Page images
PDF
EPUB

Sweet Name, in Thy each syllable
A thousand blest Arabias1 dwell;
A thousand hills of frankincense ;
Mountains of myrrh, and beds of spices
And ten thousand Paradises,

The soul that tastes Thee takes from thence.
How many unknown worlds there are

Of comforts, which Thou hast been keeping!
How many thousand mercies there
In Pity's soft lap lie a-sleeping!
Happy he who has the art

To awake them,
And to take them

Home, and lodge them in his heart.

O that it were as it was wont to be,

When Thy old friends 2 of fire, all full of Thee, Fought against frowns with smiles; gave glorious

chase

To persecutions; and against the face

Of Death and fiercest dangers, durst with brave
And sober pace, march on to meet A GRAVE
On their bold breasts, about the world they bore
Thee,

And to the teeth of Hell stood up to teach 3 Thee, In centre of their inmost souls, they wore Thee;

Where racks and torments strove, in vain, to reach Thee.

Little, alas thought they

Who tore the fair breasts of Thy friends,
Their fury but made way

For Thee, and served them in Thy glorious ends.

1 Cf. Macbeth, v. 1; and Cymbeline, i. 6. 2 The saints.

3 To teach the world about Thee.

What did their weapons but with wider pores
Enlarge Thy flaming-breasted lovers,
More freely to transpire
That impatient fire,

The heart that hides Thee hardly covers?
What did their weapons but set wide the doors
For Thee? fair, purple doors, of Love's devising;
The ruby windows which enrich'd the East
Of Thy so oft-repeated rising;

Each wound of theirs was Thy new morning,
And re-enthroned Thee in Thy rosy nest,
With blush of Thine Own blood Thy day adorning :
It was the wit of Love o'erflow'd the bounds
Of Wrath, and made Thee way through all those
wounds.

Welcome, dear, all-adorèd Name!

For sure there is no knee
That knows not Thee:

Or, if there be such sons of shame,
Alas! what will they do
When stubborn rocks shall bow,

And hills hang down their heaven-saluting heads To seek for humble beds

Of dust, where in the bashful shades of Night,
Next to their own low Nothing, they may lie,
And couch before the dazzling light of Thy dread

majesty.

They that by Love's mild dictate now
Will not adore Thee,

Shall then, with just confusion bow

And break before Thee.

PSALM XXIII

HAPPY me, O happy sheep, Whom my God vouchsafes to keep;

Even my God, even He it is

That points me to these ways of bliss;
On Whose pastures cheerful Spring
All the year doth sit and sing,
And rejoicing, smiles to see
Their green backs wear His livery.
Pleasure sings my soul to rest,
Plenty wears me at her breast,
Whose sweet temper teaches me
Nor wanton, nor in want to be.
At my feet the blubbering mountain
Weeping, melts into a fountain,
Whose soft, silver-sweating streams
Make high-noon forget his beams:
When my wayward breath is flying,
He calls home my soul from dying,
Strokes and tames my rabid grief,
And does woo me into life:
When my simple weakness strays,
(Tangled in forbidden ways)
He (my Shepherd) is my guide,
He's before me, at my side,
And behind me; He beguiles
Craft in all her knotty wiles.
He expounds the weary wonder
Of my giddy steps, and under

Spreads a path clear as the day,
Where no churlish rub1 says nay
To my joy-conducted feet,
Whilst they gladly go to meet
Grace and Peace, to learn new lays
Tuned to my great Shepherd's praise.
Come now, all ye terrors sally,
Muster forth into the valley,
Where triumphant darkness hovers
With a sable wing, that covers
Brooding horror. Come, thou Death,
Let the damps of thy dull breath
Overshadow even the shade,
And make Darkness' self afraid;
There my feet, even there, shall find
Way for a resolvèd mind.
Still my Shepherd, still my God
Thou art with me; still Thy rod,
And Thy staff, whose influence
Gives direction, gives defence.
At the whisper of Thy word
Crown'd abundance spreads my
While I feast, my foes do feed
Their rank malice, not their need;
So that with the self-same bread
They are starved, and I am fed.
How my head in ointment swims,
How my cup o'erlooks her brims;
So, even so, still may I move
By the line of Thy dear love;

board:

1 A difficulty. Cf. Macbeth, iii. 1; Henry V., and Hamlet, iii. 1—

1

"To sleep, perchance to dream,
Ay, there's the rub."

ii. 2;

Still may Thy sweet mercy spread
A shady arm above my head,
About my paths; so shall I find
The fair centre of my mind,
Thy temple, and those lovely walls
Bright ever with a beam that falls
Fresh from th' pure glance of Thine eye,
Lighting to Eternity.

There I'll dwell for ever, there
Will I find a purer air,

To feed my life with; there I'll sup
Balm and nectar in my cup;

And thence my ripe soul will I breathe
Warm into the arms of Death.

PSALM CXXXVII

ΟΝ N the proud banks of great Euphrates' flood,
There we sate, and there we wept :
Our harps, that now no music understood,
Nodding, on the willows slept :

While unhappy captived we,
Lovely Sion, thought on thee.

They, they that snatch'd us from our country's breast

Would have a song carved 1 to their ears

In Hebrew numbers, then (O cruel jest)
When harps and hearts were drown'd in tears :
Come, they cried, come sing and play
One of Sion's songs to-day.

1 Carved as it were from absolute melody. Made for them especially.

« PreviousContinue »