My Body being Dead, my Limbs unknown;
Before I skilled [sic] to prize
Those living Stars mine Eyes,
Before my Tongue or Cheeks were to me shown,
Before I knew my Hands were mine,
Or that my Sinews did my Members join,
When neither Nostril, Foot, nor Ear,
As yet was seen, or felt, or did appear;
I was within
A House I knew not, newly clothed with Skin.
Then was my Soul my only All to me,
A Living Endless Eye,
Far wider than the Sky
Whose Power, whose Act, whose Essence was to see.
I was an Inward Sphere of Light,
Or an Interminable Orb of Sight,
An Endless and a Living Day,
A vital Sun that round about did ray
All Life and Sense,
A Naked Simple Pure Intelligence.
I then no Thirst nor Hunger did conceive,
No dull Necessity,
No Want was Known to me;
Without Disturbance then I did receive
The fair Ideas of all Things,
And had the Honey even without the Stings.
A Meditating Inward Eye
Gazing at Quiet did within me lie,
And every Thing
Delighted me that was their Heavenly King.
A Life Of Sabbaths Here Beneath
A life of Sabbaths here beneath!
Continual jubilees and joys!
The days of Heaven, while we breathe
On Earth! where Sin all Bliss destroys:
This is a triumph of delights
That doth exceed all appetites:
No joy can be compared to this,
It is a life of perfect Bliss.
Of perfect Bliss! How can it be?
To conquer Satan, and to reign
In such a vale of misery,
Where vipers, stings, and tears remain,
Is to be crowned with victory.
To be content, divine, and free,
Even here beneath is great delight
And next the Beatific Sight.
But inward lusts do oft assail,
Temptations work us much annoy
We'll therefore weep, and to prevail
Shall be a more celestial joy.
To have no other enemy
But one; and to that one to die:
To fight with that and conquer it,
Is better than in peace to sit.
'Tis better for a little time;
For he that all his lusts doth quell,
Shall find this life to be his prime
And vanquish Sin, and conquer Hell.
The next shall be his double joy;
And that which here seemed to destroy
Shall in the other life appear
A root of bliss; a pearl each tear.
A learned and a happy ignorance
From all the vanity,
From all the sloth, care, pain, and sorrow that advance
The madness and the misery
Of men. No error, no distraction I
Saw soil the earth, or overcloud the sky.
I knew not that there was a serpent's sting,
Whose poison shed
On men, did overspread
The world; nor did I dream of such a thing
As sin, in which mankind lay dead.
They all were brisk and living wights to me,
Yea, pure and full of immortality.
Joy, pleasure, beauty, kindness, glory, love,
Sleep, day, life, light,
Peace, melody, my sight,
My ears and heart did fill and freely move.
All that I saw did me delight.
The Universe was then a world of treasure,
To me an universal world of pleasure.
Unwelcome penitence was then unknown,
Vain costly toys,
Swearing and roaring boys,
Shops, markets, taverns, coaches, were unshown;
So all things were that drown'd my joys:
No thorns chok'd up my path, nor hid the face
Of bliss and beauty, nor eclips'd the place.
Only what Adam in his first estate,
Did I behold;
Hard silver and dry gold
As yet lay under ground; my blessed fate
Was more acquainted with the old
And innocent delights which he did see
In his original simplicity.
Those things which first his Eden did adorn,
Did crown. Simplicity
Was my protection when I first was born.
Mine eyes those treasures first did see
Which God first made. The first effects of love
My first enjoyments upon earth did prove;
And were so great, and so divine, so pure;
So fair and sweet,
So true; when I did meet
Them here at first, they did my soul allure,
And drew away my infant feet
Quite from the works of men; that I might see
The glorious wonders of the Deity.
For giving me desire,
An eager thirst, a burning ardent fire,
A virgin infant flame,
A love with which into the world I came,
An inward hidden heavenly love,
Which in my soul did work and move,
And ever, ever me inflame
With restless longing, heavenly avarice,
That never could be satisfied,
That did incessantly a paradise
Unknown suggest, and something undescribed
Discern, and bear me to it; be
Thy name forever praised by me.
My parched and withered bones
Burnt up did seem; my soul was full of groans;
My thoughts extensions were:
Like paces, reaches, steps they did appear;
They somewhat hotly did pursue,
Knew that they had not all their due,
Nor ever quiet were.
