Page images
PDF
EPUB

Chorus- Now by abasèd lids shall learn to be Eagles; and shut our eyes that we may see. THE CLOSE.

Chorus-Therefore to Thee and Thine auspicious

ray

(Dread Sweet!) lo thus
At last by us
The delegated eye of Day

Does first his sceptre, then himself, in
solemn tribute pay.

Thus he undresses

His sacred unshorn tresses;

At Thy adored feet, thus he lays down
His gorgeous tire

Of flame and fire,

I King

2 King His glittering robe,
3 King-His sparkling crown;
I King His gold,

2 King His myrrh,

3 King-His frankincense; 1

Chorus― To which he now has no pretence:
For being show'd by this Day's light,
how far

He is from sun enough to make Thy star,
His best ambition now is but to be
Something a brighter shadow, Sweet, of
Thee.

Or on Heaven's azure forehead high to
stand

Thy golden index; with a duteous hand
Pointing us home to our own Sun,
The world's and his Hyperion.
1 The pure or male incense.

UPON EASTER DAY

RISE heir of fresh Eternity,
From thy virgin tomb.

Rise mighty Man of wonders, and Thy World with
Thee

Thy tomb the universal East,

Nature's new womb,

Thy tomb, fair Immortality's perfumèd nest.

Of all the glories make Noon gay,1
This is the Morn;

This Rock buds forth the fountain of the streams of Day:

In Joy's white annals lives this hour

When Life was born;

No cloud scowls on His radiant lids, no tempests lour.

Life, by this Light's nativity,
All creatures have;

Death only by this Day's just doom is forced to die,

Nor is Death forced; for may he lie

Throned in Thy grave,

Death will on this condition be content to die.

1 That make.

SOSPETTO D'HERODE1

LIBRO PRIMO

ARGOMENTO

Casting the times with their strong signs,
Death's master his own death divines
Struggling for help, his best hope is

Herod's suspicion may heal his.
Therefore he sends a friend to wake
The sleeping tyrant's fond mistake,
Who fears (in vain) that He Whose birth
Means Heaven, should meddle with his Earth.

;

MUSE, now the servant of soft loves no more, Hate is thy theme, and Herod, whose unblest

Hand (O, what dares not jealous greatness?) tore A thousand sweet babes from their mothers' breast,

The blooms of martyrdom. O, be a door
Of language to my infant lips, ye best

Of Confessors; whose throats, answering his swords,

Gave forth your blood for breath, spoke souls for words.

1 The jealousy of Herod. A poem in Italian by Marino, called "Strage degli Innocenti," Book I., of which this is a very free translation.

[ocr errors]

Great Anthony,1 Spain's well-beseeming pride, Thou mighty branch of emperors and kings; The beauties of whose dawn what eye may bide? Which with the sun himself weighs equal wings; Map of heroic worth, whom far and wide

To the believing world Fame boldly sings: Deign thou to wear this humble wreath that bows,

To be the sacred honour of thy brows.

III

Nor needs my Muse a blush, or these bright flowers Other than what their own blest beauties bring; They were the smiling sons of those sweet bowers, That drink the dew of life, whose deathless spring,

Nor Syrian flame, nor Borean 2 frost deflowers; From whence heaven-labouring bees with busy wing,

Suck hidden sweets, which, well digested,
prove
Immortal honey for the hive of love.

1 Anthony. I think this refers to St. Anthony of Padua, who was born at Lisbon, however, in Portugal. This is very interesting, however, for Spain seized Portugal in 1580,and the Portuguese did not get back their kingdom till the treaty of Lisbon, 1668. As Crashaw died in 1648, he of course calls all that peninsula Spain. At the same time we must remember that Crashaw is here supposed to be translating.

2 Northern.

IV

Thou, whose strong hand with so transcendent worth,

Holds high the reign of fair Parthenope,1 That neither Rome nor Athens can bring forth A name in noble deeds rival to thee!

Thy fame's full noise makes proud the patient
Earth,

Far more than matter for Muse and me.
The Tyrrhene 2 Seas and shores sound all the

my

same,

And in their murmurs kept thy mighty name.

V

Below the bottom of the great Abyss,

There where one centre reconciles all things, The World's profound heart pants; there placed is Mischief's old master: close about him clings A curled knot of embracing snakes, that kiss His correspondent cheeks: these loathsome strings Hold the perverse Prince in eternal ties Fast bound, since first he forfeited the skies.

VI

The Judge of torments, and the King of tears,
He fills a burnish'd throne of quenchless fire:
And for his old fair robes of light he wears
A gloomy mantle of dark flames; the tire

1 Naples.

2 That part of the Mediterranean between Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily.

« PreviousContinue »