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Blest powers forbid, thy tender life
Should bleed upon a barbarous knife :
Or some base hand have power to rase
Thy breast's chaste cabinet, and uncase
A soul kept there so sweet Ono,
Wise Heaven will never have it so.
Thou art Love's victim; and must die
A death more mystical and high:
Into Love's arms thou shalt let fall
A still-surviving funeral.
His is the dart must make the death
Whose stroke shall taste thy hallowed
A dart thrice dipp'd in that rich flame
Which writes thy Spouse's radiant Name
Upon the roof of Heaven, where aye
It shines; and with a sovereign ray
Beats bright upon the burning faces
Of souls which in that Name's sweet
Find everlasting smiles: so rare,
So spiritual, pure, and fair
Must be th' immortal instrument
Upon whose choice point shall be sent
A life so loved: and that there be
Fit executioners for thee,
The fairest and first-born sons of fire.
Blest seraphim, shall leave their quire,
And turn Love's soldiers, upon thee
To exercise their archery.
O how oft shalt thou complain
Of a sweet and subtle pain :
Of intolerable joys:
Of a death, in which who dies
Loves his death, and dies again,
And would for ever so be slain.
And lives, and dies; and knows not why
To live, but that he thus may never leave to die.
How kindly will thy gentle heart
Kiss the sweetly-killing dart,
And close in his embraces keep
Those delicious wounds, that weep
Balsam to heal themselves with; thus
When these thy deaths, so numerous,
Shall all at last die into one,
And melt thy soul's sweet mansion;
Like a soft lump of incense, hasted
By too hot a fire, and wasted
Into perfuming clouds, so fast
Shalt thou exhale to Heaven at last
In a resolving sigh and then
O what? Ask not the tongues of men ;
Angels cannot tell; suffice
Thyself shalt feel thine own full joys,
And hold them fast for ever there.
So soon as thou shalt first appear,
The moon of maiden stars, thy white
Mistress, attended by such bright
Souls as thy shining self, shall come
And in her first ranks make thee room;
Where 'mongst her snowy family
Immortal welcomes wait for thee.
O what delight, when revealed Life shall stand,
And teach thy lips Heaven with His hand;
On which thou now may'st to thy wishes
Heap up thy consecrated kisses.
What joys shall seize thy soul, when She,1
Bending her blessed eyes on Thee,
(Those second smiles of Heaven,) shall dart
Her mild rays through Thy melting heart.
Angels, thy old friends, there shall greet thee,
Glad at their own home now to meet thee.
All thy good works which went before
And waited for thee, at the door,
Shall own thee there; and all in one
Weave a constellation
Of crowns, with which the King thy Spouse
Shall build up thy triumphant brows.
All thy old woes shall now smile on thee,
And thy pains sit bright upon thee,
All thy sorrows here shall shine,
All thy sufferings be divine :
Tears shall take comfort, and turn gems,
And wrongs repent to diadems.
Even thy death shall live; and new
Dress the soul, that erst he slew.
Thy wounds shall blush to such bright scars
As keep account of the Lamb's wars.
Those rare works where thou shalt leave writ
Love's noble history, with wit 2
Taught thee by none but Him, while here
They feed our souls, shall clothe thine there.
Each heavenly word, by whose hid flame
Our hard hearts shall strike fire, the same
Shall flourish on thy brows, and be
Both fire to us and flame to thee;
Whose light shall live bright in thy face.
By glory, in our hearts by grace.
1 The Blessed Virgin.
Thou shalt look round about, and see Thousands of crown'd souls throng to be Themselves thy crown: sons of thy vows, The virgin-births with which thy sovereign Spouse Made fruitful thy fair soul. Go now And with them all about thee, bow To Him; put on, (He'll say,) put on (My rosy love) that thy rich zone Sparkling with the sacred flames Of thousand souls, whose happy names Heaven keep upon thy score: (Thy bright Life brought them first to kiss the light, That kindled them to stars,) and so Thou with the Lamb, thy Lord, shalt go, And wheresoe'er He sets His white Steps, walk with Him those ways of light, Which who in death would live to see, Must learn in life to die like thee.
AN APOLOGY FOR THE FOREGOING HYMN
AS HAVING BEEN WRIT WHEN THE AUTHOR WAS YET AMONG THE PROTESTANTS
THUS HUS have I back again to thy bright name, (Fair flood of holy fires!) transfus'd1 the flame
I took from reading thee; 'tis to thy wrong,
I know, that in my weak and worthless song
Thou here art set to shine, where thy full day
Scarce dawns. O pardon, if I dare to say
1Thus have I given back the flame I took from reading thee.
Thine own dear books 1 are guilty. For from
I learn'd to know that Love is eloquence.
That hopeful maxim gave me heart to try
If, what to other tongues is tuned so high,
Thy praise might not speak English too : forbid
(By all thy mysteries that there lie hid)
Forbid it, mighty Love! let no fond hate
Of names and words so far prejudicate.
Souls are not Spaniards too: one friendly flood
Of Baptism blends them all into a blood.
Christ's Faith makes but one body of all souls,
And Love's that body's soul; no law controls
Our free traffic for Heaven; we may maintain
Peace, sure, with piety, though it come from
What soul soe'er in any language, can
Speak Heav'n like hers, is my soul's countryman.
O'tis not Spanish, but 'tis Heav'n she speaks,
'Tis Heav'n that lies in ambush there, and breaks
From thence into the wondering reader's breast;
Who feels his warm heart hatch into a nest
Of little eagles and young loves, whose high
Flights scorn the lazy dust, and things that die.
There are enow whose draughts (as deep as Hell)
Drink up all Spain in sack. Let my soul swell
With the strong wine of Love: let others swim
In puddles; we will pledge these Seraphim 2
1 St. Teresa was a great mystical Saint. In her books she gives Mysticism almost the appearance of an exact science. Among her books are, her Autobiography, The Interior Castle, The Way of Perfection, and The Book of the Foundations.
2 An emblem of St. Teresa.