Page images

A man was first the author of our fall,

A Man is now the author of our rise:
A garden was the place we perished all,

A garden is the place He pays our price:

And the old serpent, with a new device, Hath found a way himself for to beguile; So he, that all men tangled in his wile, Is now by one Man caught, beguiled with his own guile.

The dewy night had with her frosty shade

Immantled all the world, and the stiff ground
Sparkled in ice; only the Lord that made

All for Himself, Himself dissolved found,

Sweat without heat, and bled without a wound; Of heaven and earth, and God and man forlore, Thrice begging help of those whose sins he bore, And thrice denied of one, not to deny had swore.


But long he stood, in his faint arms upholding

The fairest spoil heaven ever forfeited, With such a silent passion grief unfolding,

That, had the sheet but on himself been spread,

He for the corse might have been buried;
And with him stood the happy thief that stole
By night his own salvation, and a shoal
Of Maries, drowned, round about him sat in dole.

At length (kissing his lips before he spake,

As if from thence he fetched again his ghost,)
To Mary thus, with tears, his silence brake:

“Ah, woeful soul! what joy in all our coast,
When Him we hold we have already lost?

[ocr errors]

Once didst thou lose thy son, but foundst again;
Now findst thy son, but findst Him lost and slain.
Ah me! though He could death, how canst thou life sustain ?

Where'er, dear Lord, thy shadow hovereth,

Blessing the place wherein it deigns abide, Look how the earth dark horror covereth,

Clothing in mournful black her naked side,

Willing her shadow up to heaven to glide,
To see and if it meet Thee wandering there;
That so, and if herself must miss Thee here,
At least her shadow may her duty to Thee bear.

See how the sun in day-time clouds his face,

And lagging Vesper, loosing his late team, Forgets to heaven to run his nightly race;

But, sleeping on bright Eta's top, doth dream

The world a Chaos is; no joyful beam
Looks from his starry bower, the heavens do moan,
And trees drop tears, lest we should grieve alone;
The winds have learned to sigh, and waters hoarsely groan.

And you, sweet flowers, that in this garden grow,

Whose happy states a thousand souls envy, Did you your own felicities but know,

Yourselves up-plucked, would to his funeral hie

You never could in better season die:
Oh! that I might into your places slide!
The gate of heaven stands gaping in his side ;
Therein my soul should steal, and all her faults should hide.

Are these the eyes that made all others blind?

Ah! why are they themselves now blemished ? Is this the face in which all beauty shined ?

What blast hath thus his flowers debellished ?

Are these the feet that on the watery head
Of the unfaithful ocean passage found?
Why go they now so lowly under ground,
Washed with our worthless tears, and their own precious wound ?

One hem but of the garments that He wore

Could medicine whole countries of their pain ;
One touch of this pale hand could life restore,

One word of these cold lips revive the slain.

Well the blind man thy Godhead might maintain.
What though the sullen Pharisee repined ?
He that should both compare, at length would find
The blind man only saw, the seers all were blind.
Why should they think Thee worthy to be slain?

Was it because Thou gavest their blind men eyes?
Or that Thou madest their lame to walk again?

Or for Thou healedst their sick men's maladies?

Or madest their dumb to speak, and dead to rise?
Oh! could all these but any grace have won,
What could they not to save thy life have done?
The dumb man would have spoke, the lame man would have run.
Let me, oh! let me near some fountain lie,

That through the rock heaves up his sandy head,
Or let me dwell upon some mountain high,

Whose hollow root and baser parts are spread

On fleeting waters, in his bowels bred,
That I their streams, and they my tears may feed;
Or, clothed in some hermit's ragged weed,
Spend all my days in weeping for this fatal deed.
The life, the which I once did love, I leave;

The love in which I once did love, I loathe;
I hate the light that did my light bereave:

Both love and life, I do despise you both.

Oh! that one grave might both our ashes clothe!
A love, a life, a light I now obtain,
Able to make my age grow young again-
Able to save the sick, and to revive the slain.
Thus spend we tears, that never can be spent-

On Him that sorrow now no more shall see;
Thus send we sighs, that never can be sent-

To Him that died to live, and would not be,
To be there where He would.-Here bury we

This heavenly earth; here let it softly sleep,
The fairest Shepherd of the fairest sheep."
So all the body kissed, and homeward went to weep.
So home their bodies went to seek repose,

But at the grave they left their souls behind.
Oh! who the force of love celestial knows,

That can the chains of nature's self unbind,

Sending the body home without the mind ! Ah! blessed Virgin! what high angel's art Can ever count thy tears, or sing thy smart, When every nail that pierced his hand did pierce thy heart ! So Philomel, perched on an aspen sprig,

Weeps all the night her lost virginity, And sings her sad tale to the merry twig

That dances at such joyful misery ;

Nor ever lets sweet rest invade her eye;
But, leaning on a thorn her dainty chest,
For fear soft sleep should steal into her breast,
Expresses in her song grief not to be expressed.
So when the lark (poor bird!) afar espyeth

Her yet unfeathered children (whom to save
She strives in vain,) slain by the fatal scythe,

Which from the meadow her green locks doth shave,

That their warm nest is now become their grave;
The woful mother up to heaven springs,
And all about her plaintive notes she flings,
And their untimely fate most pitifully sings.


Here may the band that now in triumph shines,

And that (before they were invested thus,)
In earthly bodies carried heavenly minds,

Pitch round about, in order glorious,
Their sunny tents and houses luminous;

All their eternal day in songs employing,
Joying their end without end of their joying,
While their Almighty Prince destruction is destroying.

Full, yet without satiety of that

Which whets and quiets greedy appetite, Where never sun did rise, nor ever sat,

But one eternal day and endless night

Gives time to those whose time is infinite-
Speaking with thought, obtaining without fee,
Beholding Him whom never eye could see,
And magnifying Him that cannot greater be.

How can such joy as this want words to speak?

And yet what words can speak such joy as this? Far from the world that might their quiet break,

Here the glad souls the face of beauty kiss,

Poured out in pleasure on their beds of bliss;
And, drunk with nectar torrents, ever hold
Their eyes on Him, whose graces manifold,
The more they do behold, the more they would behold.


Their sight drinks lovely fires in at their eyes,

Their brain sweet incense with fine breath accloys, That on God's sweating altar burning lies;

Their hungry ears feed on their heavenly noise

That angels sing to tell their untold joys;
Their understanding, naked truth, their wills,
The all and self-sufficient goodness fills,
That nothing here is wanting but the want of ills.

No sorrow now hangs clouding on their brow;

No bloodless malady empales their face; No age drops on their hairs his silver snow;

No nakedness their bodies doth embase;

No poverty themselves and theirs disgrace;
No fear of death the joy of life devours;
No unchaste sleep their precious time deflowers;
No loss, no grief, no change wait on their winged hours.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »