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Specimens with Memoirs of the Less-known British Poets, Vol. 2 by George Gilfillan

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I never ate better meat, that I can tell;
When having half dined, there comes in my host,
A catholic good, and a rare drunken toast;
This man, by his drinking, inflamed the scot,
And told me strange stories, which I have forgot;
But this I remember, 'twas much on's own life,
And one thing, that he had converted his wife.

But now my guide told me, it time was to go,
For that to our beds we must both ride and row;
Wherefore calling to pay, and having accounted,
I soon was down-stairs, and as suddenly mounted:
On then we travelled, our guide still before,
Sometimes on three legs, and sometimes on four,
Coasting the sea, and over hills crawling,
Sometimes on all four, for fear we should fall in;
For underneath Neptune lay skulking to watch us,
And, had we but slipped once, was ready to catch us.
Thus in places of danger taking more heed,
And in safer travelling mending our speed:
Redland Castle and Abergoney we past,
And o'er against Connoway came at the last:
Just over against a castle there stood,
O' th' right hand the town, and o' th' left hand a wood;
'Twixt the wood and the castle they see at high water
The storm, the place makes it a dangerous matter;
And besides, upon such a steep rock it is founded,
As would break a man's neck, should he'scape being drowned:
Perhaps though in time one may make them to yield,
But 'tis prettiest Cob-castle e'er I beheld.

The sun now was going t' unharness his steeds,
When the ferry-boat brasking her sides 'gainst the weeds,
Came in as good time as good time could be,
To give us a cast o'er an arm of the sea;
And bestowing our horses before and abaft,
O'er god Neptune's wide cod-piece gave us a waft;
Where scurvily landing at foot of the fort,
Within very few paces we entered the port,
Where another King's Head invited me down,
For indeed I have ever been true to the crown.


This eminent man was the son of a gentleman of good family and estate
in Grantham, Lincolnshire. He was born in 1614. His father sent him to
study at Eton, and thence, in 1631, he repaired to Cambridge, where he
was destined to spend the most of his life. Philosophy attracted him
early, in preference to science or literature, and he became a follower
of Plato, so decided and enthusiastic as to gain for himself the title
of 'The Platonist' _par excellence_. In 1639, he graduated M.A.; and the
next year, he published the first part of 'Psychozoia; or, The Song of
the Soul,' containing a Christiano-Platonical account of Man and Life.
In preparing the materials of this poem, he had studied all the
principal Platonists and mystical writers, and is said to have read
himself almost to a shadow. And not only was his body emaciated, but
his mind was so overstrung, that he imagined himself to see spiritual
beings, to hear supernatural voices, and to converse, like Socrates,
with a particular genius. He thought, too, that his body 'exhaled the
perfume of violets!' Notwithstanding these little peculiarities, his
genius and his learning, the simplicity of his character, and the
innocence of his life, rendered him a general favourite; he was made
a fellow of his college, and became a tutor to various persons of
distinguished rank. One of these was Sir John Finch, whose sister, Lady
Conway, an enthusiast herself, brought More acquainted with the famous
John Baptist Van Helment, a man after whom, in the beginning of the
seventeenth century, the whole of Europe wondered. He was a follower and
imitator of Paracelsus, like him affected universal knowledge, aspired
to revolutionise the science of medicine, and died with the reputation
of one who, with great powers and acquirements, instead of becoming a
great man, ended as a brilliant pretender, and was rather an 'architect
of ruin' to the systems of others, than the founder of a solid fabric of
his own. More admired, of course, not the quackery, but the adventurous
boldness of Helment's genius, and his devotion to chemistry; which is
certainly the most spiritual of all the sciences, and must, especially
in its transcendental forms, have had a great charm for a Platonic
thinker. Our author was entirely devoted to study, and resisted every
inducement to leave what he called his 'Paradise' at Cambridge. His
friends once tried to decoy him into a bishopric, and got him the length
of Whitehall to kiss the king's hand on the occasion; but when he
understood their purpose, he refused to go a single step further. His
life was a long, learned, happy, and holy dream. He was of the most
benevolent disposition; and once observed to a friend, 'that he was
thought by some to have a soft head, but he thanked God he had a soft
heart.' In the heat of the Rebellion, the Republicans spared More,
although he had refused to take the Covenant. Campbell says of him,
'He corresponded with Descartes, was the friend of Cudworth, and, as a
divine and a moralist, was not only popular in his own time, but has
been mentioned with admiration both by Addison and Blair.' One is rather
amused at the latter clause. That a man of More's massive learning,
noble eloquence, and divine genius should need the testimony of a mere
elegant wordmonger like Blair, seems ludicrous enough; and Addison
himself, except in wit and humour, was not worthy to have untied the
shoelatchets of the old Platonist. We were first introduced to this
writer by good Dr John Brown, late of Broughton Place, Edinburgh, and
shall never forget hearing him, in his library, read some splendid
passages from More's work, in those deep, mellow, antique tones which
flavoured whatever he read, like the crust on old wine. His chief works
are, 'A Discourse on the Immortality of the Soul,' 'The Mystery of
Godliness,' 'The Mystery of Iniquity,' 'Divine Dialogues,' 'An Antidote
against Atheism,' 'Ethical and Metaphysical Manuals,' &c. In writing
such books, and pursuing the recondite studies of which they were the
fruit, More spent his life happily. In 1661, he became a Fellow of
the Royal Society. For twenty years after the Restoration, his works
are said to have sold better than any of their day--a curious and
unaccountable fact, considering the levity and licentiousness of the
period. In September 1687, the fine old spiritualist, aged seventy-
three, went away to that land of 'ideas' to which his heart had been
translated long before.

More's prose writings give us, on the whole, a higher idea of his powers
than his poem. This is not exactly, as a recent critic calls it, 'dull
and tedious,' but it is in some parts prosaic, and in others obscure.
The gleams of fancy in it are genuine, but few and far between. But his
prose works constitute, like those of Cudworth, Charnock, Jeremy Taylor,
and John Scott, a vast old quarry, abounding both in blocks and in gems
--blocks of granite solidity, and gems of starry lustre. The peculiarity
of More is in that poetico-philosophic mist which, like the autumnal
gossamer, hangs in light and beautiful festoons over his thoughts, and
which suggests pleasing memories of Plato and the Alexandrian school.
Like all the followers of the Grecian sage, he dwells in a region of
'ideas,' which are to him the only realities, and are not cold, but
warm; he sees all things in Divine solution; the visible is lost in the
invisible, and nature retires before her God. Surely they are splendid
reveries those of the Platonic school; but it is sad to reflect that
they have not cast the slightest gleam of light on the dark, frightful,
faith-shattering mysteries which perplex all inquirers. The old shadows
of sin, death, damnation, evil, and hell, are found to darken the 'ideas'
of Plato's world quite as deeply as they do the actualities of this weary,
work-day earth, into which men have, for some inscrutable purpose, been
sent to be, on the whole, miserable,--so often to toil without compen-
sation, to suffer without benefit, and to hope without fulfilment.


1 Whatever man he be that dares to deem
True poets' skill to spring of earthly race,
I must him tell, that he doth mis-esteem
Their strange estate, and eke himself disgrace
By his rude ignorance. For there's no place
For forced labour, or slow industry,
Of flagging wits, in that high fiery chase;
So soon as of the Muse they quickened be,
At once they rise, and lively sing like lark in sky.

