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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;
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 crrrvii.

On 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 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.

Sing? play? to whom (ah !) shall we sing or play,
If not, Jerusalem, to thee?

Ah! thee Jerusalem! ah! sooner may

This hand forget the mastery

Of Music's dainty touch, than I

The music of thy memory.

Which, when I lose, O may at once my tongue
Lose this same busy-speaking art,
Unperched, her vocal arteries unstrung,
No more acquainted with my heart,
On my dry palate's roof to rest

A withered leaf, an idle guest.
No, no, Thy good, Sion, alone must crown
The head of all thy hope-nursed joys.

But Edom, cruel thou! thou criedst down, down
Sink Sion, down and never rise;

Her falling thou didst urge and thrust,

And haste to dash her into dust:

Dost laugh, proud Babel's daughter? do, laugh on,

Till thy ruin teach thee tears,

Even such as these; laugh, till a 'venging throng
Of woes too late do rouse thy fears:

Laugh till thy children's bleeding bones

Weep precious tears upon the stones.

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On a Treatise* of Charity.

Rise, then, immortal maid! Religion, rise!
Put on thyself in thine own looks: t'our eyes

Be what thy beauties, not our blots, have made thee,
Such as (ere our dark sins to dust betray'd thee)
Heaven set thee down new dress'd; when thy bright birth
Shot thee like lightning to th' astonished Earth.
From th' dawn of thy fair eyelids wipe away
Dull mists and melancholy clouds: take Day
And thine own beams about thee: bring the best
Of whatsoe'er perfumed thy Eastern nest.

Girt all thy glories to thee: then sit down,

Open this book, fair Queen, and take thy crown.
These learned leaves shall vindicate to thee
Thy holiest, humblest handmaid, Charity;
She'll dress thee like thyself, set thee on high

Where thou shalt reach all hearts, command each eye.
Lo! where I see thy offerings wake, and rise
From the pale dust of that strange sacrifice
Which they themselves were; each one putting on

A majesty that may beseem thy throne.

*Shelford's "Discourses" (Cambridge: 1635), in which volume the adopted text of the present poem appears. Most edd. lack the last 10 lines of the present text.—ED.

The holy youth of Heaven, whose golden rings
Girt round thy awful altars, with bright wings.
Fanning thy fair locks (which the World believes
As much as sees) shall with these sacred leaves
Trick their tall plumes, and in that garb shall go
If not more glorious, more conspicuous though.
Be it enacted then

By the fair laws of thy firm-pointed pen,
God's services no longer shall put on

Pure sluttishness for pure religion :

No longer shall our Churches' frighted stones
Lie scatter'd like the burnt and martyr'd bones
Of dead Devotion; nor faint marbles weep

In their sad ruins; nor Religion keep

A melancholy mansion in those cold.

Like God's sanctuaries they look'd of old:
Now seem they Temples consecrate to none,
Or to a new god, Desolation.

No more the hypocrite shall th' upright be
Because he's stiff, and will confess no knee:

While others bend their knee, no more shalt thou,
(Disdainful dust and ashes!) bend thy brow;
Nor on God's altar cast two scorching eyes
Baked in hot scorn, for a burnt sacrifice:
But (for a lamb) thy tame and tender heart
New struck by Love, still trembling on his dart;

Or (for two turtle-doves) it shall suffice

To bring a pair of meek and humble eyes.

This shall from henceforth be the masculine theme
Pulpits and pens shall sweat in; to redeem
Virtue to action, that life-feeding flame
That keeps Religion warm: not swell a name
Of Faith; a mountain-word, made up of air,
With those dear spoils that wont to dress the fair
And fruitful Charity's full breasts (of old),
Turning her out to tremble in the cold.

What can the poor hope from us, when we be
Uncharitable even to Charity?

Nor shall our zealous ones still have a fling

At that most horrible and hornèd thing,

Forsooth the Pope: by which black name they call

The Turk, the devil, Furies, Hell and all,

And something more. O he is Anti-Christ :

Doubt this, and doubt (say they) that Christ is Christ: Why, 'tis a point of Faith.

Whate'er it be,

I'm sure it is no point of Charity.

In sum, no longer shall our people hope,

To be a true Protestant's but to hate the Pope.

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On Mr. George herbert's Book, entitled "The Temple of Sacred Poems,"


Know you, fair, on what you look?

Divinest love lies in this book:

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