'
Lord, bind me up, and let me lie
A prisoner to my liberty,
If such a state at all can be
As an impris'ment serving thee;
The wind, though gathered in thy fist,
Yet doth it blow still where it list,
And yet shouldst thou let go thy hold,
Those gusts might quarrel and grow bold.
As waters here, headlong and loose,
The lower grounds still chase and choose,
Where spreading ail the way they seek
And search out every hole and creek;
So my spilt thoughts, winding from thee,
Take the down-road to vanity,
Where they all stray, and strive which shall
Find out the first and steepest fall.
I cheer their flow, giving supply
To what's already grown too high,
And having thus performed that part,
Feed on those vomits of my heart.
I break the fence my own hands made
Then lay that trespass in the shade;
Some fig-leaves still I do devise,
As if thou hadst not ears nor eyes.
Excess of friends, of words, and wine
Take up my day, while thou dost shine
All unregarded, and thy book
Hath not so much as one poor look.
If thou steal in amidst the mirth
And kindly tell me, I am earth,
I shut thee out, and let that slip;
Such music spoils good fellowship.
Thus wretched I and most unkind,
Exclude my dear God from my mind,
Exclude him thence, who of that cell
Would make a court, should he there dwell.
He goes, he yields; and troubled sore
His Holy Spirit grieves therefore;
The mighty God, the eternal King
Doth grieve for dust, and dust doth sing.
But I go on, haste to divest
Myself of reason, till oppressed
And buried in my surfeits, I
Prove my own shame and misery.
Next day I call and cry for thee
Who shouldst not then come near to me;
But now it is thy servant's pleasure,
Thou must and dost give him his measure.
Thou dost, thou com'st, and in a shower
Of healing sweets thyself dost pour
Into my wounds; and now thy grace
(I know it well) fills all the place;
I sit with thee by this new light,
And for that hour thou'rt my delight;
No man can more the world despise,
Or thy great mercies better prize.
I school my eyes, and strictly dwell
Within the circle of my cell;
That calm and silence are my joys,
Which to thy peace are but mere noise.
At length I feel my head to ache,
My fingers itch, and burn to take
Some new employment, I begin
To swell and foam and fret within:
'The age, the present times are not
To snudge in and embrace a cot;
Action and blood now get the game,
Disdain treads on the peaceful name;
Who sits at home too bears a load
Greater than those that gad abroad.'
Thus do I make thy gifts given me
The only quarrellers with thee;
I'd loose those knots thy hands did tie,
Then would go travel, fight, or die.
Thousands of wild and waste infusions
Like waves beat on my resolutions;
As flames about their fuel run,
And work and wind till all be done,
So my fierce soul bustles about,
And never rests till all be out.
Thus wilded by a peevish heart,
Which in thy music bears no part,
I storm at thee, calling my peace
A lethargy, and mere disease;
Nay those bright beams shot from thy eyes
To calm me in these mutinies,
I style mere tempers, which take place
At some set times, but are thy grace.
Such is man's life, and such is mine,
The worst of men, and yet still thine,
Still thine, thou know'st, and if not so,
Then give me over to my foe.
Yet since as easy 'tis for thee
To make man good as bid him be,
And with one glance, could he that gain,
To look him out of all his pain,
Oh, send me from thy holy hill
So much of strength as may fulfil
All thy delights, whate'er they be,
And sacred institutes in me!
Open my rocky heart, and fill
It with obedience to thy will;
Then seal it up, that as none see,
So none may enter there but thee.
Oh, hear, my God! hear him, whose blood
Speaks more and better for my good!
Oh, let my cry come to thy throne!
My cry not poured with tears alone,
(For tears alone are often foul,)
But with the blood of all my soul;
With spirit-sighs, and earnest groans,
Faithful and most repenting moans,
With these I cry, and crying pine,
Till thou both mend, and make me thine.
MOUNT OF OLIVES.
When first I saw true beauty, and thy joys,
Active as light, and calm without all noise,
Shined on my soul, I felt through all my powers
Such a rich air of sweets, as evening showers,
Fanned by a gentle gale, convey, and breathe
On some parched bank, crowned with a flowery wreath;
Odours, and myrrh, and balm in one rich flood
O'erran my heart, and spirited my blood;
My thoughts did swim in comforts, and mine eye
Confessed, 'The world did only paint and lie.'
And where before I did no safe course steer,
But wandered under tempests all the year;
Went bleak and bare in body as in mind,
And was blown through by every storm and wind,
I am so warmed now by this glance on me,
That 'midst all storms I feel a ray of thee.
So have I known some beauteous passage rise
In sudden flowers and arbours to my eyes,
And in the depth and dead of winter bring
To my cold thoughts a lively sense of spring.
Thus fed by thee, who dost all beings nourish,
My withered leaves again look green and flourish;
I shine and shelter underneath thy wing,
Where, sick with love, I strive thy name to sing;
Thy glorious name! which grant I may so do,
That these may be thy praise, and my joy too!
Lord Jesus! with what sweetness and delights,
Sure, holy hopes, high joys, and quickening flights,
Dost thou feed thine! O thou! the hand that lifts
To him who gives all good and perfect gifts,
Thy glorious, bright ascension, though removed
So many ages from me, is so proved
And by thy Spirit sealed to me, that I
Feel me a sharer in thy victory!
I soar and rise
Up to the skies,
Leaving the world their day;
And in my flight
For the true light
Go seeking all the way;
I greet thy sepulchre, salute thy grave,
That blest enclosure, where the angels gave
The first glad tidings of thy early light,
And resurrection from the earth and night,
I see that morning in thy convert's tears,
Fresh as the dew, which but this dawning wears.
I smell her spices; and her ointment yields
As rich a scent as the now primrosed fields.
The day-star smiles, and light with the deceased
Now shines in all the chambers of the east.
What stirs, what posting intercourse and mirth
Of saints and angels glorify the earth?
What sighs, what whispers, busy stops and stays,
Private and holy talk, fill all the ways?
They pass as at the last great day, and run
In their white robes to seek the risen Sun;
I see them, hear them, mark their haste, and move
Amongst them, with them, winged with faith and love.
Thy forty days' more secret commerce here
After thy death and funeral, so clear
And indisputable, shows to my sight
As the sun doth, which to those days gave light.
I walk the fields of Bethany, which shine
All now as fresh as Eden, and as fine.
Such was the bright world on the first seventh day,
Before man brought forth sin, and sin decay;
When like a virgin clad in flowers and green
The pure earth sat, and the fair woods had seen
No frost, but flourished in that youthful vest
With which their great Creator had them dressed:
When heaven above them shined like molten glass,
While all the planets did unclouded pass;
And springs, like dissolved pearls, their streams did pour,
Ne'er marred with floods, nor angered with a shower.
With these fair thoughts I move in this fair place,
And the last steps of my mild Master trace.
I see him leading out his chosen train
All sad with tears, which like warm summer rain
In silent drops steal from their holy eyes,
Fixed lately on the cross, now on the skies.
And now, eternal Jesus! thou dost heave
Thy blessed hands to bless those thou dost leave.