2 Like to a meteor, whose material
Is low unwieldy earth, base unctuous slime,
Whose inward hidden parts ethereal
Lie close upwrapt in that dull sluggish fime,
Lie fast asleep, till at some fatal time
Great Phoebus' lamp has fired its inward sprite,
And then even of itself on high doth climb:
That erst was dark becomes all eye, all sight,
Bright star, that to the wise of future things gives light.

3 Even so the weaker mind, that languid lies,
Knit up in rags of dirt, dark, cold, and blind,
So soon that purer flame of love unties
Her clogging chains, and doth her sprite unbind,
She soars aloft; for she herself doth find
Well plumed; so raised upon her spreaden wing,
She softly plays, and warbles in the wind,
And carols out her inward life and spring
Of overflowing joy, and of pure love doth sing.


1 Hence, hence, unhallowed ears, arid hearts more hard
Than winter clods fast froze with northern wind,
But most of all, foul tongue! I thee discard,
That blamest all that thy dark straitened mind
Cannot conceive: but that no blame thou find;
Whate'er my pregnant muse brings forth to light,
She'll not acknowledge to be of her kind,
Till eagle-like she turn them to the sight
Of the eternal Word, all decked with glory bright.

2 Strange sights do straggle in my restless thoughts,
And lively forms with orient colours clad
Walk in my boundless mind, as men ybrought
Into some spacious room, who when they've had
A turn or two, go out, although unbade.
All these I see and know, but entertain
None to my friend but who's most sober sad;
Although, the time my roof doth them contain
Their presence doth possess me till they out again.

3 And thus possessed, in silver trump I sound
Their guise, their shape, their gesture, and array;
But as in silver trumpet nought is found
When once the piercing sound is passed away,
(Though while the mighty blast therein did stay,
Its tearing noise so terribly did shrill,
That it the heavens did shake, and earth dismay,)
As empty I of what my flowing quill
In needless haste elsewhere, or here, may hap to spill.

4 For 'tis of force, and not of a set will,
Nor dare my wary mind afford assent
To what is placed above all mortal skill;
But yet, our various thoughts to represent,
Each gentle wight will deem of good intent.
Wherefore, with leave the infinity I'll sing
Of time, of space; or without leave; I'm brent
With eager rage, my heart for joy doth spring,
And all my spirits move with pleasant trembeling.

5 An inward triumph doth my soul upheave
And spread abroad through endless 'spersed air.
My nimble mind this clammy clod doth leave,
And lightly stepping on from star to star
Swifter than lightning, passeth wide and far,
Measuring the unbounded heavens and wasteful sky;
Nor aught she finds her passage to debar,
For still the azure orb as she draws nigh
Gives back, new stars appear, the world's walls 'fore her fly.


1 As the seas,
Boiling with swelling waves, aloft did rise,
And met with mighty showers and pouring rain
From heaven's spouts; so the broad flashing skies,
With brimstone thick and clouds of fiery bane,
Shall meet with raging Etna's and Vesuvius' flame.

2 The burning bowels of this wasting ball
Shall gallup up great flakes of rolling fire,
And belch out pitchy flames, till over all
Having long raged, Vulcan himself shall tire,
And (the earth an ash-heap made) shall then expire:
Here Nature, laid asleep in her own urn,
With gentle rest right easily will respire,
Till to her pristine task she do return
As fresh as Phoenix young under the Arabian morn.

3 Oh, happy they that then the first are born,
While yet the world is in her vernal pride;
For old corruption quite away is worn,
As metal pure so is her mould well tried.
Sweet dews, cool-breathing airs, and spaces wide
Of precious spicery, wafted with soft wind:
Fair comely bodies goodly beautified.

4 For all the while her purged ashes rest,
These relics dry suck in the heavenly dew,
And roscid manna rains upon her breast,
And fills with sacred milk, sweet, fresh, and new,
Where all take life and doth the world renew;
And then renewed with pleasure be yfed.
A green, soft mantle doth her bosom strew
With fragrant herbs and flowers embellished,
Where without fault or shame all living creatures bed.


1 Then the wild fancy from her horrid womb
Will senden forth foul shapes. O dreadful sight!
Overgrown toads, fierce serpents, thence will come,
Red-scaled dragons, with deep burning light
In their hollow eye-pits: with these she must fight:
Then think herself ill wounded, sorely stung.
Old fulsome hags, with scabs and scurf bedight,
Foul tarry spittle tumbling with their tongue
On their raw leather lips, these near will to her clung,

2 And lovingly salute against her will,
Closely embrace, and make her mad with woe:
She'd lever thousand times they did her kill,
Than force her such vile baseness undergo.
Anon some giant his huge self will show,
Gaping with mouth as vast as any cave,
With stony, staring eyes, and footing slow:
She surely deems him her live, walking grave,
From that dern hollow pit knows not herself to save.

3 After a while, tossed on the ocean main,
A boundless sea she finds of misery;
The fiery snorts of the leviathan,
That makes the boiling waves before him fly,
She hears, she sees his blazing morn-bright eye:
If here she 'scape, deep gulfs and threatening rocks
Her frighted self do straightway terrify;
Steel-coloured clouds with rattling thunder knocks,
With these she is amazed, and thousand such-like mocks.


1 Like to a light fast locked in lantern dark,
Whereby by night our wary steps we guide
In slabby streets, and dirty channels mark,
Some weaker rays through the black top do glide,
And flusher streams perhaps from horny side.
But when we've passed the peril of the way,
Arrived at home, and laid that case aside,
The naked light how clearly doth it ray,
And spread its joyful beams as bright as summer's day.

2 Even so, the soul, in this contracted state,
Confined to these strait instruments of sense,
More dull and narrowly doth operate.
At this hole hears, the sight must ray from thence,
Here tastes, there smells; but when she's gone from hence,
Like naked lamp, she is one shining sphere,
And round about has perfect cognoscence
Whate'er in her horizon doth appear:
She is one orb of sense, all eye, all airy ear.


Chamberlayne was, during life, a poor man, and, till long after his
death, an unappreciated poet. He was a physician at Shaftesbury,
Dorsetshire; born in 1619, and died in 1689. He appears to have been
present among the Royalists at the battle of Newbury. He complains
bitterly of his narrow circumstances, and yet he lived to a long age.
He published, in 1658, a tragic comedy, entitled 'Love's Victory,' and
in 1659, 'Pharonnida,' a heroic poem.

The latter is the main support of his literary reputation. It was
discovered to be good by Thomas Campbell, who might say,

'I was the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.'

Silent, however, it continues since, and can never be expected to be
thronged by visitors. The story is interesting, and many of the separate
thoughts, expressions, and passages are beautiful, as, for instance--

'The scholar stews his catholic brains for food;'

and this--

'Harsh poverty,
That moth which frets the sacred robe of wit;'

but the style is often elliptical and involved; the story meanders too
much, and is too long and intricate; and, on the whole, a few mutilated
fragments are all that are likely to remain of an original and highly
elaborate poem.


