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U PON THE TRANSLATION OF THE PSALMS,
By Sir Philip SIDNEY AND THE COUNTESS OF PEMBROKE.
ETERNAL God! (for whom whoever dare
Seek new expressions, do the circle square,
And thrust into strait corners of poor wit
Thee, who art cornerless and infinite)
I would but bless thy name, not name thee now;
(And thy gifts are as infinite as thou:)
Fix we our praises therefore on this one,
That as thy blessed spirit fell upon
These Psalms' first author in a cloven tongue,
(For 'twas a double power by which he sung,
The highest matter in the noblest form)
So thou hast cleft that spirit, to perform
That work again, and shed it here upon
Two, by their bloods and by thy spirit one;
A brother and a sister, made by thee
The organ, where thou art the harmony;
Two that made one John Baptist's holy voice;
And who that Psalm, “now let the isles rejoice,"
Have both translated, and applied it too ;
Both told us what, and taught us how to do.
They show us islanders our joy, our king;
They tell us why, and teach us how to sing.
Make all this all, three choirs, heaven, earth, and spheres ;
The first, heaven, hath a song, but no man hears :
The spheres have music, but they have no tongue,
Their harmony is rather danced than sung;
But one third choir, to which the first gives ear,
(For angels learn by what the church does hear)
This choir hath all. The organist is he
Who hath tuned God and man, the organ we:
The songs are these, which Heaven's high holy muse
Whispered to David, David to the Jews,
And David's successors in holy zeal,
In forms of joy and art, do re-reveal
To us so sweetly and sincerely too,
That I must not rejoice as I would do,
When I behold that these Psalms are become
So well attired abroad, so ill at home;
So well in chambers, in thy church so ill, As I can scarce call that reformed until This be reformed. Would a whole state present A lesser gift than some one man hath sent? And shall our church unto our spouse and king More hoarse, more harsh, than any other, sing? For that we pray, we praise thy name for this, Which by this Moses, and this Miriam is Already done ; and, as those Psalms we call (Though some have other authors) David's all ; So though some have, some may some psalms translate, We thy Sydnean psalms shall celebrate; And till we come th' extemporal song to sing, (Learned the first hour that we see the king, Who hath translated those translators,) may These, their sweet learned labours, all the way Be as our tuning, that when hence we part, We may fall in with them and sing our part.
The state and men's affairs are the best plays
Next yours: 'tis not more nor less than due praise.
Write, but touch not the much-descending race
Of lords' houses, so settled in worth's place,
As but themselves none think them usurpers ;
It is no fault in thee to suffer theirs.
If the queen masque, or king a hunting go,
Though all the court follow, let them. We know
Like them in goodness that court ne'er will be,
For that were virtue, and not flattery.
Forget we were thrust out. It is but thus
God threatens kings, kings lords, as lords do us.
Judge of strangers, trust and believe your friend,
And so me; and when I true friendship end,
With guilty conscience let me be worse stung
Than with Popham's sentence thieves, or Cook's tongue
Traitors are. Friends are ourselves. This I thee tell
As to my friend, and myself as counsel. -
Let for a while the time's unthrifty rout
Contemn learning, and all your studies flout:
Let them scorn hell, they will a serjeant fear
More than we them, that ere long God may forbear,
But creditors will not. Let them increase
In riot and excess, as their means cease:
Let them scorn him that made them, and still shun
His grace, but love the whore who hath undone
Them and their souls. But that they that allow
But one God, should have religious enow,
For the queen's masque, and their husbands for more
Than all the Gentiles knew or Atlas bore.
Well, let all pass, and trust him who not cracks
The bruised seed, nor quencheth smoking flax.
AFTER HE HAD TAKEN Orders.
Thou, whose diviner soul hath caused thee now
To put thy hand unto the holy plough,
Making lay-scornings of the ministry
Not an impediment, but victory;
What bring'st thou home with thee? how is thy mind
Affected since the vintage? dost thou find
New thoughts and strings within thee? and, as steel
Touch'd with a loadstone, dost new motions feel?