The cloud doth now receive thee, and their sight
Having lost thee, behold two men in white!
Two and no more: 'What two attest is true,'
Was thine own answer to the stubborn Jew.
Come then, thou faithful Witness! come, dear Lord,
Upon the clouds again to judge this world!
 'Thy convert:' St Mary Magdalene.
1 Father of lights! what sunny seed,
What glance of day hast thou confined
Into this bird? To all the breed
This busy ray thou hast assigned;
Their magnetism works all night,
And dreams of paradise and light.
2 Their eyes watch for the morning hue,
Their little grain-expelling night
So shines and sings, as if it knew
The path unto the house of light.
It seems their candle, howe'er done,
Was tinned and lighted at the sun.
3 If such a tincture, such a touch,
So firm a longing can empower,
Shall thy own image think it much
To watch for thy appearing hour?
If a mere blast so fill the sail,
Shall not the breath of God prevail?
4 O thou immortal light and heat!
Whose hand so shines through all this frame,
That by the beauty of the seat,
We plainly see who made the same,
Seeing thy seed abides in me,
Dwell thou in it, and I in thee!
5 To sleep without thee is to die;
Yea,'tis a death partakes of hell:
For where thou dost not close the eye
It never opens, I can tell.
In such a dark, Egyptian border,
The shades of death dwell, and disorder.
6 If joys, and hopes, and earnest throes,
And hearts, whose pulse beats still for light,
Are given to birds; who, but thee, knows
A love-sick soul's exalted flight?
Can souls be tracked by any eye
But his, who gave them wings to fly?
7 Only this veil which thou hast broke,
And must be broken yet in me,
This veil, I say, is all the cloak
And cloud which shadows me from thee.
This veil thy full-eyed love denies,
And only gleams and fractions spies.
8 Oh, take it off! make no delay;
But brush me with thy light, that I
May shine unto a perfect day,
And warm me at thy glorious eye!
Oh, take it off! or till it flee,
Though with no lily, stay with me!
1 Dear friend, sit down, and bear awhile this shade,
As I have yours long since. This plant you see
So pressed and bowed, before sin did degrade
Both you and it, had equal liberty
2 With other trees; but now, shut from the breath
And air of Eden, like a malcontent
It thrives nowhere. This makes these weights, like death
And sin, hang at him; for the more he's bent
3 The more he grows. Celestial natures still
Aspire for home. This Solomon of old,
By flowers, and carvings, and mysterious skill
Of wings, and cherubims, and palms, foretold.
4 This is the life which, hid above with Christ
In God, doth always (hidden) multiply,
And spring, and grow, a tree ne'er to be priced,
A tree whose fruit is immortality.
5 Here spirits that have run their race, and fought,
And won the fight, and have not feared the frowns
Nor loved the smiles of greatness, but have wrought
Their Master's will, meet to receive their crowns.
6 Here is the patience of the saints: this tree
Is watered by their tears, as flowers are fed
With dew by night; but One you cannot see
Sits here, and numbers all the tears they shed.
7 Here is their faith too, which if you will keep
When we two part, I will a journey make
To pluck a garland hence while you do sleep,
And weave it for your head against you wake.
1 Thou, who dost flow and flourish here below,
To whom a falling star and nine days' glory,
Or some frail beauty, makes the bravest show,
Hark, and make use of this ensuing story.
When first my youthful, sinful age
Grew master of my ways,
Appointing error for my page,
And darkness for my days;
I flung away, and with full cry
Of wild affections, rid
In post for pleasures, bent to try
All gamesters that would bid.
I played with fire, did counsel spurn,
Made life my common stake;
But never thought that fire would burn,
Or that a soul could ache.
Glorious deceptions, gilded mists,
False joys, fantastic flights,
Pieces of sackcloth with silk lists,
These were my prime delights.
I sought choice bowers, haunted the spring,
Culled flowers and made me posies;
Gave my fond humours their full wing,
And crowned my head with roses.
But at the height of this career
I met with a dead man,
Who, noting well my vain abear,
Thus unto me began:
'Desist, fond fool, be not undone;
What thou hast cut to-day
Will fade at night, and with this sun
Quite vanish and decay.'
2 Flowers gathered in this world, die here; if thou
Wouldst have a wreath that fades not, let them grow,
And grow for thee. Who spares them here, shall find
A garland, where comes neither rain nor wind.
Jesus, my life! how shall I truly love thee!
Oh that thy Spirit would so strongly move me,
That thou wert pleased to shed thy grace so far
As to make man all pure love, flesh a star!
A star that would ne'er set, but ever rise,
So rise and run, as to outrun these skies,
These narrow skies (narrow to me) that bar,
So bar me in, that I am still at war,
At constant war with them. Oh, come, and rend
Or bow the heavens! Lord, bow them and descend,
And at thy presence make these mountains flow,
These mountains of cold ice in me! Thou art
Refining fire; oh, then, refine my heart,
My foul, foul heart! Thou art immortal heat;
Heat motion gives; then warm it, till it beat;
So beat for thee, till thou in mercy hear;
So hear, that thou must open; open to
A sinful wretch, a wretch that caused thy woe;
Thy woe, who caused his weal; so far his weal
That thou forgott'st thine own, for thou didst seal
Mine with thy blood, thy blood which makes thee mine,
Mine ever, ever; and me ever thine.
1 Up, O my soul, and bless the Lord! O God,
My God, how great, how very great art thou!
Honour and majesty have their abode
With thee, and crown thy brow.
2 Thou cloth'st thyself with light as with a robe,
And the high, glorious heavens thy mighty hand
Doth spread like curtains round about this globe
Of air, and sea, and land.
3 The beams of thy bright chambers thou dost lay
In the deep waters, which no eye can find;
The clouds thy chariots are, and thy pathway
The wings of the swift wind.
4 In thy celestial, gladsome messages
Despatched to holy souls, sick with desire
And love of thee, each willing angel is
Thy minister in fire.
5 Thy arm unmoveable for ever laid
And founded the firm earth; then with the deep
As with a vail thou hidd'st it; thy floods played
Above the mountains steep.
6 At thy rebuke they fled, at the known voice
Of their Lord's thunder they retired apace:
Some up the mountains passed by secret ways,
Some downwards to their place.
7 For thou to them a bound hast set, a bound
Which, though but sand, keeps in and curbs whole seas:
There all their fury, foam, and hideous sound,
Must languish and decrease.
8 And as thy care bounds these, so thy rich love
Doth broach the earth; and lesser brooks lets forth,
Which run from hills to valleys, and improve
Their pleasure and their worth.
9 These to the beasts of every field give drink;
There the wild asses swallow the cool spring:
And birds amongst the branches on their brink
Their dwellings have, and sing.
10 Thou from thy upper springs above, from those
Chambers of rain, where heaven's large bottles lie,
Dost water the parched hills, whose breaches close,
Healed by the showers from high.
11 Grass for the cattle, and herbs for man's use
Thou mak'st to grow; these, blessed by thee, the earth
Brings forth, with wine, oil, bread; all which infuse
To man's heart strength and mirth.
12 Thou giv'st the trees their greenness, even to those
Cedars in Lebanon, in whose thick boughs
The birds their nests build; though the stork doth choose
The fir-trees for her house.
13 To the wild goats the high hills serve for folds,
The rocks give conies a retiring place:
Above them the cool moon her known course holds,
And the sun runs his race.
14 Thou makest darkness, and then comes the night,
In whose thick shades and silence each wild beast
Creeps forth, and, pinched for food, with scent and sight
Hunts in an eager quest.
15 The lion's whelps, impatient of delay,
Roar in the covert of the woods, and seek
Their meat from thee, who dost appoint the prey,
And feed'st them all the week.
16 This past, the sun shines on the earth; and they
Retire into their dens; man goes abroad
Unto his work, and at the close of day
Returns home with his load.
17 O Lord my God, how many and how rare
Are thy great works! In wisdom hast thou made
Them all; and this the earth, and every blade
Of grass we tread declare.
18 So doth the deep and wide sea, wherein are
Innumerable creeping things, both small
And great; there ships go, and the shipmen's fear,
The comely, spacious whale.
19 These all upon thee wait, that thou mayst feed
Them in due season: what thou giv'st they take;
Thy bounteous open hand helps them at need,
And plenteous meals they make.
20 When thou dost hide thy face, (thy face which keeps
All things in being,) they consume and mourn:
When thou withdraw'st their breath their vigour sleeps,
And they to dust return.
21 Thou send'st thy Spirit forth, and they revive,
The frozen earth's dead face thou dost renew.
Thus thou thy glory through the world dost drive,
And to thy works art true.
22 Thine eyes behold the earth, and the whole stage
Is moved and trembles, the hills melt and smoke
With thy least touch; lightnings and winds that rage
At thy rebuke are broke.
23 Therefore as long as thou wilt give me breath
I will in songs to thy great name employ
That gift of thine, and to my day of death
Thou shalt be all my joy.
24 I'll spice my thoughts with thee, and from thy word
Gather true comforts; but the wicked liver
Shall be consumed. O my soul, bless thy Lord!
Yea, bless thou him for ever!
1 Sure thou didst flourish once! and many springs,
Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers
Passed o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings,
Which now are dead, lodged in thy living bowers.
2 And still a new succession sings and flies;
Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot
Towards the old and still-enduring skies,
While the low violet thrives at their root.
3 But thou, beneath the sad and heavy line
Of death, doth waste all senseless, cold, and dark;
Where not so much as dreams of light may shine,
Nor any thought of greenness, leaf, or bark.
4 And yet, as if some deep hate and dissent,
Bred in thy growth betwixt high winds and thee,
Were still alive, thou dost great storms resent,
Before they come, and know'st how near they be.
5 Else all at rest thou liest, and the fierce breath
Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease;
But this thy strange resentment after death
Means only those who broke in life thy peace.
6 So murdered man, when lovely life is done,
And his blood freezed, keeps in the centre still
Some secret sense, which makes the dead blood run
At his approach that did the body kill.
7 And is there any murderer worse than sin?
Or any storms more foul than a lewd life?
Or what resentient can work more within
Than true remorse, when with past sins at strife?
8 He that hath left life's vain joys and vain care,
And truly hates to be detained on earth,
Hath got an house where many mansions are,
And keeps his soul unto eternal mirth.
9 But though thus dead unto the world, and ceased
From sin, he walks a narrow, private way;
Yet grief and old wounds make him sore displeased,
And all his life a rainy, weeping day.
10 For though he should forsake the world, and live
As mere a stranger as men long since dead;
Yet joy itself will make a right soul grieve
To think he should be so long vainly led.
11 But as shades set off light, so tears and grief,
Though of themselves but a sad blubbered story,
By showing the sin great, show the relief
Far greater, and so speak my Saviour's glory.
12 If my way lies through deserts and wild woods,
Where all the land with scorching heat is cursed;
Better the pools should flow with rain and floods
To fill my bottle, than I die with thirst.
13 Blest showers they are, and streams sent from above;
Begetting virgins where they use to flow;
The trees of life no other waters love,
Than upper springs, and none else make them grow.
14 But these chaste fountains flow not till we die.
Some drops may fall before; but a clear spring
And ever running, till we leave to fling
Dirt in her way, will keep above the sky.
'He that is dead is freed from sin.'--ROM. vi. 7.
1 When the fair year
Of your Deliverer comes,
And that long frost which now benumbs
Your hearts shall thaw; when angels here
Shall yet to man appear,
And familiarly confer
Beneath the oak and juniper;
When the bright Dove,
Which now these many, many springs
Hath kept above,
Shall with spread wings
Descend, and living waters flow
To make dry dust, and dead trees grow;
2 Oh, then, that I
Might live, and see the olive bear
Her proper branches! which now lie
Scattered each where;
And, without root and sap, decay;
Cast by the husbandman away.
And sure it is not far!
For as your fast and foul decays,
Forerunning the bright morning star,
Did sadly note his healing rays
Would shine elsewhere, since you were blind,
And would be cross, when God was kind,--
3 So by all signs
Our fulness too is now come in;
And the same sun, which here declines
And sets, will few hours hence begin
To rise on you again, and look
Towards old Mamre and Eshcol's brook.
For surely he
Who loved the world so as to give
His only Son to make it free,
Whose Spirit too doth mourn and grieve
To see man lost, will for old love
From your dark hearts this veil remove.
4 Faith sojourned first on earth in you,
You were the dear and chosen stock:
The arm of God, glorious and true,
Was first revealed to be your rock.
5 You were the eldest child, and when
Your stony hearts despised love,
The youngest, even the Gentiles, then,
Were cheered your jealousy to move.
6 Thus, righteous Father! dost thou deal
With brutish men; thy gifts go round
By turns, and timely, and so heal
The lost son by the newly found.
1 Come, drop your branches, strew the way,
Plants of the day!
Whom sufferings make most green and gay.
The King of grief, the Man of sorrow,
Weeping still like the wet morrow,
Your shades and freshness comes to borrow.
2 Put on, put on your best array;
Let the joyed road make holyday,
And flowers, that into fields do stray,
Or secret groves, keep the highway.
3 Trees, flowers, and herbs; birds, beasts, and stones,
That since man fell expect with groans
To see the Lamb, come all at once,
Lift up your heads and leave your moans;
For here comes he
Whose death will be
Man's life, and your full liberty.
4 Hark! how the children shrill and high
Their joys provoke the distant sky,
Where thrones and seraphim reply;
And their own angels shine and sing,
In a bright ring:
Such young, sweet mirth
Makes heaven and earth
Join in a joyful symphony.
5 The harmless, young, and happy ass,
(Seen long before this came to pass,)
Is in these joys a high partaker,
Ordained and made to bear his Maker.
6 Dear Feast of Palms, of flowers and dew!
Whose fruitful dawn sheds hopes and lights;
Thy bright solemnities did shew
The third glad day through two sad nights.
7 I'll get me up before the sun,
I'll cut me boughs off many a tree,
And all alone full early run
To gather flowers to welcome thee.
