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Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,
Weaved in my low devout melancholy,
Thou which of good, hast, yea art treasury,
All changing unchanged Ancient of days,
But do not, with a vile crown of frail bays,
Reward my muses with sincerity,
But what thy thorny crown gained, that give me
A crown of glory, which doth flower always ;
The ends crown our works, but thou crown'st our ends,
For at our ends begins our endless rest,
The first last end, now zealously possest,
With a strong sober thirst, my soul attends.
It is time that heart and voice be lifted high,
Salvation to all that will is nigh.
II. ANNUNCIATION. SALVATION to all that will is nigh, That All, which always is All everywhere, Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear, Which cannot die, yet cannot chose but die, Lo, faithful Virgin, yields himself to lie In prison, in thy womb, and though he there Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet he will wear Taken from thence, flesh, which deaths force may try. Ere by the spheres time was created, thou Wast in his mind, who is thy Son, and Brother, Whom thou conceives, conceived ; yea thou art now Thy Maker's maker, and thy Father's mother, Thou hast light in dark, and shut in little room, Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.
IMMENSITY cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves his well beloved imprisonment,
There he hath made himself to his intent
Weak enough, now into our world to come ;
But Oh, for thee, for him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars, and wise men will travel to prevent
The effects of Herod's jealous general doom ;
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith's eyes, how he
Which fills all place, yet none holds him, doth lio?
Was not his pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss him, and with him into Egypt go,
With his kind mother, who partakes thy woe.
IV. TEMPLE. With his kind mother who partakes thy woe, Joseph turn back; see where your child doth sit, Blowing, yea blowing out those sparks of wit, Which himself on the doctor's did bestow; The Word but lately could not speak, and lo It suddenly speaks wonders, whence comes it, That all which was, and all which should be writ, A shallow seeming child, should deeply know? His Godhead was not soul to his manhood, Nor had time mellow'd him to this ripeness, But as for one which hath a long task, it is good, With the sun to begin his business, He in his ages morning thus began By miracles exceeding power of man.
V. CRUCIFYING. By miracles exceeding power of man, He faith in some, envy in some begat, For, what weak spirits admire, ambitious hate ; In both affections many to him ran, But Oh! the worst are most, they will and can, Alas, and do, unto the immaculate, Whose creature Fate is, now prescribe a Fate, Measuring self-life's infinity to span,
Nay to an inch, lo, where condemned he
Bears his own cross, which yet by and bye
When it bears him, he must bear more and die ;
Now thou art lifted up, draw me to thee,
And at thy death giving such liberal dole,
Moist, with one drop of thy blood, my dry soul.
Moist, with one drop of thy blood, my dry soul,
Shall (though she now be in extreme degree
Too stony hard, and yet too fleshly,) be
Freed by that drop, from being starved, hard, or foul,
And life, by this death able, shall controul
Death, whom thy death slew ; nor shall to me
Fear of first or last death, bring misery,
If in thy little book my name thou enroll,
Flesh in that long sleep is not putrefied,
But made that there, of which, and for which it was ;
Nor can by other means be glorified.
May then sins sleep, and death soon from me pass,
That waked from both, I again risen may
Salute the last, and everlasting day.
Salute the last, and everlasting day,
Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son,
Ye whose just tears, or tribulation
Have purely washed, or burnt your drossy clay ;
Behold the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the dark clouds, which he treads upon,
Nor doth he by ascending, show alone,
But first he, and he first enters the way,
O strong Ram, which hath batter'd heaven for me,
Mild Lamb, which with thy blood, has mark'd the path ;
Bright torch, which shin'st that I the way may see,
Oh, with thy own blood quench thy own just wrath,
And if thy holy Spirit, my muse did raise,
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise.
VIII. As due by many titles I resign Myself to thee, O God; first I was made By thee, and for thee, and when I was decayed Thy blood bought that, the which before was thine, I am thy son, made with thyself to shine, Thy servant, whose pains thou hast still repaid, Thy sheep, thine Image, and till I betrayed Myself, a temple of thy Spirit divine; Why doth the devil then usurp on me! Why doth he steal, nay ravish, that's thy right? Except thou rise and for thine own work fight, Oh I shall soon despair, when I do see That thou lov'st mankind well, yet wilt not chose me. And Satan hates me, yet is loth to loose me.
On my black soul ! now thou art summond
By sickness, death's herald, and champion ;
Thou art like a pilgrim, which abroad hath done
Treason, and durst not turn to whence he is fled,
Or like a thief, which till death's doom be read,
Wisheth himself deliver'd from prison ;
But damn'd and haled to execution,
Wisheth that still he might be imprisoned ;
Yet grace, if thou repent, thou canst not lack;
But who shall give thee that grace to begin?
Oh make thyself with holy mourning black,
And red with blushing, as thou art with sin ;
Or wash thee in Christ's blood, which hath this might,
That being red, it dyes red souls to white.
This is my play's last scene; here heavens appoint
My pilgrimages last mile; and my race
Idly, yet quickly run, hath this last pace,
My spans last inch, my minutes latest point,
And gluttonous death, will instantly unjoint
My body, and my soul, and I shall sleep a space,
But my ever-waking part shall see that face,
Whose fear already shakes my every joint:
Then, as my soul, to heaven her first seat, takes flight,
And earth born body, in the earth shall dwell,
So, fall my sins, that all may have their right,
To where they are bred, and would press me to hell.
Impute me righteous, thus purged of evil,
For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devil.
Ar the round earth's imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, your numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter'd bodies go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom war, death, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance, hath slain, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never taste deaths woe :
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For, if above all these, my sins abound,
It is late to ask abundance of thy grace,
When we are there ; here on this lowly ground,
Teach me how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.
If poisonous minerals, and if that tree,
Whose fruit threw death on else immortal us,
If lecherous goats, if serpents envious
Cannot he damn'd; Alas; why should I be?
Why should intent or reason, born in me,
Make sins, else equal, in me, more heinous ?
And mercy being easy, and glorious
To God, in his stern wrath, why threatens he?
But who am I, that dare dispute with thee?
O God, Oh ! of thine only worthy blood,
And my tears, make a heavenly Lethean flood,
And drown it in my sins black memory,
That thou remember them, some claim as debt:
I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.