* * The Turks had ought
Made desperate onslaughts on the isle, but brought
Nought back but wounds and infamy; but now,
Wearied with toil, they are resolved to bow
Their stubborn resolutions with the strength
Of not-to-be-resisted want: the length
Of the chronical disease extended had
To some few months, since to oppress the sad
But constant islanders, the army lay,
Circling their confines. Whilst this tedious stay
From battle rusts the soldier's valour in
His tainted cabin, there had often been,
With all variety of fortune, fought
Brave single combats, whose success had brought
Honour's unwithered laurels on the brow
Of either party; but the balance, now
Forced by the hand of a brave Turk, inclined
Wholly to them. Thrice had his valour shined
In victory's refulgent rays, thrice heard
The shouts of conquest; thrice on his lance appeared
The heads of noble Rhodians, which had struck
A general sorrow 'mongst the knights. All look
Who next the lists should enter; each desires
The task were his, but honour now requires
A spirit more than vulgar, or she dies
The next attempt, their valour's sacrifice;
To prop whose ruins, chosen by the free
Consent of all, Argalia comes to be
Their happy champion. Truce proclaimed, until
The combat ends, the expecting people fill
The spacious battlements; the Turks forsake
Their tents, of whom the city ladies take
A dreadful view, till a more noble sight
Diverts their looks; each part behold their knight
With various wishes, whilst in blood and sweat
They toil for victory. The conflict's heat
Raged in their veins, which honour more inflamed
Than burning calentures could do; both blamed
The feeble influence of their stars, that gave
No speedier conquest; each neglects to save
Himself, to seek advantage to offend
His eager foe * * * *
* * * But now so long
The Turks' proud champion had endured the strong
Assaults of the stout Christian, till his strength
Cooled, on the ground, with his blood--he fell at length,
Beneath his conquering sword. The barbarous crew
O' the villains that did at a distance view
Their champion's fall, all bands of truce forgot,
Running to succour him, begin a hot
And desperate combat with those knights that stand
To aid Argalia, by whose conquering hand
Whole squadrons of them fall, but here he spent
His mighty spirit in vain, their cannons rent
His scattered troops.

* * * * *

Argalia lies in chains, ordained to die
A sacrifice unto the cruelty
Of the fierce bashaw, whose loved favourite in
The combat late he slew; yet had not been
In that so much unhappy, had not he
That honoured then his sword with victory,
Half-brother to Janusa been, a bright
But cruel lady, whose refined delight
Her slave (though husband), Ammurat, durst not
Ruffle with discontent; wherefore, to cool that hot
Contention of her blood, which he foresaw
That heavy news would from her anger draw,
To quench with the brave Christian's death, he sent
Him living to her, that her anger, spent
In flaming torments, might not settle in
The dregs of discontent. Staying to win
Some Rhodian castles, all the prisoners were
Sent with a guard into Sardinia, there
To meet their wretched thraldom. From the rest
Argalia severed, soon hopes to be bless'd
With speedy death, though waited on by all
The hell-instructed torments that could fall
Within invention's reach; but he's not yet
Arrived to his period, his unmoved stars sit
Thus in their orbs secured. It was the use
Of the Turkish pride, which triumphs in the abuse
Of suffering Christians, once, before they take
The ornaments of nature off, to make
Their prisoners public to the view, that all
Might mock their miseries: this sight did call
Janusa to her palace-window, where,
Whilst she beholds them, love resolved to bear
Her ruin on her treacherous eye-beams, till
Her heart infected grew; their orbs did fill,
As the most pleasing object, with the sight
Of him whose sword opened a way for the flight
Of her loved brother's soul.


Vaughan was torn in Wales, on the banks of the Uske, in Brecknockshire,
in 1614. His father was a gentleman, but, we presume, poor, as his son
was bred to a profession. Young Vaughan became first a lawyer, and then
a physician; and we suppose, had it not been for his advanced life, he
would have become latterly a clergyman, since he grew, when old,
exceedingly devout. In life, he was not fortunate, and we find him, like
Chamberlayne, complaining bitterly of the poverty of the poetical tribe.
In 1651, he published a volume of verse, in which nascent excellence
struggles with dim obscurities, like a young moon with heavy clouds. But
his 'Silex Scintillans,' or 'Sacred Poems,' produced in later life,
attests at once the depth of his devotion, and the truth and originality
of his genius. He died in 1695.

Campbell, always prone to be rather severe on pious poets, and whose
taste, too, was finical at times, says of Vaughan--'He is one of the
harshest even of the inferior order of the school of conceit; but he has
some few scattered thoughts that meet the eye amidst his harsh pages,
like wild flowers on a barren heath.' Surely this is rather 'harsh'
judgment. At the same time, it is not a little laughable to find that
Campbell has himself appropriated one of these 'wild flowers.' In his
beautiful 'Rainbow,' he cries--

'How came the world's gray fathers forth
To mark thy sacred sign!'

Vaughan had said--

'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!'

Indeed, all Campbell's 'Rainbow' is just a reflection of Vaughan's, and
reminds you of those faint, pale shadows of the heavenly bow you
sometimes see in the darkened and disarranged skies of spring. To steal
from, and then strike down the victim, is more suitable to robbers than
to poets.

Perhaps the best criticism on Vaughan may be found in the title of his
own poems, 'Silex Scintillans.' He had a good deal of the dulness and
hardness of the flint about his mind, but the influence of poverty and
suffering,--for true it is that

'Wretched men
Are cradled into poetry by wrong;
They learn in suffering what they teach in song,'--

and latterly the power of a genuine, though somewhat narrow piety,
struck out glorious scintillations from the bare but rich rock. He ranks
with Crashaw, Quarles, and Herbert, as one of the best of our early
religious poets; like them in their faults, and superior to all of them
in refinement and beauty, if not in strength of genius.


Where are you, shoreless thoughts, vast-tentered[1] hope,
Ambitious dreams, aims of an endless scope,
Whose stretched excess runs on a string too high,
And on the rack of self-extension die?
Chameleons of state, air-mongering[2] band,
Whose breath, like gunpowder, blows up a land,
Come, see your dissolution, and weigh
What a loathed nothing you shall be one day.
As the elements by circulation pass
From one to the other, and that which first was
Is so again, so 'tis with you. The grave
And nature but complete: what the one gave,
The other takes. Think, then, that in this bed
There sleep the relics of as proud a head,
As stern and subtle as your own; that hath
Performed or forced as much; whose tempest-wrath
Hath levelled kings with slaves; and wisely, then,
Calm these high furies, and descend to men.
Thus Cyrus tamed the Macedon; a tomb
Checked him who thought the world too strait a room.
Have I obeyed the powers of a face,
A beauty, able to undo the race
Of easy man? I look but here, and straight
I am informed; the lovely counterfeit
Was but a smoother clay. That famished slave,
Beggared by wealth, who starves that he may save,
Brings hither but his sheet. Nay, the ostrich-man,
That feeds on steel and bullet, he that can
Outswear his lordship, and reply as tough
To a kind word, as if his tongue were buff,
Is chapfallen here: worms, without wit or fear,
Defy him now; death has disarmed the bear.
Thus could I run o'er all the piteous score
Of erring men, and having done, meet more.
Their shuffled wills, abortive, vain intents,
Fantastic humours, perilous ascents,
False, empty honours, traitorous delights,
And whatsoe'er a blind conceit invites,--
But these, and more, which the weak vermins swell,
Are couched in this accumulative cell,
Which I could scatter; but the grudging sun
Calls home his beams, and warns me to be gone:
Day leaves me in a double night, and I
Must bid farewell to my sad library,
Yet with these notes. Henceforth with thought of thee
I'll season all succeeding jollity,
Yet damn not mirth, nor think too much is fit:
Excess hath no religion, nor wit;
But should wild blood swell to a lawless strain,
One check from thee shall channel it again.