8 Then, like the palm, though wronged I'll bear,
I will be still a child, still meek
As the poor ass which the proud jeer,
And only my dear Jesus seek.
9 If I lose all, and must endure
The proverbed griefs of holy Job,
I care not, so I may secure
But one green branch and a white robe.
 Zechariah ix. 9.
1 Sacred and secret hand!
By whose assisting, swift command
The angel showed that holy well
Which freed poor Hagar from her fears,
And turned to smiles the begging tears
Of young, distressed Ishmael.
2 How, in a mystic cloud,
Which doth thy strange, sure mercies shroud,
Dost thou convey man food and money,
Unseen by him till they arrive
Just at his mouth, that thankless hive,
Which kills thy bees, and eats thy honey!
3 If I thy servant be,
Whose service makes even captives free,
A fish shall all my tribute pay,
The swift-winged raven shall bring me meat,
And I, like flowers, shall still go neat,
As if I knew no month but May.
4 I will not fear what man
With all his plots and power can.
Bags that wax old may plundered be;
But none can sequester or let
A state that with the sun doth set,
And comes next morning fresh as he.
5 Poor birds this doctrine sing,
And herbs which on dry hills do spring,
Or in the howling wilderness
Do know thy dewy morning hours,
And watch all night for mists or showers,
Then drink and praise thy bounteousness.
6 May he for ever die
Who trusts not thee, but wretchedly
Hunts gold and wealth, and will not lend
Thy service nor his soul one day!
May his crown, like his hopes, be clay;
And what he saves may his foes spend!
7 If all my portion here,
The measure given by thee each year,
Were by my causeless enemies
Usurped; it never should me grieve,
Who know how well thou canst relieve,
Whose hands are open as thine eyes.
8 Great King of love and truth!
Who wouldst not hate my froward youth,
And wilt not leave me when grown old,
Gladly will I, like Pontic sheep,
Unto my wormwood diet keep,
Since thou hast made thy arm my fold.
ST MARY MAGDALENE.
Dear, beauteous saint! more white than day,
When in his naked, pure array;
Fresher than morning-flowers, which shew,
As thou in tears dost, best in dew.
How art thou changed, how lively, fair,
Pleasing, and innocent an air,
Not tutored by thy glass, but free,
Native, and pure, shines now in thee!
But since thy beauty doth still keep
Bloomy and fresh, why dost thou weep?
This dusky state of sighs and tears
Durst not look on those smiling years,
When Magdal-castle was thy seat,
Where all was sumptuous, rare, and neat.
Why lies this hair despised now
Which once thy care and art did show?
Who then did dress the much-loved toy
In spires, globes, angry curls and coy,
Which with skilled negligence seemed shed
About thy curious, wild, young head?
Why is this rich, this pistic nard
Spilt, and the box quite broke and marred?
What pretty sullenness did haste
Thy easy hands to do this waste?
Why art thou humbled thus, and low
As earth thy lovely head dost bow?
Dear soul! thou knew'st flowers here on earth
At their Lord's footstool have their birth;
Therefore thy withered self in haste
Beneath his blest feet thou didst cast,
That at the root of this green tree
Thy great decays restored might be.
Thy curious vanities, and rare
Odorous ointments kept with care,
And dearly bought, when thou didst see
They could not cure nor comfort thee;
Like a wise, early penitent,
Thou sadly didst to him present,
Whose interceding, meek, and calm
Blood, is the world's all-healing balm.
This, this divine restorative
Called forth thy tears, which ran in live
And hasty drops, as if they had
(Their Lord so near) sense to be glad.
Learn, ladies, here the faithful cure
Makes beauty lasting, fresh, and pure;
Learn Mary's art of tears, and then
Say you have got the day from men.
Cheap, mighty art! her art of love,
Who loved much, and much more could move;
Her art! whose memory must last
Till truth through all the world be passed;
Till his abused, despised flame
Return to heaven, from whence it came,
And send a fire down, that shall bring
Destruction on his ruddy wing.
Her art! whose pensive, weeping eyes,
Were once sin's loose and tempting spies;
But now are fixed stars, whose light
Helps such dark stragglers to their sight.
Self-boasting Pharisee! how blind
A judge wert thou, and how unkind!
It was impossible that thou,
Who wert all false, shouldst true grief know.
Is't just to judge her faithful tears
By that foul rheum thy false eye wears?
'This woman,' sayst thou, 'is a sinner!'
And sat there none such at thy dinner?
Go, leper, go! wash till thy flesh
Comes like a child's, spotless and fresh;
He is still leprous that still paints:
Who saint themselves, they are no saints.
Still young and fine! but what is still in view
We slight as old and soiled, though fresh and new.
How bright wert thou, when Shem's admiring eye
Thy burnished, flaming arch did first descry!
When Terah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot,
The youthful world's gray fathers in one knot,
Did with intentive looks watch every hour
For thy new light, and trembled at each shower!
When thou dost shine, darkness looks white and fair,
Forms turn to music, clouds to smiles and air:
Rain gently spends his honey-drops, and pours
Balm on the cleft earth, milk on grass and flowers.
Bright pledge of peace and sunshine! the sure tie
Of thy Lord's hand, the object of his eye!
When I behold thee, though my light be dim,
Distant, and low, I can in thine see him,
Who looks upon thee from his glorious throne,
And minds the covenant 'twixt all and one.
O foul, deceitful men! my God doth keep
His promise still, but we break ours and sleep.
After the fall the first sin was in blood,
And drunkenness quickly did succeed the flood;
But since Christ died, (as if we did devise
To lose him too, as well as paradise,)
These two grand sins we join and act together,
Though blood and drunkenness make but foul, foul weather.
Water, though both heaven's windows and the deep
Full forty days o'er the drowned world did weep,
Could not reform us, and blood in despite,
Yea, God's own blood, we tread upon and slight.
So those bad daughters, which God saved from fire,
While Sodom yet did smoke, lay with their sire.
Then, peaceful, signal bow, but in a cloud
Still lodged, where all thy unseen arrows shroud;
I will on thee as on a comet look,
A comet, the sad world's ill-boding book;
Thy light as luctual and stained with woes
I'll judge, where penal flames sit mixed and close.
For though some think thou shin'st but to restrain
Bold storms, and simply dost attend on rain;
Yet I know well, and so our sins require,
Thou dost but court cold rain, till rain turns fire.
 Genesis ix. 16.
THE SEED GROWING SECRETLY.
MARK IV. 26.
1 If this world's friends might see but once
What some poor man may often feel,
Glory and gold and crowns and thrones
They would soon quit, and learn to kneel.
2 My dew, my dew! my early love,
My soul's bright food, thy absence kills!
Hover not long, eternal Dove!
Life without thee is loose and spills.
3 Something I had, which long ago
Did learn to suck and sip and taste;
But now grown sickly, sad, and slow,
Doth fret and wrangle, pine and waste.
4 Oh, spread thy sacred wings, and shake
One living drop! one drop life keeps!
If pious griefs heaven's joys awake,
Oh, fill his bottle! thy child weeps!
