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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.
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
Not as the world esteems her, deaf and blind;
Her eye with heavens, so, and more brightly shined
Her lamping3 sight : for she the same could wind
1 One of the horses of the sun. 2 Brightness of the sunrise.
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,
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.
To fling the world's rude dunghill, and the dross
And thine own seat, that here the child of loss
Of all the lower heaven, the curse, and cross,
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.
When she that out of his own side was made,
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
And, like the stars of heaven in midst of night,
Are but the dens where idol-snakes delight
Again to cover Satan from their sight:
The fitting air, and the swift-winged hours,
And sentinel about the walled towers
And, lest their pleasant gods should want delight,
And worse than all these, man, and worst of men,
And drunk with the vine's purple blood; and then
The Fiend himself they conjure from his den,
All that he speaks (and all he speaks are lies,)
Are oracles ; 'tis he (that wounded all,)
That gives them light, he (that death first did call
Into the world,) that with his orizal
But let him in his cabin restless rest,
The dungeon of dark flames and freezing fire.
To God, and of his angels doth require
Sin's punishment; of what I did desire,
The Judge to whom I sue, just to requite him;
Justice herself the plaintiff to indict him;
4 Neptune, god of the sea. 5 Aphrodite, the Grecian name of Venus.
He against whom, wicked, unjust, impure;
The Judge might partial be, and over-prayed ;
The place appealed from, in whose courts he sues ;
The parties self-accused that did accuse;
Angels for pardon might their prayers use;
What should I tell how barren earth has grown,
All for to starve her children? didst not Thou
And drop down clouds of flowers ? didst not Thou bow
Thine easy ear unto the ploughman's vow?
The swelling sea seethes in his angry waves,
And smites the earth that dares the traitors nourish;
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