[1] Vast-tentered: extended.
[2] Air-mongering: dealing in air or unsubstantial visions.


I've read thy soul's fair night-piece, and have seen
The amours and courtship of the silent queen;
Her stolen descents to earth, and what did move her
To juggle first with heaven, then with a lover;
With Latmos' louder rescue, and, alas!
To find her out, a hue and cry in brass;
Thy journal of deep mysteries, and sad
Nocturnal pilgrimage; with thy dreams, clad
In fancies darker than thy cave; thy glass
Of sleepy draughts; and as thy soul did pass
In her calm voyage, what discourse she heard
Of spirits; what dark groves and ill-shaped guard
Ismena led thee through; with thy proud flight
O'er Periardes, and deep-musing night
Near fair Eurotas' banks; what solemn green
The neighbour shades wear; and what forms are seen
In their large bowers; with that sad path and seat
Which none but light-heeled nymphs and fairies beat,
Their solitary life, and how exempt
From common frailty, the severe contempt
They have of man, their privilege to live
A tree or fountain, and in that reprieve
What ages they consume: with the sad vale
Of Diophania; and the mournful tale
Of the bleeding, vocal myrtle:--these and more,
Thy richer thoughts, we are upon the score
To thy rare fancy for. Nor dost thou fall
From thy first majesty, or ought at all
Betray consumption. Thy full vigorous bays
Wear the same green, and scorn the lean decays
Of style or matter; just as I have known
Some crystal spring, that from the neighbour down
Derived her birth, in gentle murmurs steal
To the next vale, and proudly there reveal
Her streams in louder accents, adding still
More noise and waters to her channel, till
At last, swollen with increase, she glides along
The lawns and meadows, in a wanton throng
Of frothy billows, and in one great name
Swallows the tributary brooks' drowned fame.
Nor are they mere inventions, for we
In the same piece find scattered philosophy,
And hidden, dispersed truths, that folded lie
In the dark shades of deep allegory,
So neatly weaved, like arras, they descry
Fables with truth, fancy with history.
So that thou hast, in this thy curious mould,
Cast that commended mixture wished of old,
Which shall these contemplations render far
Less mutable, and lasting as their star;
And while there is a people, or a sun,
Endymion's story with the moon shall run.


I did believe, great Beaumont being dead,
Thy widowed muse slept on his flowery bed.
But I am richly cozened, and can see
Wit transmigrates--his spirit stayed with thee;
Which, doubly advantaged by thy single pen,
In life and death now treads the stage again.
And thus are we freed from that dearth of wit
Which starved the land, since into schisms split,
Wherein th' hast done so much, we must needs guess
Wit's last edition is now i' the press.
For thou hast drained invention, and he
That writes hereafter, doth but pillage thee.
But thou hast plots; and will not the Kirk strain
At the designs of such a tragic brain?
Will they themselves think safe, when they shall see
Thy most abominable policy?
Will not the Ears assemble, and think't fit
Their synod fast and pray against thy wit?
But they'll not tire in such an idle quest--
Thou dost but kill and circumvent in jest;
And when thy angered muse swells to a blow,
Tis but for Field's or Swansteed's overthrow.
Yet shall these conquests of thy bays outlive
Their Scottish zeal, and compacts made to grieve
The peace of spirits; and when such deeds fail
Of their foul ends, a fair name is thy bail.
But, happy! thou ne'er saw'st these storms our air
Teemed with, even in thy time, though seeming fair.
Thy gentle soul, meant for the shade and ease
Withdrew betimes into the land of peace.
So, nested in some hospitable shore,
The hermit-angler, when the mid seas roar,
Packs up his lines, and ere the tempest raves,
Retires, and leaves his station to the waves.
Thus thou diedst almost with our peace; and we,
This breathing time, thy last fair issue see,
Which I think such, if needless ink not soil
So choice a muse, others are but thy foil;
This or that age may write, but never see
A wit that dares run parallel with thee.
True Ben must live; but bate him, and thou hast
Undone all future wits, and matched the past.


Abominable face of things!--here's noise
Of banged mortars, blue aprons, and boys,
Pigs, dogs, and drums; with the hoarse, hellish notes
Of politicly-deaf usurers' throats;
With new fine worships, and the old cast team
Of justices, vexed with the cough and phlegm.
'Midst these, the cross looks sad; and in the shire-
Hall furs of an old Saxon fox appear,
With brotherly rufts and beards, and a strange sight
Of high, monumental hats, ta'en at the fight
Of Eighty-eight; while every burgess foots
The mortal pavement in eternal boots.
Hadst thou been bachelor, I had soon divined
Thy close retirements, and monastic mind;
Perhaps some nymph had been to visit; or
The beauteous churl was to be waited for,
And, like the Greek, ere you the sport would miss,
You stayed and stroked the distaff for a kiss.

* * * * *

Why, two months hence, if thou continue thus,
Thy memory will scarce remain with us.
The drawers have forgot thee, and exclaim
They have not seen thee here since Charles' reign;
Or, if they mention thee, like some old man
That at each word inserts--Sir, as I can
Remember--so the cipherers puzzle me
With a dark, cloudy character of thee;
That, certes, I fear thou wilt be lost, and we
Must ask the fathers ere't be long for thee.
Come! leave this sullen state, and let not wine
And precious wit lie dead for want of thine.
Shall the dull market landlord, with his rout
Of sneaking tenants, dirtily swill out
This harmless liquor shall they knock and beat
For sack, only to talk of rye and wheat?
Oh, let not such preposterous tippling be;
In our metropolis, may I ne'er see
Such tavern sacrilege, nor lend a line
To weep the rapes and tragedy of wine!
Here lives that chemic quick-fire, which betrays
Fresh spirits to the blood, and warms our lays;
I have reserved, 'gainst thy approach, a cup,
That, were thy muse stark dead, should raise her up,
And teach her yet more charming words and skill,
Than ever Coelia, Chloris, Astrophil,
Or any of the threadbare names inspired
Poor rhyming lovers, with a mistress fired.
Come, then, and while the snow-icicle hangs
At the stiff thatch, and winter's frosty fangs
Benumb the year, blithe as of old, let us,
'Midst noise and war, of peace and mirth discuss.
This portion thou wert born for: why should we
Vex at the times' ridiculous misery?
An age that thus hath fooled itself, and will,
Spite of thy teeth and mine, persist so still.
Let's sit, then, at this fire, and while we steal
A revel in the town, let others seal,
Purchase, or cheat, and who can, let them pay,
Till those black deeds bring on a darksome day.
Innocent spenders we! A better use
Shall wear out our short lease, and leave th' obtuse
Rout to their husks: they and their bags, at best,
Have cares in earnest--we care for a jest.