5 Slowly and sadly doth he grow,
And soon as left shrinks back to ill;
Oh, feed that life, which makes him blow
And spread and open to thy will!
6 For thy eternal, living wells
None stained or withered shall come near:
A fresh, immortal green there dwells,
And spotless white is all the wear.
7 Dear, secret greenness! nursed below
Tempests and winds and winter nights!
Vex not that but One sees thee grow,
That One made all these lesser lights.
8 If those bright joys he singly sheds
On thee, were all met in one crown,
Both sun and stars would hide their heads;
And moons, though full, would get them down.
9 Let glory be their bait whose minds
Are all too high for a low cell:
Though hawks can prey through storms and winds,
The poor bee in her hive must dwell.
10 Glory, the crowd's cheap tinsel, still
To what most takes them is a drudge;
And they too oft take good for ill,
And thriving vice for virtue judge.
11 What needs a conscience calm and bright
Within itself an outward test?
Who breaks his glass to take more light,
Makes way for storms into his rest.
12 Then bless thy secret growth, nor catch
At noise, but thrive unseen and dumb;
Keep clean, bear fruit, earn life, and watch,
Till the white-winged reapers come!
I cannot reach it; and my striving eye
Dazzles at it, as at eternity.
Were now that chronicle alive,
Those white designs which children drive,
And the thoughts of each harmless hour,
With their content too in my power,
Quickly would I make my path even,
And by mere playing go to heaven.
Why should men love
A wolf more than a lamb or dove?
Or choose hell-fire and brimstone streams
Before bright stars and God's own beams?
Who kisseth thorns will hurt his face,
But flowers do both refresh and grace;
And sweetly living (fie on men!)
Are, when dead, medicinal then.
If seeing much should make staid eyes,
And long experience should make wise,
Since all that age doth teach is ill,
Why should I not love childhood still?
Why, if I see a rock or shelf,
Shall I from thence cast down myself,
Or by complying with the world,
From the same precipice be hurled?
Those observations are but foul,
Which make me wise to lose my soul.
And yet the practice worldlings call
Business and weighty action all,
Checking the poor child for his play,
But gravely cast themselves away.
Dear, harmless age! the short, swift span
Where weeping virtue parts with man;
Where love without lust dwells, and bends
What way we please without self-ends.
An age of mysteries! which he
Must live twice that would God's face see;
Which angels guard, and with it play,
Angels! which foul men drive away.
How do I study now, and scan
Thee more than ere I studied man,
And only see through a long night
Thy edges and thy bordering light!
Oh for thy centre and mid-day!
For sure that is the narrow way!
Sad, purple well! whose bubbling eye
Did first against a murderer cry;
Whose streams, still vocal, still complain
Of bloody Cain;
And now at evening are as red
As in the morning when first shed.
If single thou,
Though single voices are but low,
Couldst such a shrill and long cry rear
As speaks still in thy Maker's ear,
What thunders shall those men arraign
Who cannot count those they have slain,
Who bathe not in a shallow flood,
But in a deep, wide sea of blood--
A sea whose loud waves cannot sleep,
But deep still calleth upon deep;
Whose urgent sound, like unto that
Of many waters, beateth at
The everlasting doors above,
Where souls behind the altar move,
And with one strong, incessant cry
Inquire 'How long?' of the Most High?
At whose just laws no just men grudge;
Whose blessed, sweet commands do pour
Comforts and joys and hopes each hour
On those that keep them; oh, accept
Of his vowed heart, whom thou hast kept
From bloody men! and grant I may
That sworn memorial duly pay
To thy bright arm, which was my light
And leader through thick death and night!
Aye may that flood,
That proudly spilt and despised blood,
Speechless and calm as infants sleep!
Or if it watch, forgive and weep
For those that spilt it! May no cries
From the low earth to high heaven rise,
But what, like his whose blood peace brings,
Shall, when they rise, speak better things
Than Abel's doth! May Abel be
Still single heard, while these agree
With his mild blood in voice and will,
Who prayed for those that did him kill!
1 Fair, solitary path! whose blessed shades
The old, white prophets planted first and dressed;
Leaving for us, whose goodness quickly fades,
A shelter all the way, and bowers to rest;
2 Who is the man that walks in thee? who loves
Heaven's secret solitude, those fair abodes,
Where turtles build, and careless sparrows move,
Without to-morrow's evils and future loads?
3 Who hath the upright heart, the single eye,
The clean, pure hand, which never meddled pitch?
Who sees invisibles, and doth comply
With hidden treasures that make truly rich?
4 He that doth seek and love
The things above,
Whose spirit ever poor is, meek, and low;
Who simple still and wise,
Still homeward flies,
Quick to advance, and to retreat most slow.
5 Whose acts, words, and pretence
Have all one sense,
One aim and end; who walks not by his sight;
Whose eyes are both put out,
And goes about
Guided by faith, not by exterior light.
6 Who spills no blood, nor spreads
Thorns in the beds
Of the distressed, hasting their overthrow;
Making the time they had
Bitter and sad,
Like chronic pains, which surely kill, though slow.
7 Who knows earth nothing hath
Worth love or wrath,
But in his Hope and Rock is ever glad.
Who seeks and follows peace,
When with the ease
And health of conscience it is to be had.
8 Who bears his cross with joy,
And doth employ
His heart and tongue in prayers for his foes;
Who lends not to be paid,
And gives full aid
Without that bribe which usurers impose.
9 Who never looks on man
Fearful and wan,
But firmly trusts in God; the great man's measure,
Though high and haughty, must
Be ta'en in dust;
But the good man is God's peculiar treasure.
10 Who doth thus, and doth not
These good deeds blot
With bad, or with neglect; and heaps not wrath
By secret filth, nor feeds
Some snake, or weeds,
Cheating himself--That man walks in this path.
JACOB'S PILLOW AND PILLAR.
I see the temple in thy pillar reared,
And that dread glory which thy children feared,
In mild, clear visions, without a frown,
Unto thy solitary self is shown.
'Tis number makes a schism: throngs are rude,
And God himself died by the multitude.
This made him put on clouds, and fire, and smoke;
Hence he in thunder to thy offspring spoke.
The small, still voice at some low cottage knocks,
But a strong wind must break thy lofty rocks.
The first true worship of the world's great King
From private and selected hearts did spring;
But he most willing to save all mankind,
Enlarged that light, and to the bad was kind.
Hence catholic or universal came
A most fair notion, but a very name.
For this rich pearl, like some more common stone,
When once made public, is esteemed by none.
Man slights his Maker when familiar grown,
And sets up laws to pull his honour down.
This God foresaw: and when slain by the crowd,
Under that stately and mysterious cloud
Which his death scattered, he foretold the place
And form to serve him in should be true grace,
And the meek heart; not in a mount, nor at
Jerusalem, with blood of beasts and fat.
A heart is that dread place, that awful cell,
That secret ark, where the mild Dove doth dwell,
When the proud waters rage: when heathens rule
By God's permission, and man turns a mule,
This little Goshen, in the midst of night
And Satan's seat, in all her coasts hath light;
Yea, Bethel shall have tithes, saith Israel's stone,
And vows and visions, though her foes cry, None.