But made my flesh like hungry, thirsty ground,
My heart a deep profound abyss,
And every joy and pleasure a wound,
So long as I my blessedness did miss.
Oh happiness! A famine burns,
And all my life to anguish turns!
Where are the silent streams,
The living waters and the glorious beams,
The sweet reviving bowers,
The shady groves, the sweet and curious flowers,
The springs and trees, the heavenly days,
The flow'ry meads, and glorious rays,
The gold and silver towers?
Alas! all these are poor and empty things!
Trees, waters, days, and shining beams,
Fruits, flowers, bowers, shady groves, and springs,
No joy will yield, no more than silent streams;
Those are but dead material toys,
And cannot make my heavenly joys.
O love! Ye amities,
And friendships that appear above the skies!
Ye feasts and living pleasures!
Ye senses, honors, and imperial treasures!
That satisfy all appetites!
Ye sweet affections, and
Ye high respects! Whatever joys there be
In triumphs, whatsoever stand
In amicable sweet society,
Whatever pleasures are at His right hand,
Ye must before I am divine
In full propriety be mine.
This soaring, sacred thirst,
Ambassador of bliss, approached first,
Making a place in me
That made me apt to prize, and taste, and see.
For not the objects but the sense
Of things doth bliss to our souls dispense,
And make it, Lord, like Thee.
Sense, feeling, taste, complacency, and sight,
These are the true and real joys,
The living, flowing, inward, melting, bright,
And heavenly pleasures; all the rest are toys;
All which are founded in desire,
As light in flame and heat in fire.
Sure Man was born to meditate on things,
And to contemplate the eternal springs
Of God and Nature, glory, bliss, and pleasure;
That life and love might be his Heavenly treasure;
And therefore speechless made at first, that He
Might in himself profoundly busied be:
And not vent out, before he hath taâ€™en in
Those antidotes that guard his soul from sin.
Wise Nature made him deaf, too, that He might
Not be disturbed, while he doth take delight
In inward things, nor be depraved with tongues,
Nor injured by the errors and the wrongs
That mortal words convey. For sin and death
Are most infused by accursed breath,
That flowing from corrupted entrails, bear
Those hidden plagues which souls may justly fear.
This, my dear friends, this was my blessed case;
For nothing spoke to me but the fair face
Of Heaven and Earth, before myself could speak,
I then my Bliss did, when my silence, break.
My non-intelligence of human words
Ten thousand pleasures unto me affords;
For while I knew not what they to me said,
Before their souls were into mine conveyed,
Before their living vehicle of wind
Could breathe into me their infected mind,
Before my thoughts were leavened with theirs, before
There any mixture was; the Holy Door,
Or gate of souls was close, and mine being one
Within itself to me alone was known.
Then did I dwell within a world of light,
Distinct and separate from all menâ€™s sight,
Where I did feel strange thoughts, and such things see
That were, or seemed, only revealed to me,
There I saw all the world enjoyed by one;
There I was in the world myself alone;
No business serious seemed but one; no work
But one was found; and that did in me lurk.
Dâ€™ye ask me what? It was with clearer eyes
To see all creatures full of Deities;
Especially oneâ€™s self: And to admire
The satisfaction of all true desire:
â€™Twas to be pleased with all that God hath done;
â€™Twas to enjoy even all beneath the sun:
â€™Twas with a steady and immediate sense
To feel and measure all the excellence
Of things; â€™twas to inherit endless treasure,
And to be filled with everlasting pleasure:
To reign in silence, and to sing alone,
To see, love, covet, have, enjoy and praise, in one:
To prize and to be ravished; to be true,
Sincere and single in a blessed view
Of all His gifts. Thus was I pent within
A fort, impregnable to any sin:
Until the avenues being open laid
Whole legions entered, and the forts betrayed:
Before which time a pulpit in my mind,
A temple and a teacher I did find,
With a large text to comment on. No ear
But eyes themselves were all the hearers there,
And every stone, and every star a tongue,
And every gale of wind a curious song.
The Heavens were an oracle, and spake
Divinity: the Earth did undertake
The office of a priest; and I being dumb
(Nothing besides was dum , all things did come
With voices and instructions; but when I
Had gained a tongue, their power began to die.
Mine ears let other noises in, not theirs,
A noise disturbing all my songs and prayers.