Happy that first white age! when we
Lived by the earth's mere charity;
No soft luxurious diet then
Had effeminated men--
No other meat nor wine had any
Than the coarse mast, or simple honey;
And, by the parents' care laid up,
Cheap berries did the children sup.
No pompous wear was in those days,
Of gummy silks, or scarlet baize.
Their beds were on some flowery brink,
And clear spring water was their drink.
The shady pine, in the sun's heat,
Was their cool and known retreat;
For then 'twas not cut down, but stood
The youth and glory of the wood.
The daring sailor with his slaves
Then had not cut the swelling waves,
Nor, for desire of foreign store,
Seen any but his native shore.
No stirring drum had scared that age,
Nor the shrill trumpet's active rage;
No wounds, by bitter hatred made,
With warm blood soiled the shining blade;
For how could hostile madness arm
An age of love to public harm,
When common justice none withstood,
Nor sought rewards for spilling blood?
Oh that at length our age would raise
Into the temper of those days!
But--worse than Aetna's fires!--debate
And avarice inflame our state.
Alas! who was it that first found
Gold hid of purpose under ground--
That sought out pearls, and dived to find
Such precious perils for mankind?


1 A ward, and still in bonds, one day
I stole abroad;
It was high spring, and all the way
Primrosed, and hung with shade;
Yet was it frost within,
And surly wind
Blasted my infant buds, and sin,
Like clouds, eclipsed my mind.

2 Stormed thus, I straight perceived my spring
Mere stage and show,
My walk a monstrous, mountained thing,
Rough-cast with rocks and snow;
And as a pilgrim's eye,
Far from relief,
Measures the melancholy sky,
Then drops, and rains for grief,

3 So sighed I upwards still; at last,
'Twixt steps and falls,
I reached the pinnacle, where placed
I found a pair of scales;
I took them up, and laid
In the one late pains,
The other smoke and pleasures weighed,
But proved the heavier grains.

4 With that some cried, Away; straight I
Obeyed, and led
Full east, a fair, fresh field could spy--
Some called it Jacob's Bed--
A virgin soil, which no
Rude feet e'er trod,
Where, since he stept there, only go
Prophets and friends of God.

5 Here I reposed, but scarce well set,
A grove descried
Of stately height, whose branches met
And mixed on every side;
I entered, and, once in,
(Amazed to see 't;)
Found all was changed, and a new spring
Did all my senses greet.

6 The unthrift sun shot vital gold
A thousand pieces,
And heaven its azure did unfold,
Chequered with snowy fleeces.
The air was all in spice,
And every bush
A garland wore; thus fed my eyes,
But all the ear lay hush.

7 Only a little fountain lent
Some use for ears,
And on the dumb shades language spent,
The music of her tears;
I drew her near, and found
The cistern full
Of divers stones, some bright and round,
Others ill-shaped and dull.

8 The first, (pray mark,) as quick as light
Danced through the flood;
But the last, more heavy than the night,
Nailed to the centre stood;
I wondered much, but tired
At last with thought,
My restless eye, that still desired,
As strange an object brought.

9 It was a bank of flowers, where I descried
(Though 'twas mid-day)
Some fast asleep, others broad-eyed
And taking in the ray;
Here musing long I heard
A rushing wind,
Which still increased, but whence it stirred,
Nowhere I could not find.

10 I turned me round, and to each shade
Despatched an eye,
To see if any leaf had made
Least motion or reply;
But while I, listening, sought
My mind to ease
By knowing where 'twas, or where not,
It whispered, 'Where I please.'

'Lord,' then said I, 'on me one breath,
And let me die before my death!'

'Arise, O north, and come, thou south wind; and blow upon my garden,
that the spices thereof may flow out.'--CANT. iv. 16.


'By that new and living way, which he hath prepared for us, through the
veil, which is his flesh.'--HEB. x. 20.


1 Oft have I seen, when that renewing breath
That binds and loosens death
Inspired a quickening power through the dead
Creatures abed,
Some drowrsy silk-worm creep
From that long sleep,
And in weak, infant hummings chime and knell
About her silent cell,
Until at last, full with the vital ray,
She winged away,
And, proud with life and sense,
Heaven's rich expense,
Esteemed (vain things!) of two whole elements
As mean, and span-extents.
Shall I then think such providence will be
Less friend to me,
Or that he can endure to be unjust
Who keeps his covenant even with our dust?


2 Poor querulous handful! was't for this
I taught thee all that is?
Unbowelled nature, showed thee her recruits,
And change of suits,
And how of death we make
A mere mistake;
For no thing can-to nothing fall, but still
Incorporates by skill,
And then returns, and from the womb of things
Such treasure brings,
As pheenix-like renew'th
Both life and youth;
For a preserving spirit doth still pass
Untainted through this mass,
Which doth resolve, produce, and ripen all
That to it fall;
Nor are those births, which we
Thus suffering see,
Destroyed at all; but when time's restless wave
Their substance doth deprave,
And the more noble essence finds his house
Sickly and loose,
He, ever young, doth wing
Unto that spring
And source of spirits, where he takes his lot,
Till time no more shall rot
His passive cottage; which, (though laid aside,)
Like some spruce bride,
Shall one day rise, and, clothed with shining light,
All pure and bright,
Remarry to the soul, for'tis most plain
Thou only fall'st to be refined again.

3 Then I that here saw darkly in a glass
But mists and shadows pass,
And, by their own weak shine, did search the springs
And course of things,
Shall with enlightened rays
Pierce all their ways;
And as thou saw'st, I in a thought could go
To heaven or earth below,
To read some star, or mineral, and in state
There often sate;
So shalt thou then with me,
Both winged and free,
Rove in that mighty and eternal light,
Where no rude shade or night
Shall dare approach us; we shall there no more
Watch stars, or pore
Through melancholy clouds, and say,
'Would it were day!'
One everlasting Sabbath there shall run
Without succession, and without a sun.

'But go thou thy way until the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand
in thy lot at the end of the days.'--DAN. xii. 13.


'Tis now clear day: I see a rose
Bud in the bright east, and disclose
The pilgrim-sun. All night have I
Spent in a roving ecstasy
To find my Saviour. I have been
As far as Bethlehem, and have seen
His inn and cradle; being there
I met the wise men, asked them where
He might be found, or what star can
Now point him out, grown up a man?
To Egypt hence I fled, ran o'er
All her parched bosom to Nile's shore,
Her yearly nurse; came back, inquired
Amongst the doctors, and desired
To see the temple, but was shown
A little dust, and for the town
A heap of ashes, where, some said,
A small bright sparkle was abed,
Which would one day (beneath the pole)
Awake, and then refine the whole.

