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GILES FLETCHER.

This truly pleasing Christian Poet, who was, it is said, “ equally beloved of the Muses and the Graces,” was born in 1588. Nothing more is known of his life, than that he was of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated as B.D., and that he was beneficed at Alderton, in Suffolk. He has, however, immortalized his name in that sweet poem entitled Christ's Triumph on Earth. This poem displays great sublimity of sentiment, united to harmony of numbers. He died in 1623.

In Christ's Victory in Heaven, Justice and Mercy are represented pleading before God, in presence of the host of heaven, the one for the punishment, the other for the salvation of mankind. The description of each, with their speeches, is subjoined.

JUSTICE.

But Justice had no sooner Mercy seen

Smoothing the wrinkles of her father's brow, But up she starts, and throws herself between;

As when a vapour from a moory slough

Meeting with fresh Eoüs', that but now
Opened the world, which all in darkness lay,
Doth heaven's bright face of his rays disarray,
And sads the smiling orient? of the springing day.
She was a virgin of austere regard :

Not as the world esteems her, deaf and blind;
But as the eagle, that hath oft compared

Her eye with heavens, so, and more brightly shined

Her lamping3 sight : for she the same could wind
Into the solid heart, and with her ears
The silence of the thought loud speaking hears,
And in one hand a pair of even scales she wears.

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1 One of the horses of the sun. 2 Brightness of the sunrise.

3 Lamplike.

No riot of affection revel kept

Within her breast, but a still apathy Possessed all her soul, which softly slept

Securely without tempest; no sad cry

Awakes her pity, but wronged poverty,
Sending his eyes to heaven swimming in tears,
With hideous clamours ever struck her ears,
Whetting the blazing sword that in her hand she bears.

THE SPEECH OF JUSTICE.

UPON two stony tables.spread before her

She leaned her bosom, more than stony hard; There slept th' impartial judge and strict restorer

Of wrong or right, with pain or with reward:

There hung the score of all our debts, the card Where good and bad, and life and death were painted Was never heard of mortal so untainted, But when that scroll was read, with thousand terrors fainted. Witness the thunder that Mount Sinai heard

When all the hill with fiery clouds did flame, And wandering Israel, with the sight afeared,

Blinded with seeing, durst not touch the same,

But like a wood of shaking leaves became.
On this dead Justice, she, the living Law,
Bowing herself with a majestic awe,
All heaven, to hear her speech, did into silence draw.
"Dread Lord of Spirits! well Thou didst devise

To fling the world's rude dunghill, and the dross
Of the old Chaos, farthest from the skies,

And thine own seat, that here the child of loss

Of all the lower heaven, the curse, and cross,
That wretch, beast, captive, monster, Man, might spend,
Proud of the mire in which his soul is penned,
Clodded in lumps of clay, his weary life to end.

His body dust-where grew such cause of pride?

His soul thy image-what could he envy? Himself most happy, if he so would bide:

Now grown most wretched, who can remedy?

He slew himself, himself the enemy.
That his own soul would her own murder wreak,
If I were silent, heaven and earth would speak;
And if all failed, these stones would into clamours break.
How many darts made furrows in his side,

When she that out of his own side was made,
Gave feathers to their flight! Where was the pride

Of their new knowledge? whither did it fade,

When running from thy voice into the shade He fled thy sight, himself of sight bereaved ! And for his shield a leafy armour weaved, With which, vain man, he thought God's eyes to have deceived. And well he might delude those eyes that see

And judge by colours; for who ever saw A man of leaves a reasonable tree?

But those that from this stock their life did draw,

Soon made their father godly, and by law
Proclaimed trees Almighty: gods of wood,
Of stocks, and stones, with crowns of laurel stood,
Templed, and fed by fathers with their children's blood.
The sparkling fanes that burn in beaten gold,

And, like the stars of heaven in midst of night,
Black Egypt as her mirrors doth behold,

Are but the dens where idol-snakes delight

Again to cover Satan from their sight:
Yet these are all the gods to whom they vie
The crocodile, the cock, the rat, the fly;
Fit gods, indeed, for such men to be served by!
The fire, the wind, the sea, the sun and moon,

The fitting air, and the swift-winged hours,
And all the watchmen that so nimbly run,

And sentinel about the walled towers
Of the world's city, in their heavenly bowers.

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And, lest their pleasant gods should want delight,
Neptune4 throws out the Lady Aphroditei,
And but in heaven proud Juno's6 peacocks scorn to light.
The senseless earth, the serpent, dog, and cat,

And worse than all these, man, and worst of men,
Usurping Jove?, and swelling Bacchuss, fat,

And drunk with the vine's purple blood; and then

The Fiend himself they conjure from his den,
Because he only yet remained to be
Worse than the worst of men: they flee from Thee,
And wear his altar-stones out with their pliant knee.

All that he speaks (and all he speaks are lies,)

Are oracles ; 'tis he (that wounded all,)
Cures all their wounds, he (that put out their eyes,)

That gives them light, he (that death first did call

Into the world,) that with his orizal
Inspirits earth: he, heaven's all-seeing eye;
He, earth's great prophet; he, whom rest doth fly,
That on salt billows doth, as pillows, sleeping lie.

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But let him in his cabin restless rest,

The dungeon of dark flames and freezing fire.
Justice in heaven against man makes request

To God, and of his angels doth require

Sin's punishment; of what I did desire,
Or who, or against whom, or why, or where,
Of or before whom, ignorant I were,
Then should my speech their sands of sins to mountains rear.
Were not the heavens pure, in whose courts I sue;

The Judge to whom I sue, just to requite him;
The cause for sin the punishment most due;

Justice herself the plaintiff to indict him;
The angels holy, before whom I cite him;

4 Neptune, god of the sea. 5 Aphrodite, the Grecian name of Venus.
6 The peacock was sacred to Juno.
7 The worship of Jove or Jupiter was universal.
8 Bacchus, the god of wine,

He against whom, wicked, unjust, impure;
Then might he sinful live and die secure;
Or trial might escape, or trial might endure.

The Judge might partial be, and over-prayed ;

The place appealed from, in whose courts he sues ;
The fault excused, or punishment delayed;

The parties self-accused that did accuse;

Angels for pardon might their prayers use;
But now no star can shine, no hope be got;
Most wretched creature, if he knew his lot;
And yet more wretched far, because he knows it not.

What should I tell how barren earth has grown,

All for to starve her children? didst not Thou
Water with heavenly showers her womb unsown,

And drop down clouds of flowers ? didst not Thou bow

Thine easy ear unto the ploughman's vow?
Long might he look, and look, and long in vain
Might load his harvest in an empty wain,
And beat the woods, to find the poor oak’s hungry grain.

The swelling sea seethes in his angry waves,

And smites the earth that dares the traitors nourish;
Yet oft his thunder their light cork outbraves,

Mowing the mountains, on whose temples flourish

Whole woods of garlands, and their pride to cherish, Plough through the sea’s green fields, and nets display To catch the flying winds, and steal away, Cozening the greedy sea, prisoning their nimble prey.

How often have I seen the waving pine,

Tossed on a watery mountain, knock his head At heaven's too-patient gates, and with salt brine

Quench the moon's burning horns; and safely fled

From heaven's revenge, her passengers, all dead
With swift astonishment, tumble to hell!
How oft the sea all earth would overswell,
Did not thy sandy girdle bind the mighty well!

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