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Sheep eat the grass, and dung the ground for more:
Who hath the virtue to express the rare
And if an herb hath power, what have the stars!
Thou hast hid metals: man may take them thence,
Ev'n poisons praise Thee. Should a thing be lost?
The sea, which seems to stop the traveller,
And as Thy house is full, so I adore
Thy curious art in marshalling Thy goods.
The hills with health abound, the vales with store;
Hard things are glorious; easy things good cheap;
Light without wind is glass; warm without weight
Speed without pains, a horse; tall without height,
A servile hawk; low without loss, a spade.
All countries have enough to serve their need:
Nothing wears clothes but man; nothing doth need
When the earth was dry, Thou mad'st a sea of wet;
When that lay gather'd, Thou didst broach the mountains; When yet some places could no moisture get,
The winds grew gard'ners, and the clouds good fountains.
Rain, do not hurt my flowers; but gently spend
But who hath praise enough? nay, who hath any?
All things that are, though they have several ways,
Yet in their being join with one advice
In all my other hymns, but in this twice.
Each thing that is, although in use and name
How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are Thy returns! ev'n as the flowers in spring:
To which, besides their own demean,
Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shrivell'd heart
All the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.
These are Thy wonders, Lord of power!
This or that is:'
Thy word is all, if we would spell.
Oh, that I once past changing were;
Offering at heav'n, growing and groaning thither:
Want a spring-shower,
My sins and I joining together.
But, while I grow in a straight line,
What frost to that? What pole is not the zone
When thou dost turn,
And the least frown of thine is shown?
And now in age I bud again;
It cannot be
That I am he,
On whom Thy tempests fell at night!
These are Thy wonders, Lord of love!
Swelling through store,
Forfeit their Paradise by their pride.
William Crashaw was a celebrated preacher at the Temple, and his son Richard, who was born in London, was a student of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. He was afterwards elected a Fellow of Peterhouse. With a pensive and poetical temperament, and, at the same time, with feelings deeply devotional, he was ill at home amidst the wranglings and tumults of the Parliamentary era, and at last, when ejected from his fellowship, he took refuge in the Church of Rome. He seems to have died in Italy; but the exact period of his death, as well as of his birth, is unknown.
Mystical, enthusiastic, artificial, Crashaw is a poet by no means English. He seldom sees either an object in nature or a truth in revelation, as it offers itself to Anglo-Saxon eyes; but everything has a halo or nimbus around it, and is painted in mediæval proportions. But the less that we sympathise with this style, the stronger is the testimony implied in the homage which we are constrained to yield to the author's genius; and no one can read such effusions as the following without feeling that the harp is in the hand of a master, and, we might almost add, without envying the fervour of the enraptured minstrel, whose motto was
"Live, Jesus, live, and let it be
My life to die for love of Thee."
Hymn to the Name of Jesus.
I sing the Name which none can say
The heirs elect of love; whose names belong
All ye wise souls, who in the wealthy breast
Of this unbounded Name build your warm nest.
Awake, my glory! soul (if such thou be,
And that fair word at all refer to thee),