Tired here, I came to Sychar, thence
To Jacob's well, bequeathed since
Unto his sons, where often they,
In those calm, golden evenings, lay
Watering their flocks, and having spent
Those white days, drove home to the tent
Their well-fleeced train; and here (O fate!)
I sit where once my Saviour sate.
The angry spring in bubbles swelled,
Which broke in sighs still, as they filled,
And whispered, Jesus had been there,
But Jacob's children would not hear.
Loth hence to part, at last I rise,
But with the fountain in mine eyes,
And here a fresh search is decreed:
He must be found where he did bleed.
I walk the garden, and there see
Ideas of his agony,
And moving anguishments, that set
His blest face in a bloody sweat;
I climbed the hill, perused the cross,
Hung with my gain, and his great loss:
Never did tree bear fruit like this,
Balsam of souls, the body's bliss.
But, O his grave! where I saw lent
(For he had none) a monument,
An undefiled, a new-hewed one,
But there was not the Corner-stone.
Sure then, said I, my quest is vain,
He'll not be found where he was slain;
So mild a Lamb can never be
'Midst so much blood and cruelty.
I'll to the wilderness, and can
Find beasts more merciful than man;
He lived there safe, 'twas his retreat
From the fierce Jew, and Herod's heat,
And forty days withstood the fell
And high temptations of hell;
With seraphim there talked he,
His Father's flaming ministry,
He heavened their walks, and with his eyes
Made those wild shades a paradise.
Thus was the desert sanctified
To be the refuge of his bride.
I'll thither then; see, it is day!
The sun's broke through to guide my way.

But as I urged thus, and writ down
What pleasures should my journey crown,
What silent paths, what shades and cells,
Fair virgin-flowers and hallowed wells,
I should rove in, and rest my head
Where my dear Lord did often tread,
Sugaring all dangers with success,
Methought I heard one singing thus:

1 Leave, leave thy gadding thoughts;
Who pores
And spies
Still out of doors,
Within them nought.

2 The skin and shell of things,
Though fair,
Are not
Thy wish nor prayer,
But got
By mere despair
Of wings.

3 To rack old elements,
Or dust,
And say,
Sure here he must
Needs stay,
Is not the way,
Nor just.

Search well another world; who studies this,
Travels in clouds, seeks manna where none is.

'That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him,
and find him, though he be not far off from every one of us: for in
him we live, and move, and have our being.'--ACTS xvii. 27, 28.


'And Isaac went out to pray in the field at the eventide, and he
lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.'
--GEN. xxiv. 63.

Praying! and to be married! It was rare,
But now 'tis monstrous; and that pious care
Though of ourselves, is so much out of date,
That to renew't were to degenerate.
But thou a chosen sacrifice wert given,
And offered up so early unto Heaven,
Thy flames could not be out; religion was
Hayed into thee like beams into a glass;
Where, as thou grew'st, it multiplied, and shined
The sacred constellation of thy mind.

But being for a bride, prayer was such
A decried course, sure it prevailed not much.
Hadst ne'er an oath nor compliment? thou wert
An odd, dull suitor; hadst thou but the art
Of these our days, thou couldst have coined thee twenty
New several oaths, and compliments, too, plenty.
O sad and wild excess! and happy those
White days, that durst no impious mirth expose:
When conscience by lewd use had not lost sense,
Nor bold-faced custom banished innocence!
Thou hadst no pompous train, nor antic crowd
Of young, gay swearers, with their needless, loud
Retinue; all was here smooth as thy bride,
And calm like her, or that mild evening-tide.
Yet hadst thou nobler guests: angels did wind
And rove about thee, guardians of thy mind;
These fetched thee home thy bride, and all the way
Advised thy servant what to do and say;
These taught him at the well, and thither brought
The chaste and lovely object of thy thought.
But here was ne'er a compliment, not one
Spruce, supple cringe, or studied look put on.
All was plain, modest truth: nor did she come
In rolls and curls, mincing and stately dumb;
But in a virgin's native blush and fears,
Fresh as those roses which the day-spring wears.
O sweet, divine simplicity! O grace
Beyond a curled lock or painted face!
A pitcher too she had, nor thought it much
To carry that, which some would scorn to touch;
With, which in mild, chaste language she did woo
To draw him drink, and for his camels too.

And now thou knew'st her coming, it was time
To get thee wings on, and devoutly climb
Unto thy God; for marriage of all states
Makes most unhappy, or most fortunates.
This brought thee forth, where now thou didst undress
Thy soul, and with new pinions refresh
Her wearied wings, which, so restored, did fly
Above the stars, a track unknown and high;
And in her piercing flight perfumed the air,
Scattering the myrrh and incense of thy prayer.
So from Lahai-roi[1]'s well some spicy cloud,
Wooed by the sun, swells up to be his shroud,
And from her moist womb weeps a fragrant shower,
Which, scattered in a thousand pearls, each flower
And herb partakes; where having stood awhile,
And something cooled the parched and thirsty isle,
The thankful earth unlocks herself, and blends
A thousand odours, which, all mixed, she sends
Up in one cloud, and so returns the skies
That dew they lent, a breathing sacrifice.

Thus soared thy soul, who, though young, didst inherit
Together with his blood thy father's spirit,
Whose active zeal and tried faith were to thee
Familiar ever since thy infancy.
Others were timed and trained up to't, but thou
Didst thy swift years in piety outgrow.
Age made them reverend and a snowy head,
But thou wert so, ere time his snow could shed.
Then who would truly limn thee out must paint
First a young patriarch, then a married saint.

[1] 'Lahai-roi:' a well in the south country where Jacob dwelt, between
Kadesh and Bered; _Heb.,_ The well of him that liveth and seeth me.


Farewell, you everlasting hills! I'm cast
Here under clouds, where storms and tempests blast
This sullied flower,
Robbed of your calm; nor can I ever make,
Transplanted thus, one leaf of his t'awake;
But every hour
He sleeps and droops; and in this drowsy state
Leaves me a slave to passions and my fate.
Besides I've lost
A train of lights, which in those sunshine days
Were my sure guides; and only with me stays,
Unto my cost,
One sullen beam, whose charge is to dispense
More punishment than knowledge to my sense.
Two thousand years
I sojourned thus. At last Jeshurun's king
Those famous tables did from Sinai bring.
These swelled my fears,
Guilts, trespasses, and all this inward awe;
For sin took strength and vigour from the law.
Yet have I found
A plenteous way, (thanks to that Holy One!)
To cancel all that e'er was writ in stone.
His saving wound
Wept blood that broke this adamant, and gave
To sinners confidence, life to the grave.
This makes me span
My fathers' journeys, and in one fair step
O'er all their pilgrimage and labours leap.
For God, made man,
Reduced the extent of works of faith; so made
Of their Red Sea a spring: I wash, they wade.

'As by the offence of one the fault came on all men to condemnation;
so by the righteousness of one, the benefit abounded towards all men
to the justification of life.'--ROM. v. 18.


1 'Twas so; I saw thy birth. That drowsy lake
From her faint bosom breathed thee, the disease
Of her sick waters, and infectious ease.
But now at even,
Too gross for heaven,
Thou fall'st in tears, and weep'st for thy mistake.

2 Ah! it is so with me; oft have I pressed
Heaven with a lazy breath; but fruitless this
Pierced not; love only can with quick access
Unlock the way,
When all else stray,
The smoke and exhalations of the breast.

3 Yet if, as thou dost melt, and, with thy train
Of drops, make soft the earth, my eyes could weep
O'er my hard heart, that's bound up and asleep,
Perhaps at last,
Some such showers past,
My God would give a sunshine after rain.


1 O thou! the first-fruits of the dead,
And their dark bed,
When I am cast into that deep
And senseless sleep,
The wages of my sin,
O then,
Thou great Preserver of all men,
Watch o'er that loose
And empty house,
Which I sometime lived in!

2 It is in truth a ruined piece,
Not worth thy eyes;
And scarce a room, but wind and rain
Beat through and stain
The seats and cells within;
Yet thou,
Led by thy love, wouldst stoop thus low,
And in this cot,
All filth and spot,
Didst with thy servant inn.

3 And nothing can, I hourly see,
Drive thee from me.
Thou art the same, faithful and just,
In life or dust.
Though then, thus crumbed, I stray
In blasts,
Or exhalations, and wastes,
Beyond all eyes,
Yet thy love spies
That change, and knows thy clay.

4 The world's thy box: how then, there tossed,
Can I be lost?
But the delay is all; Time now
Is old and slow;
His wings are dull and sickly.
Yet he
Thy servant is, and waits on thee.
Cut then the sum,
Lord, haste, Lord, come,
O come, Lord Jesus, quickly!

'And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of
the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.'--ROM. viii. 23.


1 Lord, with what courage and delight
I do each thing,
When thy least breath sustains my wing!
I shine and move
Like those above,
And, with much gladness
Quitting sadness,
Make me fair days of every night.

2 Affliction thus mere pleasure is;
And hap what will,
If thou be in't,'tis welcome still.
But since thy rays
In sunny days
Thou dost thus lend,
And freely spend,
Ah! what shall I return for this?

3 Oh that I were all soul! that thou
Wouldst make each part
Of this poor sinful frame pure heart!
Then would I drown
My single one;
And to thy praise
A concert raise
Of hallelujahs here below.


1 O my chief good!
My dear, dear God!
When thy blest blood
Did issue forth, forced by the rod,
What pain didst thou
Feel in each blow!
How didst thou weep,
And thyself steep
In thy own precious, saving tears!
What cruel smart
Did tear thy heart!
How didst thou groan it
In the spirit,
O thou whom my soul loves and fears!

2 Most blessed Vine!
Whose juice so good
I feel as wine,
But thy fair branches felt as blood,
How wert thou pressed
To be my feast!
In what deep anguish
Didst thou languish!
What springs of sweat and blood did drown thee!
How in one path
Did the full wrath
Of thy great Father
Crowd and gather,
Doubling thy griefs, when none would own thee!

3 How did the weight
Of all our sins,
And death unite
To wrench and rack thy blessed limbs!
How pale and bloody
Looked thy body!
How bruised and broke,
With every stroke!
How meek and patient was thy spirit!
How didst thou cry,
And groan on high,
'Father, forgive,
And let them live!
I die to make my foes inherit!'

4 O blessed Lamb!
That took'st my sin,
That took'st my shame,
How shall thy dust thy praises sing?
I would I were
One hearty tear!
One constant spring!
Then would I bring
Thee two small mites, and be at strife
Which should most vie,
My heart or eye,
Teaching my years
In smiles and tears
To weep, to sing, thy death, my life.


1 When first thy eyes unvail, give thy soul leave
To do the like; our bodies but forerun
The spirit's duty. True hearts spread and heave
Unto their God, as flowers do to the sun.
Give him thy first thoughts then; so shalt thou keep
Him company all day, and in him sleep.

2 Yet never sleep the sun up. Prayer should
Dawn with the day. There are set, awful hours
'Twixt Heaven and us. The manna was not good
After sun-rising; far-day sullies flowers.
Rise to prevent the sun; sleep doth sins glut,
And heaven's gate opens when this world's is shut.

3 Walk with thy fellow-creatures; note the hush
And whispers amongst them. There's not a spring
Or leaf but hath his morning-hymn. Each bush
And oak doth know I AM. Canst thou not sing?
Oh, leave thy cares and follies! go this way,
And thou art sure to prosper all the day.

4 Serve God before the world; let him not go
Until thou hast a blessing; then resign
The whole unto him, and remember who
Prevailed by wrestling ere the sun did shine;
Pour oil upon the stones; weep for thy sin;
Then journey on, and have an eye to heaven.

5 Mornings are mysteries; the first world's youth,
Man's resurrection and the future's bud
Shroud in their births; the crown of life, light, truth
Is styled their star, the stone, and hidden food.
Three blessings wait upon them, two of which
Should move. They make us holy, happy, rich.

6 When the world's up, and every swarm abroad,
Keep thou thy temper; mix not with each clay;
Despatch necessities; life hath a load
Which must be carried on, and safely may.
Yet keep those cares without thee, let the heart
Be God's alone, and choose the better part.

7 Through all thy actions, counsels, and discourse,
Let mildness and religion guide thee out;
If truth be thine, what needs a brutish force?
But what's not good and just ne'er go about.
Wrong not thy conscience for a rotten stick;
That gain is dreadful which makes spirits sick.

8 To God, thy country, and thy friend be true;
If priest and people change, keep thou thy ground.
Who sells religion is a Judas Jew;
And, oaths once broke, the soul cannot be sound.
The perjurer's a devil let loose: what can
Tie up his hands that dares mock God and man?

9 Seek not the same steps with the crowd; stick thou
To thy sure trot; a constant, humble mind
Is both his own joy, and his Maker's too;
Let folly dust it on, or lag behind.
A sweet self-privacy in a right soul
Outruns the earth, and lines the utmost pole.

10 To all that seek thee bear an open heart;
Make not thy breast a labyrinth or trap;
If trials come, this will make good thy part,
For honesty is safe, come what can hap;
It is the good man's feast, the prince of flowers,
Which thrives in storms, and smells best after showers.

11 Seal not thy eyes up from the poor, but give
Proportion to their merits, and thy purse;
Thou may'st in rags a mighty prince relieve,
Who, when thy sins call for't, can fence a curse.
Thou shalt not lose one mite. Though waters stray,
The bread we cast returns in fraughts one day.

12 Spend not an hour so as to weep another,
For tears are not thine own; if thou giv'st words,
Dash not with them thy friend, nor Heaven; oh, smother
A viperous thought; some syllables are swords.
Unbitted tongues are in their penance double;
They shame their owners, and their hearers trouble.

13 Injure not modest blood, while spirits rise
In judgment against lewdness; that's base wit
That voids but filth and stench. Hast thou no prize
But sickness or infection? stifle it.
Who makes his jest of sins, must be at least,
If not a very devil, worse than beast.

14 Yet fly no friend, if he be such indeed;
But meet to quench his longings, and thy thirst;
Allow your joys, religion: that done, speed,
And bring the same man back thou wert at first.
Who so returns not, cannot pray aright,
But shuts his door, and leaves God out all night.

15 To heighten thy devotions, and keep low
All mutinous thoughts, what business e'er thou hast,
Observe God in his works; here fountains flow,
Birds sing, beasts feed, fish leap, and the earth stands fast;
Above are restless motions, running lights,
Vast circling azure, giddy clouds, days, nights.

16 When seasons change, then lay before thine eyes
His wondrous method; mark the various scenes
In heaven; hail, thunder, rainbows, snow, and ice,
Calms, tempests, light, and darkness, by his means;
Thou canst not miss his praise; each tree, herb, flower
Are shadows of his wisdom and his power.

