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Thy sheep was stray'd, and Thou wouldst be Even lost thyself in seeking me.

Shall all that labour, all that cost
Of love, and ev'n that loss, be lost?

And this loved soul, judged worth no less
Than all that way and weariness?

Just Mercy, then, thy reckoning be
With my price, and not with me:
'Twas paid at first with too much pain,
To be paid twice, or once in vain.

Mercy, my Judge, mercy I cry
With blushing check and bleeding eye:
The conscious colours of my sin
Are red without and pale within.

O let Thine own soft bowels pay
Thyself; and so discharge that day.
If sin can sigh, love can forgive:—
O say the word, my soul shall live.

Those mercies which Thy Mary found, Or who Thy cross confess'd and crown'd, Hope tells my heart, the same loves be Still alive and still for me.

Though both my pray'rs and tears combine,

Both worthless are; for they are mine:

But Thou Thy bounteous self still be,
And shew Thou art, by saving me.

O, when Thy last frown shall proclaim
The flocks of goats to folds of flame,
And all Thy lost sheep found shall be,
Let "Come, ye blessed," then call me.

When the dread "Ite" shall divide Those limbs of death from Thy left side, Let those life-speaking lips command That I inherit Thy right hand.


Oh, hear a suppliant heart, all crush'd
And crumbled into contrite dust!

My hope, my fear! my Judge, my Friend!
Take charge of me, and of my end.



The style of which Crashaw and Herbert are examples, culminated in Abraham Cowley.* Like the old fashion of gilding green leaves, it must be lamented that the most versatile poet in the seventeenth century wasted on ephemeral themes so much of the fine gold of his genius; and it is equally lamentable that, in his graver efforts, "never pathetic, and rarely sublime, but always either ingenious or learned, either acute or profound," the taste of his readers is constantly offended by extravagance, and their patience tried by pedantry. Still, it must be admitted, in the words of the great critic, that "he brought to his poetic labours a mind replete with learning, and that his pages are embellished with all the ornaments which books could supply; that he was the first who imparted to English numbers the enthusiasm of the greater ode, and the gaiety of the less; that he was equally qualified for sprightly sallies and for lofty flights; and that he was among those who freed translation from servility, and, instead of following his author at a distance, walked by his side." +

The first of the following specimens is from "Davideis," an epic poem on the Triumphs of David, of which only the first four books were written :


Thus dress'd, the joyful Gabriel posts away,
And carries with him his own glorious day

*Born 1618; died May 2, 1667.

+ Johnson's Lives of the Poets.

Through the thick woods; the gloomy shades awhile
Put on fresh looks, and wonder why they smile;
The trembling serpents close and silent lie,
The birds obscene far from his passage fly.
A sudden spring waits on him as he goes,
Sudden as that which by creation rose.
Thus he appears to David; at first sight

All earth-born fears and sorrows take their flight.

In rushes joy divine, and hope, and rest;

A sacred calm shines through his peaceful breast.
Hail, man beloved! From highest heaven (said he)
My mighty Master sends thee health by me.

The things thou sawest are full of truth and light,
Shaped in the glass of the Divine foresight.
Ev'n now old Time is harnessing the years
To go in order thus. Hence, empty fears!

Thy fate's all white; from thy blest seed shalt spring
The promised Shiloh, the great mystic King.
Round the whole earth His dreaded name shall sound,
And reach the worlds that must not yet be found.
The Southern clime Him her sole Lord shall style;
Him all the North, ev'n Albion's stubborn isle.

The Ecstacy.

I leave mortality, and things below;
I have no time in compliments to waste,
Farewell to ye all in haste,

For I am call'd to go.

A whirlwind bears up my dull feet,

The officious clouds beneath them meet,

And lo! I mount, and lo!

How small the biggest parts of earth's proud tittle show!

Where shall I find the noble British land?
Lo! I at last a northern speck espy,

Which in the sea does lie,

And seems a grain o' th' sand!
For this will any sin, or bleed?
Of civil wars is this the meed?


And is it this, alas! which we,

Oh, irony of words! do call Great Britannie?

I pass'd by th' arched magazines, which hold
Th' eternal stores of frost, and rain, and snow;
Dry and secure I go,

Nor shake with fear, or cold.

Without affright or wonder

I meet clouds charged with thunder,

And lightnings in my way

Like harmless lambent fires about my temples play.

Now into a gentle sea of rolling flame

I'm plunged, and still mount higher there,
As flames mount up through air,

So perfect, yet so tame,

So great, so pure, so bright a fire

Was that unfortunate desire,

My faithful breast did cover,

Then, when I was of late a wretched mortal lover.

Through several orbs which one fair planet bear,
Where I behold distinctly as I pass

The hints of Galileo's glass,

I touch at last the spangled sphere.

Here all the extended sky

Is but one galaxy,

'Tis all so bright and gay,

And the joint eyes of night make up a perfect day.

Where am I now? angels and God is here:
An unexhausted ocean of delight

Swallows my senses quite,

And drowns all what, or how, or where.

Not Paul, who first did thither pass,

And this great world's Columbus was,

The tyrannous pleasure could express;

Oh, 'tis too much for man! but let it ne'er be less.


The mighty Elijah mounted so on high,

That second man, who leap'd the ditch where all


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