Or as a ship, after much pain and care,
For iron and cloth, brings home rich Indian ware?
Hast thou thus traffick’d, but with far more gain
Of noble goods, and with less time and pain?
Thou art the same materials as before,
Only the stamp is changed, but no more.
And as new-crowned kings alter the face,
But not the money's substance, so hath grace
Chang'd only God's old image by creation
To Christ's new stamp, at this thy coronation;
Or as we paint angels with wings, because
They bear God's message, and proclaim his laws:
Since thou must do the like, and so must move,
Art thou new-feather’d with celestial love
Dear! tell me where thy purchase lies, and show What thy advantage is above below : But if thy gainings do surmount expression, Why doth the foolish world scorn that profession Whose joys pass speech? Why do they think unfit That gentry should join families with it? As if their day were only to be spent In dressing, mistressing, and compliment. Alas! poor joys, but poorer men, whose trust Seems richly placed in sublimed dust ! (For such are clothes and beauty, which, though gay, Are at the best but of sublimed clay.). Let then the word thy calling disrespect, But go thou on, and pity their neglect. What function is so noble as to be Embassador to God and destiny? To open life, to give kingdoms to more Than kings give dignities; to keep heaven's door? Mary's prerogative was to bear Christ ; so 'Tis preachers' to convey him, for they do As angels out of clouds, from pulpits speak, And bless the poor beneath, the lame, the weak; If then th’astronomers, whereas they spy A new-found star, their opties magnify, How brave are those who with their engine can Bring man to heav'n, and heav'n again to man? These are thy titles and pre-eminences, In whom must meet God's graces, men's offences ; And so the heav'ns which beget all things here, And th’ earth, our mother, which these things doth bear, Both these in thee are in thy calling knit, And make thee now a blest hermaphrodite.
SENT HIM WITH ONE OF JY SEALS OF THE ANCHOR AND Christ.
Qui priùs assuetus serpentum fasce tabellas
Signare (hæc nostræ symbola parva domûs)
Adscitus domui Domini, patrioque relicto
Stemmate, nanciscor stemmata jure nova.
Hinc mihi crux, primo quæ fronti impressa lavacro,
Finibus extensis, anchora facta patet.
Anchora in effigem crux tandem desinit ipsam.
Anchora fit tandem crux tolerata diu.
Hoc tamen ut fiat, Christo vegetatur ab ipso
Crux, et ab affixo est anchora facta Jesu.
Nec natalitiis penitus serpentibus orbor;
Non ita dat Deus, ut auferat ante data.
Quà sapiens, dos est; quà terram lambit et ambit,
Pestis ; at in nostrâ fit medicina cruce
Serpens ; fixa cruci si sit natura ; crucique
A fixo nobis gratia tota fluat.
Omnia cum crux sint, crux anchora fixa, sigillum
Nontam dicendum hoc, quàm catechismus erit.
Mitto, nec exigua, exiguâ sub imagine, dona,
Pignora amicitiæ, et munera, vota, preces.
Plura tibi accumulet sanctus cognominis ille,
Regia qui flavo dona sigillat equo.
A Shear of SNAKES USED HERETOFORE TO MY SEAL, The CREST
OF OUR POOR FAMILY.
ADOPTED in God's family, and so
Our old coat lost, unto new arms I go.
The cross (my seal at baptism) spread below,
Does by that form into an anchor grow.
Crosses grow anchors: bear as thou shouldst do,
Thy cross, and that cross grows an anchor too.
But he that makes our crosses anchors thus
Is Christ, who there is crucified for us.
Yet may I, with this, my first serpents hold;
God gives new blessings, and yet leaves the old.
The serpent may, as wise, my pattern be;
My poison, as he feeds on dust, that's me :
And as he rounds the earth to murder sure,
My death he is, but on the cross my cure.
Crucify nature then, and then implore
All grace from him crucified there before.
When all is cross, and that cross anchor grown,
This seal is a catechism, not a seal alone.
Under that little seal great gifts I send,
Works, and prayers, pawns and fruits of a friend,
And may that saint which rides in our great seal
To you who bear his name great bounties deal.