Thus is the solemn temple sunk again
Into a pillar, and concealed from men.
And glory be to his eternal name,
Who is contented that this holy flame
Shall lodge in such a narrow pit, till he
With his strong arm turns our captivity!
But blessed Jacob, though thy sad distress
Was just the same with ours, and nothing less;
For thou a brother, and bloodthirsty too,
Didst fly, whose children wrought thy children's woe:
Yet thou in all thy solitude and grief,
On stones didst sleep, and found'st but cold relief;
Thou from the Day-star a long way didst stand,
And all that distance was law and command.
But we a healing Sun, by day and night,
Have our sure guardian and our leading light.
What thou didst hope for and believe we find
And feel, a Friend most ready, sure, and kind.
Thy pillow was but type and shade at best,
But we the substance have, and on him rest.
 Obadiah 10; Amos i, 11.
1 Oh, come away,
Make no delay,
Come while my heart is clean and steady!
While faith and grace
Adorn the place,
Making dust and ashes ready!
2 No bliss here lent
Such triumphs poor flesh cannot merit;
Short sips and sights
Who seeks for more he would inherit.
3 Come then, true bread,
Quickening the dead,
Whose eater shall not, cannot die!
On me that state,
Which brings poor dust the victory.
4 Aye victory,
Which from thine eye
Breaks as the day doth from the east,
When the spilt dew
Like tears doth shew
The sad world wept to be released.
5 Spring up, O wine,
And springing shine
With some glad message from his heart,
Who did, when slain,
These means ordain
For me to have in him a part!
6 Such a sure part
In his blest heart,
The well where living waters spring,
That, with it fed,
Poor dust, though dead,
Shall rise again, and live, and sing.
7 O drink and bread,
Which strikes death dead,
The food of man's immortal being!
Under veils here
Thou art my cheer,
Present and sure without my seeing.
8 How dost thou fly
And search and pry
Through all my parts, and, like a quick
And knowing lamp,
Hunt out each damp,
Whose shadow makes me sad or sick!
9 O what high joys!
The turtle's voice
And songs I hear! O quickening showers
Of my Lord's blood,
You make rocks bud,
And crown dry hills with wells and flowers!
10 For this true ease,
This healing peace,
For this [brief] taste of living glory,
My soul and all,
Kneel down and fall,
And sing his sad victorious story!
11 O thorny crown,
More soft than down!
O painful cross, my bed of rest!
O spear, the key
Opening the way!
O thy worst state, my only best!
12 O all thy griefs
Are my reliefs,
As all my sins thy sorrows were!
And what can I,
To this reply?
What, O God! but a silent tear?
13 Some toil and sow
That wealth may flow,
And dress this earth for next year's meat:
But let me heed
Why thou didst bleed,
And what in the next world to eat.
'Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the
Lamb.'--Rev. xix. 9.
With what deep murmurs, through time's silent stealth,
Does thy transparent, cool, and watery wealth
Here flowing fall,
And chide and call,
As if his liquid, loose retinue staid
Lingering, and were of this steep place afraid;
The common pass,
Where, clear as glass,
All must descend,
Not to an end,
But quickened by this deep and rocky grave,
Rise to a longer course more bright and brave.
Dear stream! dear bank! where often I
Have sat, and pleased my pensive eye;
Why, since each drop of thy quick store
Runs thither whence it flowed before,
Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
Who came (sure) from a sea of light?
Or, since those drops are all sent back
So sure to thee that none doth lack,
Why should frail flesh doubt any more
That what God takes he'll not restore?
O useful element and clear!
My sacred wash and cleanser here;
My first consigner unto those
Fountains of life, where the Lamb goes!
What sublime truths and wholesome themes
Lodge in thy mystical, deep streams!
Such as dull man can never find,
Unless that Spirit lead his mind,
Which first upon thy face did move
And hatched all with his quickening love.
As this loud brook's incessant fall
In streaming rings re-stagnates all,
Which reach by course the bank, and then
Are no more seen: just so pass men.
O my invisible estate,
My glorious liberty, still late!
Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
Not this with cataracts and creeks.
DR JOSEPH BEAUMONT.
This writer, though little known, appears to us to stand as high almost
as any name in the present volume, and we are proud to reprint here some
considerable specimens of his magnificent poetry.
Joseph Beaumont was sprung from a collateral branch of the ancient
family of the Beaumonts, that family from which sprung Sir John Beaumont,
the author of 'Bosworth Field,' and Francis Beaumont, the celebrated
dramatist. He was born at Hadleigh, in Suffolk. Of his early life nothing
is known. He received his education at Cambridge, where, during the Civil
War, he was fellow and tutor of Peterhouse. Ejected by the Republicans
from his offices, he retired to Hadleigh, and spent his time in the com-
position of his _magnum opus_, 'Psyche.' This poem appeared in 1648; and
in 1702, three years after the author's death, his son published a second
edition, with numerous corrections, and the addition of four cantos by the
author. Beaumont also wrote several minor pieces in English and Latin, a
controversial tract in reply to Henry More's 'Mystery of Godliness,' and
several theological works which are still in MS., according to a provision
in his will to that effect. Peace and perpetuity to their slumbers!
After the Restoration, our author was not only reinstated in his former
situations, but received from his patron, Bishop Wren, several valuable
pieces of preferment besides. Afterwards, he exercised successively the
offices of Master of Jesus and of Peterhouse, and was King's Professor
of Divinity from 1670 to 1699. In the latter year he died.
While praising the genius of Beaumont, we are far from commending his
'Psyche,' either as an artistic whole, or as a readable book. It is,
sooth to say, a dull allegory, in twenty-four immense cantos, studded
with the rarest beauties. It is considerably longer than the 'Faery
Queen,' nearly four times the length of the 'Paradise Lost,' and five or
six times as long as the 'Excursion.' To read it through now-a-days were
to perform a purgatorial penance. But the imagination and fancy are
Spenserian, his colouring is often Titianesque in gorgeousness, and his
pictures of shadows, abstractions, and all fantastic forms, are so
forcible as to seem to start from the canvas. In painting the beautiful,
his verse becomes careless and flowing as a loosened zone; in painting
the frightful and the infernal, his language, like his feeling, seems to
curdle and stiffen in horror, as where, speaking of Satan, he says--
'His tawny teeth
Were ragged grown, by endless _gnashing at
The dismal riddle of his living death._'
The 'Psyche' may be compared to a palace of Fairyland, where successive
doors fly open to the visitor--one revealing a banqueting-room filled
with the materials of exuberant mirth; another, an enchanted garden,
with streams stealing from grottos, and nymphs gliding through groves;
a third conducting you to a dungeon full of dead men's bones and all
uncleanness; a fourth, to a pit which seems the mouth of hell, and
whence cries of torture come up, shaking the smoke that ascendeth up for
ever and ever; and a fifth, to the open roof, over which the stars are
seen bending, and the far-off heavens are opening in glory; and of these
doors there is no end. We saw, when lately in Copenhagen, the famous
tower of the Trinity Church, remarkable for the grand view commanded
from the summit, and for the broad spiral ascent winding within it
almost to the top, up which it is said Peter the Great, in 1716, used to
drive himself and his Empress in a coach-and-four. It was curious to
feel ourselves ascending on a path nearly level, and without the
slightest perspiration or fatigue; and here, we thought, is the
desiderated 'royal road' to difficulties fairly found. Large poems
should be constructed on the same principle; their quiet, broad interest
should beguile their readers alike to their length and their loftiness.
