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277. ON GEORGE HERBERT'S THE TEMPLE' SENT TO
Know you, fair, on what you look ?
Divinest love lies in this book :
Expecting fire from your fair eyes,
To kindle this his sacrifice.
When your hands untie these strings,
Think, you've an angel by the wings ;
One that gladly would be nigh,
To wait upon each morning sigh ;
To flutter in the balmy air
Of your well-perfumèd prayer ;
These white plumes of his he'll lend you,
Which every day to heaven will send you :
To take acquaintance of each sphere,
And all your smooth-faced kindred there.
And though Herbert's name do owe
These devotions, fairest, know
While I thus lay them on the shrine
Of your white hand, they are mine. R. CRASHAW. 278. ON A PRAYER BOOK SENT TO MRS. M. R.
Lo, here a little volume, but great book !
A nest of new-born sweets,
Whose native fires disdaining
To be thus folded, and complaining
Of these ignoble sheets,
Affect more comely bands,
Fair one, from thy kind hands,
And confidently look
To find the rest
Of a rich binding in your breast !
It is in one choice handful, heaven; and all
Heaven's royal host; encamped thus small
To prove that true, schools use to tell,
A thousand angels in one point can dwell.
It is love's great artillery,
Which here contracts itself, and comes to lie
Close couched in your white bosom ; and from thence,
As from a snowy fortress of defence,
Against your ghostly foes to take your part,
And fortify the hold of your chaste heart.
It is an armoury of light;
Let constant use but keep it bright,
You'll find it yields
To holy hands and humble hearts
More swords and shields
Than sin hath snares, or hell hath darts.
Only be sure
The hands be pure
That hold these weapons, and the eyes
Those of turtles, chaste and true,
Wakeful, and wise;
Here is a friend shall fight for you ;
Hold but this book before your heart,
Let prayer alone to play his part. R. CRASHAW.
O Thou undaunted daughter of desires !
By all thy dower of lights and fires ;
By all the eagle in thee, all the dove ;
By all thy lives and deaths of love ;
By thy large draughts of intellectual day,
And by thy thirsts of love more large than they ;
By all thy brim-filled bowls of fierce desire ;
By thy last morning's draught of liquid fire ;
By the full kingdom of that final kiss
That seized thy parting soul, and sealed thee His ;
By all the heavens thou hast in Him
(Fair sister of the seraphim !);
By all of Him we have in thee;
Leave nothing of myself in me.
Let me so read thy life, that I
Unto all life of mine may die !
280. AN EPITAPH UPON HUSBAND AND WIFE WHO
DIED AND WERE BURIED TOGETHER
To these whom death again did wed
This grave's their second marriage-bed.
For though the hand of Fate could force
'Twixt soul and body a divorce,
It could not sever man and wife,
'Cause they both lived but one life.
Peace, good reader, do not weep ;
Peace, the lovers are asleep.
They, sweet turtles, folded lie
In the last knot Love could tie.
Let them sleep, let them sleep on,
Till this stormy night be gone,
And the eternal morrow dawn ;
Then the curtains will be drawn,
And they wake into that light
Whose day shall never die in night. R. CRASHAW.
281. TWO WENT UP INTO THE TEMPLE TO PRAY
Two went to pray ? oh, rather say
One went to brag, the other to pray.
One stands up close, and treads on high,
Where the other dares not send his eye.
One nearer to God's altar trod;
The other to the altar's God.
282. THE SHEPHERD'S SONG
WE saw thee in thy balmy nest,
Young dawn of our eternal day ;
We saw thine eyes break from the east,
And chase the trembling shades away.
We saw thee, and we blessed the sight;
We saw thee by thine own sweet light.
Poor world, said I, what wilt thou do
To entertain this starry stranger ?
Is this the best thou canst bestow-
A cold and not too cleanly manger ?
Contend, the powers of heaven and earth,
To fit a bed for this huge birth.
Proud world, said I, cease your contest,
And let the mighty babe alone ;
The phoenix builds the phoenix' nest,
Love's architecture is his own.
The babe, whose birth embraves this morn,
Made his own bed ere He was born.
R. CRASHAW (A Hymn of the Nativity).
283. FROM 'WISHES FOR THE SUPPOSED MISTRESS'
WHOE'ER she be,
That not impossible She
That shall command my heart and me;
Where'er she lie,
Locked up from mortal eye
In shady leaves of destiny:
Till that ripe birth
Of studied Fate stand forth,
And teach her fair steps to our earth;
Till that divine
Idea take a shrine
Of crystal flesh, through which to shine :
- Meet you her, my Wishes,
Bespeak her to my blisses,
And be ye called my absent kisses.
I wish her Beauty
That owes not all his duty
To gaudy tire, or glistering shoe-tie ;
Something more than
Taffeta or tissue can,
Or rampant feather, or rich fan.
More than the spoil
Of shops or silkworm's toil,
Or a bought blush, or a set smile.
A face that's best
By its own beauty drest,
And can, alone, command the rest.
A face, made up
Out of no other shop
Than what Nature's white hand sets ope.
A cheek where youth
And blood, with pen of truth,
Write what the reader sweetly rueth.
A cheek where grows
More than a morning rose ;
Which to no box his being owes.
Lips where all day
A lover's kiss may play
Yet carry nothing thence away.
Looks that oppress
Their richest tires, but dress
And clothe their simplest nakedness.
Eyes that displace
The neighbour diamond, and outface
That sunshine by their own sweet grace.
Tresses that wear
Jewels but to declare
How much themselves more precious are,
Whose native ray
Can tame the wanton day
Of gems, that in their bright shades play.
WOULDst see blithe looks, fresh cheeks beguile
Age ? wouldst see December smile ?
Wouldst see nests of new roses grow
In a bed of reverend snow ?
Warm thoughts, free spirits, flattering
Winter's self into a spring ?
In sum wouldst see a man that can
Live to be old, and still a man ?
Whose latest and most leaden hours,
Fall with soft wings stuck with soft flowers ;
And, when life's sweet fable ends,
Soul and body part like friends ;
No quarrels, murmurs, no delay-
A kiss, a sigh, and so away,
This rare one, reader, wouldst thou see?
Hark hither !—and thyself be he.
285. A WET SHEET AND A FLOWING SEA
A WET sheet and a flowing sea,
A wind that follows fast
And fills the white and rustling sail
And bends the gallant mast;
And bends the gallant mast, my boys,
While like the eagle free
Away the good ship flies and leaves
Old England on the lee.
O for a soft and gentle wind !
I heard a fair one cry :
But give to me the snoring breeze
And white waves heaving high ;
And white waves heaving high, my lads,
The good ship tight and free-
The world of waters is our home,
And merry men are we.
There's tempest in yon hornèd moon,
And lightning in yon cloud ;
But hark the music, mariners !
The wind is piping loud ;
The wind is piping loud, my boys,
The lightning flashes free-
While the hollow oak our palace is,
Our heritage the sea.