Page images


O roofs of gold o'er riotous tables shining,
Whole days and suns devour'd with endless

No sails of Tyrian silk, proud pavements sweeping,
Nor ivory couches costlier slumber keeping;
False lights of flaring gems; tumultuous joys;
Halls full of flattering men and frisking boys;
Whate'er false shows of short and slippery good
Mix the mad sons of men in mutual blood.
But walks and unshorn woods; and souls, just so
Unforced and genuine; but not shady though.
Our lodgings hard and homely as our fare,
That chaste and cheap, as the few clothes we wear ;
Those, coarse and negligent, as the natural locks
Of these loose groves; rough as th' unpolish'd rocks.
A hasty portion of prescribed sleep;
Obedient slumbers, that can wake and
And sing, and sigh, and work, and sleep again;
Still rolling a round sphere of still-returning pain.
Hands full of hearty labours; pains that pay
And prize themselves; do much, that more they


1 One may call to mind in reading this poem that Crashaw was a friend of Nicholas Ferrar, who had a house known to cavillers as the "Protestant nunnery" at Little Gidding during the reigns of James 1. and Charles I. This place was destroyed by the Rebels in 1646.

And work for work, not wages; let to-morrow's
New drops, wash off the sweat of this day's sorrows.
A long and daily-dying life, which breathes
A respiration of reviving deaths.

But neither are there those ignoble stings
That nip the blossom of the World's best things,
And lash Earth-labouring souls. . . .
No cruel guard of diligent cares, that keep
Crown'd woes awake, as things too wise for sleep:
But reverent discipline, and religious fear,
And soft obedience, find sweet biding here;
Silence, and sacred rest; peace, and pure joys;
Kind loves keep house, lie close, and make no noise ;
And room enough for monarchs, while none swells
Beyond the kingdoms of contentful cells.
The self-rememb'ring soul sweetly recovers
Her kindred with the stars; not basely hovers
Below but meditates her immortal way
Home to the original source of Light and intel-
lectual day.




KNOW you, fair, on what you look?

Divinest love lies in this book:

Expecting fire from your fair eyes,
To kindle this his sacrifice.
When your hands untie these strings,
Think you've an angel by the wings;

One that gladly will be nigh,
To wait upon each morning sigh;
To flutter in the balmy air,
Of your well-perfumed prayer.
These white plumes of his he'll lend you,
Which every day to Heaven will send you:
To take acquaintance of the sphere,
And all the smooth-faced kindred there.
And though Herbert's name do owe 1
These devotions; fairest, know
While I thus lay them on the shrine
Of your white hand, they are mine.






Foundress of the Reformation of the discalced Carmelites, both men and women; a woman for angelical height of speculation, for masculine courage of performance more than a woman; who yet a child outran maturity, and durst plot a martyrdom.

Misericordias Domini in Eternum Cantabo.


LOVE, thou art absolute sole lord
Of life and death. To prove

the word

We'll now appeal to none of all
Those thy old soldiers, great and tall,


1 Own.

2 The early Saints. St. Teresa was born at Avila, in Spain, 1515.

Ripe men of martyrdom, that could reach down,

With strong arms, their triumphant crown;
Such as could with lusty breath,

Speak loud into the face of Death

Their great Lord's glorious Name, to none Of those whose spacious bosoms spread a throne

For Love at large to fill; spare blood and


- And see him take a private seat,
Making his mansion in the mild
And milky soul of a soft child.

Scarce has she learnt to lisp the name
Of martyr; yet she thinks it shame
Life should so long play with that breath
Which spent can buy so brave a death.
She never undertook to know

What Death with Love should have to do;
Nor has she e'er yet understood
Why to show love, she should shed blood,
Yet though she cannot tell you why,
She can love, and she can die.

Scarce has she blood enough to make
A guilty sword blush for her sake ;
Yet has she a heart dares hope to prove
How much less strong is Death than Love.
Be Love but ere, let poor six years
Be posed with the maturest fears
Man trembles at, you straight shall find
Love knows no nonage,1 nor the mind;
'Tis love, not years or limbs that can
Make the martyr, or the man.

1 Immaturity.

Love touched her heart, and lo it beats
High, and burns with such brave heats;
Such thirsts to die, as dares drink up
A thousand cold deaths in one cup.
Good reason; for she breathes all fire;
Her white breast heaves with strong desire
Of what she may, with fruitless wishes,
Seek for amongst her mother's kisses.
Since 'tis not to be had at home
She'll travel to a martyrdom.
No home for hers confesses she
But where she may a martyr be.

She'll to the Moors; and trade with them

For this unvalued diadem:

She'll offer them her dearest breath,

With Christ's name in't, in change for death:
She'll bargain with them, and will give
Them God, teach them how to live
In Him; or, if they this deny,

For Him she'll teach them how to die.
So shall she leave amongst them sown
Her Lord's blood, or at least her own.

Farewell then, all the World adieu ;
Teresa is no more for you.
Farewell, all pleasures, sports, and joys
(Never till now esteemed toys)
Farewell, whatever dear may be,
Mother's arms, or father's knee :
Farewell house, and farewell home!
She's for the Moors, and martyrdom.

Sweet, not so fast! lo, thy fair Spouse
Whom thou seek'st with so swift vows;
Calls thee back, and bids thee come
T' embrace a milder martyrdom.

« PreviousContinue »