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POEMS NOT IN THE EDITION OF 1633.
TO THE LADY MAGDALEN HERBERT,
With the Poem following. MADAM,
Your favours to me are everywhere; I use them, and have them. I enjoy them at London, and leave them there; and yet find them at Mitcham. Such riddles as these become things inexpressible; and such is your goodness. I was almost sorry to find your servant here this day, because I was loth to have any witness of my not coming home last night, and indeed of my coming this morning; but my not coming was excusable, because earnest business detained me; and my coming this day is by the example of your St. Mary Magdalen, who rose early upon Sunday, to seek that which she loved most ; and so did I. And, from her and myself, I return such thanks as are due to one to whom we owe all the good opinion, that they whom we need must have of us. By this messenger, and on this good day, I commit the enclosed holy hymns and sonnets (which for the matter, not the workmanship, have yet escaped the fire) to your judgment, and to your protection too, if you think them worthy of it ; and I have appointed this enclosed sonnet to usher them to your happy hand.
Your unworthiest servant,
unless your accepting him to be so,
have mended him,
Mitcham, July 11, 1607.
TO THE LADY MAGDALEN HERBERT ; of St. Mary MAGDALEN.
Her of your name, whose fair inheritance
Bethina was, and jointure Magdalo;
An active faith so highly did advance,
That she once knew more than the church did know,
The resurrection; so much good there is
Delivered of her, that some fathers be
Loth to believe one woman could do this;
But think these Magdalens were two or three.
Increase their number, lady, and their fame;
To their devotion, add your innocence ;
Take so much of th' example as of the name ;
The latter half; and in some recompence
That they did harbour Christ himself a guest,
Harbour these hymns, to his dear name addrest.
ON THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY.
In that, O Queen of Queens! thy birth was free
From that which others doth of grace bereave,
When in their mother's womb they life receive,
God, as his sole-born daughter, loved thee.
To match thee like thy birth’s nobility,
He thee his spirit for thy spouse did leave,
By whom thou did’st his only Son conceive, And so wast link'd to all the Trinity. Cease then, O Queens ! that earthly crowns do wear,
To glory in the pomp of earthly things : If men such high respects unto you bear,
Which daughters, wives, and mothers, are of kings, What honour can unto that queen be done Who had your God for father, spouse, and son?
Death! be not proud : thy hand gave not this blow;
Sin was her captive, whence thy power doth flow :
The executioner of wrath thou art,
But to destroy the just is not thy part.
Thy coming terror, anguish, grief, denounces;
Her happy state, courage, ease, joy, pronounces.
From out the crystal palace of her breast,
The clearer soul was called to endless rest:
(Not by the thundering voice wherewith God threats,
But as with crowned saints in heaven he treats)
And, waited on by angels, home was brought,
To joy that it through many dangers sought ;
The key of mercy gently did unlock
The door 'twixt heaven and it, when life did knock.
Nor boast the fairest frame was made thy prey,
Because to mortal eyes it did decay:
A better witness than thou art, assures
That, though dissolved, it yet a space endures.
No dram thereof shall want, or loss sustain,
When her best soul inhabits it again.
Go then to people curst before they were,
Their souls in triumph to thy conquest bear.
Glory not thou thyself in these hot tears,
Which our face not for her, but our harm, wears.
The mourning livery given by grace, not thee,
Which wills our souls in these streams washt should be ;
And on our hearts, her memory's best tomb,
In this her epitaph doth write thy doom.
Blind were those eyes saw not how bright did shine,
Through flesh's misty veil, those beams divine :
Deaf were the ears not charmed with that sweet sound
Which did i' th' spirit's instructed voice abound;
Of flint the conscience, did not yield and melt
At what in her last act it saw and felt.
Weep not, nor grudge, then, to have lost her sight,
Taught thus our after-stay's but a short night;
But by all souls not by corruption chok'd,
Let in high-rais'd notes that pow'r be invok'd ;
Calm the rough seas by which she sails to rest,
From sorrows here ť a kingdom ever blest;
And teach this hymn of her with joy, and sing,
“ The grave no conquests gets, death hath no sting.”
On Himself. My fortune and my choice this custom break, When we are speechless grown to make stones speak ; Though no stone tell thee what I was, yet thou In my grave's inside see'st what thou art now: Yet thou’rt not yet so good; till death us lay To ripe and mellow, here we're stubborn clay. Parents make us earth, and souls dignify Us to be glass ; here to grow gold we lie. Whilst in our souls sin bred and pamper'd is, Our souls become worm-eaten carcases; So we ourselves miraculously destroy ; Here bodies with less miracle enjoy Such privileges, enabled here to scale Heav'n, when the trumpet's air shall them exhale. Hear this, and mend thyself, and thou mend’st me, By making me, being dead, do good for thee : And think me well composed, that I could now A last sick hour to syllables allow.
That I might make your cabinet my tomb,
And for my fame, which I love next my soul,
Next to my soul provide the happiest room,
Admit to that place this last funeral scroll.
Others by wills give legacies, but I,
Dying, of you do beg a legacy.
My fortune and my will this custom break,
When we are senseless grown, to make stones speak;
Though no stone tell thee what I was, yet thou
In my grave's inside see what thou art now.
Yet thou’rt not yet so good ; till us death lay
To ripe and mellow there, we're stubborn clay.
Parents make us earth, and souls dignify
Us to be glass; here to grow gold we lie.
Whilst in our souls sin bred and pamper'd is,
Our souls become worm-eaten carcases.
ODE. VENGEANCE will sit above our faults; but till She there do sit We see her not, nor them. Thus blind, yet still We lead her way; and thus, whilst we do ill, We suffer it. Unhappy he whom youth makes not beware Of doing ill : Enough we labour under age and care : In number the errors of the last place are The greatest still. Yet we, that should the ill we now begin As soon repent, (Strange thing!) perceive not; our faults are not seen, But past us; neither felt, but only in The punishment. But we know ourselves least ; mere outward shows Our minds so store, That our souls, no more than our eyes, disclose But form and colour: only he who knows Himself, knows more. Vol. VI.
UPON 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;