It is exactly the reverse with 'Psyche.' But if any reader is wearied of
some of the extracts we have given, such as his verses on 'Eve,' on
'Paradise,' on 'End,' on 'The Death of his Wife,' and on 'Imperial
Rome,' we shall be very much disposed to question his capacity for
appreciating true poetry.
1 Hell's court is built deep in a gloomy vale,
High walled with strong damnation, moated round
With flaming brimstone: full against the hall
Roars a burnt bridge of brass: the yards abound
With all envenomed herbs and trees, more rank
And fruitless than on Asphaltite's bank.
2 The gate, where Fire and Smoke the porters be,
Stands always ope with gaping greedy jaws.
Hither flocked all the states of misery;
As younger snakes, when their old serpent draws
Them by a summoning hiss, haste down her throat
Of patent poison their awed selves to shoot.
3 The hall was roofed with everlasting pride,
Deep paved with despair, checkered with spite,
And hanged round with torments far and wide:
The front displayed a goodly-dreadful sight,
Great Satan's arms stamped on an iron shield,
A crowned dragon, gules, in sable field.
4 There on's immortal throne of death they see
Their mounted lord; whose left hand proudly held
His globe, (for all the world he claims to be
His proper realm,) whose bloody right did wield
His mace, on which ten thousand serpents knit,
With restless madness gnawed themselves and it.
5 His awful horns above his crown did rise,
And force his fiends to shrink in theirs: his face
Was triply-plated impudence: his eyes
Were hell reflected in a double glass,
Two comets staring in their bloody stream,
Two beacons boiling in their pitch and flame.
6 His mouth in breadth vied with his palace gate
And conquered it in soot: his tawny teeth
Were ragged grown, by endless gnashing at
The dismal riddle of his living death:
His grizzly beard a singed confession made
What fiery breath through his black lips did trade.
7 Which as he oped, the centre, on whose back
His chair of ever-fretting pain was set,
Frighted beside itself, began to quake:
Throughout all hell the barking hydras shut
Their awed mouths: the silent peers, in fear,
Hung down their tails, and on their lord did stare.
1 When this last night had sealed up mine eyes,
And opened heaven's, whose countenance now was clear,
And trimmed with every star; on his soft wing
A nimble vision me did thither bring.
2 Quite through the storehouse of the air I passed
Where choice of every weather treasured lies:
Here, rain is bottled up; there, hail is cast
In candied heaps: here, banks of snow do rise;
There, furnaces of lightning burn, and those
Long-bearded stars which light us to our woes.
3 Hence towered I to a dainty world: the air
Was sweet and calm, and in my memory
Waked my serener mother's looks: this fair
Canaan now fled from my discerning eye;
The earth was shrunk so small, methought I read,
By that due prospect, what it was indeed.
4 But then, arriving at an orb whose flames,
Like an unbounded ocean, flowed about,
Fool as I was, I quaked; till its kind beams
Gave me a harmless kiss. I little thought
Fire could have been so mild; but surely here
It rageth, 'cause we keep it from its sphere.
5 There, reverend sire, it flamed, but with as sweet
An ardency as in your noble heart
That heavenly zeal doth burn, whose fostering heat
Makes you Heaven's living holocaust: no part
Of my dream's tender wing felt any harm;
Our journey, not the fire, did keep us warm.
6 But here my guide, his wings' soft oars to spare,
On the moon's lower horn clasped hold, and whirled
Me up into a region as far,
In splendid worth, surmounting this low world
As in its place: for liquid crystal here
Was the tralucid matter of each sphere.
7 The moon was kind, and, as we scoured by,
Showed us the deed whereby the great Creator
Instated her in that large monarchy
She holdeth over all the ocean's water:
To which a schedule was annexed, which o'er
All other humid bodies gives her power.
8 Now complimental Mercury was come
To the quaint margin of his courtly sphere,
And bid us eloquent welcome to his home.
Scarce could we pass, so great a crowd was there
Of points and lines; and nimble Wit beside
Upon the back of thousand shapes did ride.
9 Next Venus' face, heaven's joy and sweetest pride,
(Which brought again my mother to my mind,)
Into her region lured my ravished guide.
This strewed with youth, and smiles, and love we find;
And those all chaste: 'tis this foul world below
Adulterates what from thence doth spotless flow.
10 Then rapt to Phoebus' orb, all paved with gold,
The rich reflection of his own aspect:
Most gladly there I would have stayed, and told
How many crowns and thorns his dwelling decked,
What life, what verdure, what heroic might,
What pearly spirits, what sons of active light.
11 But I was hurried into Mars his sphere,
Where Envy, (oh, how cursed was its grim face!)
And Jealousy, and Fear, and Wrath, and War
Quarrelled, although in heaven, about their place.
Yea, engines there to vomit fire I saw,
Whose flame and thunder earth at length must know.
12 Nay, in a corner, 'twas my hap to spy
Something which looked but frowardly on me:
And sure my watchful guide read in mine eye
My musing troubled sense; for straightway he,
Lest I should start and wake upon the fright,
Speeded from thence his seasonable flight.
13 Welcome was Jupiter's dominion, where
Illustrious Mildness round about did flow;
Religion had built her temple there,
And sacred honours on its walks did grow:
No mitre ever priest's grave head shall crown,
Which in those mystic gardens was not sown.
14 At length, we found old Saturn in his bed;
And much I wondered how, and he so dull,
Could climb thus high: his house was lumpish lead,
Of dark and solitary comers full;
Where Discontent and Sickness dwellers be,
Damned Melancholy and dead Lethargy.
15 Hasting from hence into a boundless field,
Innumerable stars we marshalled found
In fair array: this earth did never yield
Such choice of flowery pride, when she had crowned
The plains of Shechem, where the gaudy Spring
Smiles on the beauties of each verdant thing.
1 Within, rose hills of spice and frankincense,
Which smiled upon the flowery vales below,
Where living crystal found a sweet pretence
With musical impatience to flow,
And delicately chide the gems beneath
Because no smoother they had paved its path.
2 The nymphs which sported on this current's side
Were milky Thoughts, tralucid, pure Desires,
Soft turtles' Kisses, Looks of virgin brides,
Sweet Coolness which nor needs nor feareth fires,
Snowy Embraces, cheerly-sober Eyes,
Gentleness, Mildness, Ingenuities.
3 The early gales knocked gently at the door
Of every flower, to bid the odours wake;
Which, catching in their softest arms, they bore
From bed to bed, and so returned them back
To their own lodgings, doubled by the blisses
They sipped from their delicious brethren's kisses.
