Love And Discipline
Since in a land not barren still
(Because Thou dost Thy grace distill)
My lot is fallen, blest be Thy will!
And since these biting frosts but kill
Some tares in me which choke or spill
That seed Thou sow'st, blest be Thy skill!
Blest be Thy dew, and blest Thy frost,
And happy I to be so crossed,
And cured by crosses at Thy cost.
The dew doth cheer what is distressed,
The frosts ill weeds nip and molest;
In both Thou work'st unto the best.
Thus while Thy several mercies plot,
And work on me now cold, now hot,
The work goes on and slacketh not;
For as Thy hand the weather steers,
So thrive I best, 'twixt joys and tears,
And all the year have some green ears.
The Incarnation, And Passion
LORD, when Thou didst Thyself undress,
Laying by Thy robes of glory,
To make us more, Thou wouldst be less,
And becam'st a woful story.
To put on clouds instead of light,
And clothe the morning-star with dust,
Was a translation of such height
As, but in Thee, was ne'er express'd.
Brave worms and earth ! that thus could have
A God enclos'd within your cell,
Your Maker pent up in a grave,
Life lock'd in death, heav'n in a shell !
Ah, my dear Lord ! what couldst thou spy
In this impure, rebellious clay,
That made Thee thus resolve to die
For those that kill Thee every day ?
O what strange wonders could Thee move
To slight Thy precious blood, and breath ?
Sure it was love, my Lord ! for love
Is only stronger far than death !
A Song To Amoret
If I were dead, and, in my place,
Some fresher youth designed
To warm thee, with new fires; and grace
Those arms I left behind:
Were he as faithful as the Sun,
That's wedded to the Sphere;
His blood as chaste and temperate run,
As April's mildest tear;
Or were he rich; and, with his heap
And spacious share of earth,
Could make divine affection cheap,
And court his golden birth;
For all these arts, I'd not believe
(No! though he should be thine!),
The mighty Amorist could give
So rich a heart as mine!
Fortune and beauty thou might'st find,
And greater men than I;
But my true resolved mind
They never shall come nigh.
For I not for an hour did love,
Or for a day desire,
But with my soul had from above
This endless holy fire.
Boethius, De Consolatione Philosophiae : Liber 2. Metrum 5
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 blaize.
Their beds were on some flow'ry 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.
Nor stirring drum scarred 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 Etna'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 Whatever 'tis, whose beauty here below
2 Attracts thee thus and makes thee stream and flow,
3 And wind and curl, and wink and smile,
4 Shifting thy gate and guile;
5 Though thy close commerce nought at all imbars
6 My present search, for eagles eye not stars,
7 And still the lesser by the best
8 And highest good is blest;
9 Yet, seeing all things that subsist and be,
10 Have their commissions from divinity,
11 And teach us duty, I will see
12 What man may learn from thee.
13 First, I am sure, the subject so respected
14 Is well dispos'd, for bodies once infected,
15 Deprav'd, or dead, can have with thee
16 No hold, nor sympathy.
17 Next, there's in it a restless, pure desire
18 And longing for thy bright and vital fire,
19 Desire that never will be quench'd,
20 Nor can be writh'd, nor wrench'd.
21 These are the magnets which so strongly move
22 And work all night upon thy light and love,
23 As beauteous shapes, we know not why,
24 Command and guide the eye.
25 For where desire, celestial, pure desire
26 Hath taken root, and grows, and doth not tire,
27 There God a commerce states, and sheds
28 His secret on their heads.
29 This is the heart he craves, and who so will
30 But give it him, and grudge not, he shall feel
31 That God is true, as herbs unseen
32 Put on their youth and green.
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 e'er I studied man,
And only see through a long night
Thy edges and thy bordering light!
Oh for thy center and midday!
For sure that is the narrow way!
The Son of the living GOD, and the sacred
MY God ! Thou that didst die for me,
These Thy death's fruits I offer Thee ;
Death that to me was life and light,
But dark and deep pangs to Thy sight.
Some drops of Thy all-quick'ning blood
Fell on my heart ; those made it bud,
And put forth thus, though, Lord, before
The ground was curs'd, and void of store.
Indeed I had some here to hire
Which long resisted Thy desire,
That ston'd Thy servants, and did move
To have Thee murder'd for Thy love ;
But, Lord, I have expell'd them, and so bent,
Beg Thou wouldst take Thy tenant's rent.
Dear Lord, 'tis finished ! and now he
That copied it, presents it Thee.
'Twas thine first, and to Thee returns,
From Thee it shin'd, though here it burns.
If the Sun rise on rocks, is't right
To call it their inherent light ?
No, nor can I say, this is mine,
For, dearest Jesus, 'tis all Thine ;
As Thy clothes, when Thou with clothes wert clad,
Both light from Thee, and virtue had ;
And now,as then, within this place
Thou to poor rags dost still give grace.
This is the earnest Thy love sheds,
The candle shining on some heads,
Till at Thy charges they shall be
Cloth'd all with immortality.
My dear Redeemer, the world's light,
And life too, and my heart's delight !
For all Thy mercies and Thy truth,
Show'd to me in my sinful youth,
For my sad failings and my wild
Murmurings at Thee, when most mild ;
For all my secret faults, and each
Frequent relapse and wilful breach,
For all designs meant against Thee
And ev'ry publish'd vanity,
Which Thou divinely hast forgiven,
While Thy blood wash'd me white as heaven ;
I nothing have to give to Thee,
But this Thy own gift, given to me.
Refuse it not ; for now Thy token
Can tell Thee where a heart is broken.
REVEL. CAP. I. VER. 5, 6, 7.
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our
sins in His own blood.
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and
His Father ; to Him be glory and dominion, for ever
and ever. Amen.
Behold He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall
see Him, and they also which pierced Him ; and all
kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him : even