« PreviousContinue »
Upon the Pictures* in the following Poems, which the Author first made with his own hand, admirably well, as may be seen in his Manuscript, dedicated to the Right Honourable Lady the L. Denbigh.
'Twixt pen and pencil rose a holy strife
Which might draw Virtue better to the life:
Best wits gave votes to that, but painters swore
They never saw pieces so sweet before
As these fruits of pure Nature; where no Art
Did lead the untaught pencil, nor had part
In th' work
The hand grown bold, with wit will needs contest :
Doth it prevail? ah, no! say each is best.
This to the ear speaks wonders; that will try
To speak the same, yet louder, to the eye.
Both in their aims are holy, both conspire
To wound, to burn the heart with heavenly fire,
This then's the doom, to do both parties right;
This to the ear speaks best; that, to the sight.
*This Epigram being portion of the original book, we reprint it in its place, although the Pictures' of the 1652 volume are not here reproduced.-Ed.
To the Noblest and Best of Ladies, the Countess of Denbigb,
PERSUADING HER TO RESOLUTION IN RELIGION, AND TO RENDER HERSELF WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY INTO THE COMMUNION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
HAT Heaven-entreated heart is this,
trembling at the gate of bliss?
Holds fast the door, yet dares not venture
Fairly to open it, and enter;
Whose definition is a doubt
'Twixt life and death, 'twixt in and out.
Say, ling'ring Fair! why comes the birth
Of your brave soul so slowly forth?
Plead your pretences (O you strong
In weakness!) why you choose so long
In labour of yourself to lie,
Nor daring quite to live nor die.
Ah! linger not, loved soul! a slow
And late consent was a long no;
Who grants at last, long time tried
And did his best to have denied:
What magic bolts, what mystic bars,
Maintain the will in these strange wars?
What fatal yet fantastic bands
Keep the free heart from its own hands?
So when the year takes cold, we see
Poor waters their own prisoners be,
Fettered, and locked up they lie
In a sad self-captivity.
The astonish'd Nymphs their flood's strange fate deplore,
To see themselves their own severer shore.
Thou that alone canst thaw this cold,
And fetch the heart from its stronghold;
Almighty Love! end this long war,
And of a meteor make a star.
O fix this fair Indefinite!
And 'mongst Thy shafts of sov'reign light
Choose out that sure decisive dart
Which has the key of this close heart,
Knows all the corners of 't, and can control
The self-shut cabinet of an unsearch'd soul.
O let it be at last, Love's hour;
Raise this tall trophy of Thy power;
Come once the conquering way; not to confute
But kill this rebel-word 'irresolute,'
That so, in spite of all this peevish strength
Of weakness, she may write 'resolved' at length.
Unfold at length, unfold fair flower,
And use the season of Love's shower!
Meet His well-meaning wounds, wise heart!
And haste to drink the wholesome dart.
That healing shaft, which Heaven till now
Hath in love's quiver hid for you.
O dart of Love! arrow of light!
O happy you, if it hit right!
It must not fall in vain, it must
Not mark the dry regardless dust.
Fair one, it is your fate; and brings
Eternal words upon its wings.
Meet it with wide-spread arms, and see
Its seat your soul's just centre be.
Disband dull fears, give faith the day;
To save your life, kill your delay.
It is Love's seige, and sure to be
Your triumph, though His victory.
'Tis cowardice that keeps this field,
And want of courage not to yield.
Yield then, O yield, that Love may win
The fort at last, and let life in.
Yield quickly, lest perhaps you prove
Death's prey, before the prize of Love.
This fort of your fair self, if 't be not won,
He is repulsed indeed, but you're undone.
To the Name above every Name, the
Name of Jesus :
SING the name which none can say
But touch'd with an interior ray :
The name of our new peace; our good:
Our bliss and supernatural blood:
The name of all our lives and loves. 5
Hearken, and help, ye holy doves
The high-born brood of Day; you bright
Candidates of blissful light,
The heirs elect of Love, whose names belong
Unto the everlasting life of song; 10
All ye wise souls, who in the wealthy breast
Of this unbounded name, build your warmnest
Awake, my glory, Soul, (if such thou be,
And that fair word at all refer to thee),
Awake and sing, 15
And be all wing;
Bring hither thy whole self; and let me see What of thy parent Heaven yet speaks in thee.
O thou art poor
Of noble powers, I see, 20
And full of nothing else but empty me:
Narrow, and low, and infinitely less
Than this great morning's mighty business.
One little world or two
(Alas!) will never do; 25
We must have store.
Go, Soul, out of thyself, and seek for more.
Go and request
Great Nature for the key of her huge chest
Of Heavens, the self-involving set of spheres 30
(Which dull mortality more feels than hears).
Then rouse the nest