My foes pulled down the temple to the ground;
They my adoring soul did deeply wound
And casting that into a swoon, destroyed
The Oracle, and all I there enjoyed:
And having once inspired me with a sense
Of foreign vanities, they march out thence
In troops that cover and despoil my coasts,
Being the invisible, most hurtful hosts.
Yet the first words mine infancy did hear,
The things which in my dumbness did appear
Preventing all the rest, got such a root
Within my heart, and stick so close untoâ€™t,
It may be trampled on, but still will grow
And nutriment to soil itself will owe.
The first Impressions are Immortal all,
And let mine enemies hoop, cry, roar, or call,
Yet these will whisper if I will but hear,
And penetrate the heart, if not the ear.
My contemplation dazzles in the End
Of all I comprehend,
And soars above all heights,
Diving into the depths of all delights.
Can He become the End,
To whom all creatures tend,
Who is the Father of all Infinites?
Then may He benefit receive from things,
And be not Parent only of all springs.
The End doth want the means, and is the cause,
Whose sake, by Natureâ€™s laws,
Is that for which they are.
Such sands, such dangerous rocks we must beware:
From all Eternity
A perfect Deity
Most great and blessed He doth still appear:
His essence perfect was in all its features,
He ever blessed in His joys and creatures.
From everlasting He those joys did need,
And all those joys proceed
From Him eternally.
From everlasting His felicity
Complete and perfect was,
Whose bosom is the glass,
Wherein we all things everlasting see.
His name is Now, His Nature is For-ever:
None can His creatures from their Maker sever.
The End in Him from everlasting is
The fountain of all bliss:
From everlasting it
Efficient was, and influence did emit,
That caused all. Before
The world, we do adore
This glorious End. Because all benefit
From it proceeds: both are the very same,
The End and Fountain differ but in Name.
That so the End should be the very Spring
Of every glorious thing;
And that which seemeth last,
The fountain and the cause; attained so fast
That it was first; and movâ€™d
The Efficient, who so lovâ€™d
All worlds and made them for the sake of this;
It shews the End complete before, and is
A perfect token of His perfect bliss.
The End complete, the means must needs be so,
By which we plainly know,
From all Eternity
The means whereby God is, must perfect be.
God is Himself the means
Whereby He doth exist:
And as the Sun by shiningâ€™s clothâ€™d with beams,
So from Himself to all His glory streams,
Who is a Sun, yet what Himself doth list.
His endless wants and His enjoyments be
From all Eternity
Immutable in Him:
They are His joys before the Cherubim.
His wants appreciate all,
And being infinite,
Permit no being to be mean or small
That He enjoys, or is before His sight.
His satisfactions do His wants delight.
Wants are the fountains of Felicity;
No joy could ever be
Were there no want. No bliss,
No sweetness perfect, were it not for this.
Want is the greatest pleasure
Because it makes all treasure.
O what a wonderful profound abyss
Is God! In whom eternal wants and treasures
Are more delightful since they both are pleasures.
He infinitely wanteth all His joys;
(No want the soul eâ€™er cloys.)
And all those wanted pleasures
He infinitely hath. What endless measures,
What heights and depths may we
In His felicity
Conceive! Whose very wants are endless pleasures.
His life in wants and joys is infinite,
And both are felt as His Supreme Delight.
Heâ€™s not like us; possession doth not cloy,
Nor sense of want destroy;
Both always are together;
No force can either from the other sever.
Yet thereâ€™s a space between
Thatâ€™s endless. Both are seen
Distinctly still, and both are seen for ever.
As soon as eâ€™er He wanteth all His bliss,
His bliss, thoâ€™ everlasting, in Him is.
His Essence is all Act: He did that He
All Act might always be.
His nature burns like fire;
His goodness infinitely does desire
To be by all possesst;
His love makes others blest.
It is the glory of His high estate,
And that which I for evermore admire,
He is an Act that doth communicate.
From all to all Eternity He is
That Act: an Act of bliss:
Wherein all bliss to all
That will receive the same, or on Him call,
Is freely given: from whence
â€™Tis easy even to sense
To apprehend that all receivers are
In Him, all gifts, all joys, all eyes, even all
At once, that ever will or shall appear.
He is the means of them, they not of Him.
The Holy Cherubim,
Souls, Angels from Him came
Who is a glorious bright and living Flame,
That on all things doth shine,
And makes their face divine.
And Holy, Holy, Holy is His Name:
He is the means both of Himself and all,
Whom we the Fountain, Means, and End do call