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So, taking flesh of sacred virgins wombe,
For mans deare sake he did a man become.
And that most blessed bodie, which was borne
Without all blemish or reprochfull blame,
He freely gave to be both rent and torne
Of cruell hands, who with despightfull shame
Revyling him, that them most vile became,
At length him nayled on a gallow-tree,
And slew the iust by most uniust decree.
O huge and most unspeakeable impression
Of loves deep wound, that pierst the piteous hart
Of that deare Lord with so entyre affection,
And, sharply launcing every inner part,
Dolours of death into his soule did dart,
Doing him die that never it deserved,
To free his foes, that from his heast had swerved!
What hart can feel least touch of so sore launch,
Or thought can think the depth of so deare wound?
Whose bleeding sourse their streames yet never
But stil do flow, and freshly stil redownd,
To heale the sores of sinfull soules unsound,
And clense the guilt of that infected cryme
Which was enrooted in all fleshly slyme.
O blessed Well of Love! O Floure of Grace !
O glorious Morning-Starre! O Lampe of Light !
Most lively image of thy Fathers face,
Eternal King of Glorie, Lord of Might,
Meeke Lambe of God, before all worlds behight,
How can we thee requite for all this good ?
Or what can prize that thy most precious blood?
Yet nought thou ask’st in lieu of all this love,
But love of us, for guerdon of thy paine :
Ay me! what can us lesse than that behove?
Had he required life for us againe,
Had it beene wrong to ask his owne with gaine?
He gave us life, he it restored lost;
Then life were least, that us so little cost.
But he our life hath left unto us free,
Free that was thrall, and blessed that was band;
Ne ought demaunds but that we loving bee,
As he himselfe hath lov'd us afore-hand,
And bound therto with an eternall band,
Ilim first to love that was so dearely bought,
And next our brethren, to his image wrought.
Him first to love great right and reason is,
Who first to us our life and being gave,
And after, when we fared had amisse,
Us wretches from the second death did save;
And last, the food of life, which now we have,
Even he himselfe, in his dear sacrament,
To feede our hungry soules, unto us lent.
Then next, to love our brethren, that were made
Of that selfe mould, and that self Maker's hand,
That we, unto the same againe shall fade,
Where they shall have like heritage of land,
However here on higher steps we stand,
Which also were with selfe-same price redeemed
That we, however of us light esteemed.
And were they not, yet since that loving Lord
Commaunded us to love them for his sake,
Even for his sake, and for his sacred word,
Which in his last bequest he to us spake,
We should them love, and with their needs partake;
Knowing that, whatsoere to them we give,
We give to him by whom we all doe live.
Such mercy he by his most holy reede
Unto us taught, and to approve it trew,
Ensampled it by his most righteous deede,
Shewing us mercie (miserable crew!)
That we the like should to the wretches shew,
And love our brethren; thereby to approve
How much, himselfe that loved us, we love.
Then rouze thy selfe, O Earth! out of thy soyle,
In which thou wallowest like to filthy swyne,
And doest thy mynd in durty pleasures moyle;
Unmindfull of that dearest Lord of thyne;
Lift up to him thy heavie clouded eyne,
That thou this soveraine bountie mayst behold,
And read, through love, his mercies manifold.
Beginne from first, where he encradled was
In simple cratch, wrapt in a wad of hay,
Betweene the toylfull oxe and humble asse,
And in what rags, and in how base array,
The glory of our heavenly riches lay,
When him the silly shepheards came to see,
Whom greatest princes sought on lowest knee.
From thence reade on the storie of his life,
His humble carriage, his unfaulty wayes,
His cancred foes, his fights, his toyle, his strife,
His paines, his povertie, his sharpe assayes,
Through which he past his miserable dayes,
Offending none, and doing good to all,
Yet being malist both by great and small.
And look at last, how of most wretched wights
He taken was, betrayd, and false accused,
How with most scornfull taunts, and fell despights,
He was revyld, disgrast, and foule abused;
How scourgd, how crownd, how buffeted, how
brused; And, lastly, how twixt robbers crucifyde, With bitter wounds through hands, through feet,
Then let thy flinty hart, that feeles no paine,
Empierced be with pittifull remorse,
And let thy bowels bleede in every vaine,
At sight of his most sacred heavenly corse,
So torne and mangled with malicious forse;
And let thy soule, whose sins his sorrows wrought,
Melt into teares, and grone in grieved thought.
With sence whereof, whilest so thy softened spirit Is inly toucht, and humbled with meeke zeale Through meditation of his endlesse merit,
Lift up thy mind to th’ Author of thy weale, ! And to his soveraine mercie doe appeale;
Learne him to love that loved thee so deare,
And in thy brest his blessed image beare.
With all thy hart, with all thy soule and mind, Thou must him love, and his beheasts embrace; All other loves, with which the world doth blind Weake fancies, and stirre up affections base, Thou must renounce and utterly displace,
And give thy selfe unto him full and free,
That full and freely gave himselfe to thee.
Then shalt thou feele thy spirit so possest,
And ravisht with devouring great desire
Of his dear selfe, that shall thy feeble brest
Inflame with love, and set thee all on fire
With burning zeale, through every part entire,
That in no earthly thing thou shalt delight,
But in his sweet and amiable sight.
Thenceforth all worlds desire will in thee dye,
And all Earthes glorie, on which men do gaze,
Seeme durt and drosse in thy pure-sighted eye,
Compar'd to that celestiall beauties blaze,
Whose glorious beames all fleshly sense doth daze
With admiration of their passing light,
Blinding the eyes, and lumining the spright.
Then shall thy ravisht soul inspired bee
With heavenly thoughts, farre above humane skil,
And thy bright radiant eyes shall plainely see
Th’idee of his pure glorie present still
Before thy face, that all thy spirits shall fill
With sweete enragement of celestiall love,
Kindled through sight of those faire things above.