4 Upon the wings of those enamouring breaths
Refreshment, vigour, nimbleness attended;
Which, wheresoe'er they flew, cheered up their paths,
And with fresh airs of life all things befriended:
For Heaven's sweet Spirit deigned his breath to join
And make the powers of these blasts divine.
5 The goodly trees' bent arms their nobler load
Of fruit which blest oppression overbore:
That orchard where the dragon warder stood,
For all its golden boughs, to this was poor,
To this, in which the greater serpent lay,
Though not to guard the trees, but to betray.
6 Of fortitude there rose a stately row;
Here, of munificence a thickset grove;
There, of wise industry a quickset grew;
Here, flourished a dainty copse of love;
There, sprang up pleasant twigs of ready wit;
Here, larger trees of gravity were set,
7 Here, temperance; and wide-spread justice there,
Under whose sheltering shadow piety,
Devotion, mildness, friendship planted were;
Next stood renown with head exalted high;
Then twined together plenty, fatness, peace.
O blessed place, where grew such things as these!
1 Her spacious, polished forehead was the fair
And lovely plain where gentle majesty
Walked in delicious state: her temples clear
Pomegranate fragments, which rejoiced to lie
In dainty ambush, and peep through their cover
Of amber-locks whose volume curled over.
2 The fuller stream of her luxuriant hair
Poured down itself upon her ivory back:
In which soft flood ten thousand graces were
Sporting and dallying with every lock;
The rival winds for kisses fell to fight,
And raised a ruffling tempest of delight.
3 Two princely arches, of most equal measures,
Held up the canopy above her eyes,
And opened to the heavens far richer treasures,
Than with their stars or sun e'er learn'd to rise:
Those beams can ravish but the body's sight,
These dazzle stoutest souls with mystic light.
4 Two garrisons were these of conquering love;
Two founts of life, of spirit, of joy, of grace;
Two easts in one fair heaven, no more above,
But in the hemisphere of her own face;
Two thrones of gallantry; two shops of miracles;
Two shrines of deities; two silent oracles.
5 For silence here could eloquently plead;
Here might the unseen soul be clearly read:
Though gentle humours their mild mixture made,
They proved a double burning-glass which shed
Those living flames which, with enlivening darts,
Shoot deaths of love into spectators' hearts.
6 'Twixt these, an alabaster promontory
Sloped gently down to part each cheek from other;
Where white and red strove for the fairer glory,
Blending in sweet confusion together.
The rose and lily never joined were
In so divine a marriage as there.
7 Couchant upon these precious cushionets
Were thousand beauties, and as many smiles,
Chaste blandishments, and modest cooling heats,
Harmless temptations, and honest guiles.
For heaven, though up betimes the maid to deck,
Ne'er made Aurora's cheeks so fair and sleek.
8 Enamouring neatness, softness, pleasure, at
Her gracious mouth in full retinue stood;
For, next the eyes' bright glass, the soul at that
Takes most delight to look and walk abroad.
But at her lips two threads of scarlet lay,
Or two warm corals, to adorn the way,--
9 The precious way whereby her breath and tongue,
Her odours and her honey, travelled,
Which nicest critics would have judged among
Arabian or Hyblaean mountains bred.
Indeed, the richer Araby in her
Dear mouth and sweeter Hybla dwelling were.
10 More gracefully its golden chapiter
No column of white marble e'er sustained
Than her round polished neck supported her
Illustrious head, which there in triumph reigned.
Yet neither would this pillar hardness know,
Nor suffer cold to dwell amongst its snow.
11 Her blessed bosom moderately rose
With two soft mounts of lilies, whose fair top
A pair of pretty sister cherries chose,
And there their living crimson lifted up.
The milky countenance of the hills confessed
What kind of springs within had made their nest.
12 So leggiadrous were her snowy hands
That pleasure moved as any finger stirred:
Her virgin waxen arms were precious bands
And chains of love: her waist itself did gird
With its own graceful slenderness, and tie
Up delicacy's best epitome.
13 Fair politure walked all her body over,
And symmetry rejoiced in every part;
Soft and white sweetness was her native cover,
From every member beauty shot a dart:
From heaven to earth, from head to foot I mean,
No blemish could by envy's self be seen.
14 This was the first-born queen of gallantry;
All gems compounded into one rich stone,
All sweets knit into one conspiracy;
A constellation of all stars in one;
Who, when she was presented to their view,
Both paradise and nature dazzled grew.
15 Phoebus, who rode in glorious scorn's career
About the world, no sooner spied her face,
But fain he would have lingered, from his sphere
On this, though less, yet sweeter, heaven, to gaze
Till shame enforced him to lash on again,
And clearer wash him in the western main.
16 The smiling air was tickled with his high
Prerogative of uncontrolled bliss,
Embracing with entirest liberty
A body soft, and sweet, and chaste as his.
All odorous gales that had but strength to stir
Came flocking in to beg perfumes of her.
17 The marigold her garish love forgot,
And turned her homage to these fairer eyes;
All flowers looked up, and dutifully shot
Their wonder hither, whence they saw arise
Unparching courteous lustre, which instead
Of fire, soft joy's irradiations spread.
18 The sturdiest trees, affected by her dear
Delightful presence, could not choose but melt
At their hard pith; whilst all the birds whose clear
Pipes tossed mirth about the branches, felt
The influence of her looks; for having let
Their song fall down, their eyes on her they set.
TO THE MEMORY OF HIS WIFE.
1 Sweet soul, how goodly was the temple which
Heaven pleased to make thy earthly habitation!
Built all of graceful delicacy, rich
In symmetry, and of a dangerous fashion
For youthful eyes, had not the saint within
Governed the charms of her enamouring shrine.
2 How happily compendious didst thou make
My study when I was the lines to draw
Of genuine beauty! never put to take
Long journeys was my fancy; still I saw
At home my copy, and I knew 'twould be
But beauty's wrong further to seek than thee.
3 Full little knew the world (for I as yet
In studied silence hugged my secret bliss)
How facile was my Muse's task, when set
Virtue's and grace's features to express!
For whilst accomplished thou wert in my sight
I nothing had to do, but look and write.
4 How sadly parted are those words; since I
Must now be writing, but no more can look!
Yet in my heart thy precious memory,
So deep is graved, that from this faithful book,
Truly transcribed, thy character shall shine;
Nor shall thy death devour what was divine.
5 Hear then, O all soft-hearted turtles, hear
What you alone profoundly will resent:
A bird of your pure feather 'tis whom here
Her desolate mate remaineth to lament,
Whilst she is flown to meet her dearer love,
And sing among the winged choir above.
6 Twelve times the glorious sovereign of day
Had made his progress, and in every inn
Whose golden signs through all his radiant way
So high are hung, as often lodged been,
Since in the sacred knot this noble she
Deigned to be tied to (then how happy) me.
7 Tied, tied we were so intimately, that
We straight were sweetly lost in one another.
Thus when two notes in music's wedlock knit,
They in one concord blended are together:
For nothing now our life but music was;
Her soul the treble made, and mine the base.
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