17 To meals when thou dost come, give him the praise
Whose arm supplied thee; take what may suffice,
And then be thankful; oh, admire his ways
Who fills the world's unemptied granaries!
A thankless feeder is a thief, his feast
A very robbery, and himself no guest.

18 High-noon thus past, thy time decays; provide
Thee other thoughts; away with friends and mirth;
The sun now stoops, and hastes his beams to hide
Under the dark and melancholy earth.
All but preludes thy end. Thou art the man
Whose rise, height, and descent is but a span.

19 Yet, set as he doth, and 'tis well. Have all
Thy beams home with thee: trim thy lamp, buy oil,
And then set forth; who is thus dressed, the fall
Furthers his glory, and gives death the foil.
Man is a summer's day; whose youth and fire
Cool to a glorious evening, and expire.

20 When night comes, list[1] thy deeds; make plain the way
'Twixt heaven and thee; block it not with delays;
But perfect all before thou sleep'st; then say
'There's one sun more strung on my bead of days.'
What's good score up for joy; the bad, well scanned,
Wash off with tears, and get thy Master's hand.

21 Thy accounts thus made, spend in the grave one hour
Before thy time; be not a stranger there,
Where thou may'st sleep whole ages; life's poor flower
Lasts not a night sometimes. Bad spirits fear
This conversation; but the good man lies
Entombed many days before he dies.

22 Being laid, and dressed for sleep, close not thy eyes
Up with thy curtains; give thy soul the wing
In some good thoughts; so, when the day shall rise,
And thou unrak'st thy fire, those sparks will bring
New flames; besides where these lodge, vain heats mourn
And die; that bush where God is shall not burn.

23 When thy nap's over, stir thy fire, and rake
In that dead age; one beam i' the dark outvies
Two in the day; then from the damps and ache
Of night shut up thy leaves; be chaste; God pries
Through thickest nights; though then the sun be far,
Do thou the works of day, and rise a star.

24 Briefly, do as thou wouldst be done unto,
Love God, and love thy neighbour; watch and pray.
These are the words and works of life; this do,
And live; who doth not thus, hath lost heaven's way.
Oh, lose it not! look up, wilt change those lights
For chains of darkness and eternal nights?

[1] 'List:' weigh.


Lord, since thou didst in this vile clay
That sacred ray,
Thy Spirit, plant, quickening the whole
With that one grain's infused wealth,
My forward flesh crept on, and subtly stole
Both growth and power; checking the health
And heat of thine. That little gate
And narrow way, by which to thee
The passage is, he termed a grate
And entrance to captivity;
Thy laws but nets, where some small birds,
And those but seldom too, were caught;
Thy promises but empty words,
Which none but children heard or taught.
This I believed: and though a friend
Came oft from far, and whispered, No;
Yet, that not sorting to my end,
I wholly listened to my foe.
Wherefore, pierced through with grief, my sad,
Seduced soul sighs up to thee;
To thee, who with true light art clad,
And seest all things just as they be.
Look from thy throne upon this roll
Of heavy sins, my high transgressions,
Which I confess with all my soul;
My God, accept of my confession!
It was last day,
Touched with the guilt of my own way,
I sat alone, and taking up,
The bitter cup,
Through all thy fair and various store,
Sought out what might outvie my score.
The blades of grass thy creatures feeding;
The trees, their leaves; the flowers, their seeding;
The dust, of which I am a part;
The stones, much softer than my heart;
The drops of rain, the sighs of wind,
The stars, to which I am stark blind;
The dew thy herbs drink up by night,
The beams they warm them at i' the light;
All that have signature or life
I summoned to decide this strife;
And lest I should lack for arrears,
A spring ran by, I told her tears;
But when these came unto the scale,
My sins alone outweighed them all.
O my dear God! my life, my love!
Most blessed Lamb! and mildest Dove!
Forgive your penitent offender,
And no more his sins remember;
Scatter these shades of death, and give
Light to my soul, that it may live;
Cut me not off for my transgressions,
Wilful rebellions, and suppressions;
But give them in those streams a part
Whose spring is in my Saviour's heart.
Lord, I confess the heinous score,
And pray I may do so no more;
Though then all sinners I exceed,
Oh, think on this, thy Son did bleed!
Oh, call to mind his wounds, his woes,
His agony, and bloody throes;
Then look on all that thou hast made,
And mark how they do fail and fade;
The heavens themselves, though fair and bright,
Are dark and unclean in thy sight;
How then, with thee, can man be holy,
Who dost thine angels charge with folly?
Oh, what am I, that I should breed
Figs on a thorn, flowers on a weed?
I am the gourd of sin and sorrow,
Growing o'er night, and gone to-morrow.
In all this round of life and death
Nothing's more vile than is my breath;
Profaneness on my tongue doth rest,
Defects and darkness in my breast;
Pollutions all my body wed,
And even my soul to thee is dead;
Only in him, on whom I feast,
Both soul and body are well dressed;
His pure perfection quits all score,
And fills the boxes of his poor;
He is the centre of long life and light;
I am but finite, he is infinite.
Oh, let thy justice then in him confine,
And through his merits make thy mercy mine!


Ah! what time wilt thou come? when shall that cry,
'The Bridegroom's coming!' fill the skyl?
Shall it in the evening run
When our words and works are done?
Or will thy all-surprising light
Break at midnight,
When either sleep or some dark pleasure
Possesseth mad man without measure?
Or shall these early, fragrant hours
Unlock thy bowers,
And with their blush of light descry
Thy locks crowned with eternity?
Indeed, it is the only time
That with thy glory doth best chime;
All now are stirring, every field
Full hymns doth yield;
The whole creation shakes off night,
And for thy shadow looks the light;
Stars now vanish without number,
Sleepy planets set and slumber,
The pursy clouds disband and scatter,
All expect some sudden matter;
Not one beam triumphs, but from far
That morning-star.

Oh, at what time soever thou,
Unknown to us, the heavens wilt bow,
And, with thy angels in the van,
Descend to judge poor careless man,
Grant I may not like puddle lie
In a corrupt security,
Where, if a traveller water crave,
He finds it dead, and in a grave.
But as this restless, vocal spring
All day and night doth run and sing,
And though here born, yet is acquainted
Elsewhere, and flowing keeps untainted;
So let me all my busy age
In thy free services engage;
And though, while here, of force I must
Have commerce sometimes with poor dust,
And in my flesh, though vile and low,
As this doth in her channel flow,
Yet let my course, my aim, my love,
And chief acquaintance be above;
So when that day and hour shall come
In which thyself will be the Sun,
Thou'lt find me dressed and on my way,
Watching the break of thy great day.


1 How is man parcelled out! how every hour
Shows him himself, or something he should see!
This late, long heat may his instruction be;
And tempests have more in them than a shower.

When nature on her bosom saw
Her infants die,
And all her flowers withered to straw,
Her breasts grown dry;
She made the earth, their nurse and tomb,
Sigh to the sky,
Till to those sighs, fetched from her womb,
Rain did reply;
So in the midst of all her fears
And faint requests,
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,[1] 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!

[1] '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
That policy.
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
Their victory.

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,

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