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So clear their colour and divine, The very shade they cast did other lights out-shine.
“Taste not,” said God; “’t is mine and angels' meat;
“A certain death doth sit,
“Like an ill worm, i' th' core of it.
“Ye cannot know and live, nor live or know and eat.”
Thus spoke God, yet man did go
Ignorantly on to know ;
Grew so more blind, and she
Who tempted him to this, grew yet more blind than he.
The only science man by this did get,
Was but to know he nothing knew:
He strait his nakedness did view,
His ignorant poor estate, and was asham'd of it.
Yet searches probabilities,
And rhetorick, and fallacies,
And seeks by useless pride,
With slight and witheringleaves thatnakedness to hide.
“Henceforth,” said God, “the wretched sons of earth
“Shall sweat for food in vain,
“That will not long sustain;
“And bring with labour forth each fond abortive
“That serpent too, their pride,
“Which aims at things deny'd;
“That learn'd and eloquent lust;
“Instead of mounting high, shall creep upon the
THE USE OF IT IN DIVIN E MATTERS.
SOME blind themselves, 'cause possibly they may
Be led by others a right way;
They build on sands, which if unmov’d they find,
*T is but because there was no wind.
Less hard 't is, not to err ourselves, than know
If our forefathers err'd or no.
When we trust men concerning God, we then
Trust not God concerning men.
Visions and inspirations some expect
Their course here to direct;
Like senseless chemists their own wealth destroy,
Imaginary gold to enjoy:
So stars appear to drop to us from sky,
And gild the passage as they fly;
But when they fall, and meet th' opposing ground,
What but a sordid slime is found 2
Sometimes their fancies they 'bove reason set,
And fast, that they may dream of meat;
Sometimes ill spirits their sickly souls delude,
And bastard forms obtrude: -
So Endor's wretched sorceress, although
She Saul through his disguise did know,
Yet, when the devil comes up disguis'd, she cries,
“Behold ! the Gods arise.”
In vain, alas! these outward hopes are try'd;
Reason within's our only guide;
Reason, which (God be prais'd ') still walks, for all
Its old original fall: -
And, since itself the boundless Godhead join'd
With a reasonable mind,
It plainly shows that mysteries divine
May with our reason join.
The holy book, like the eighth sphere, does shine
With thousand lights of truth divine:
So numberless the stars, that to the eye
It makes but all one galaxy.
Yet Reason must assist too; for, in seas
So vast and dangerous as these,
Our course by stars above we cannot know,
Without the compass too below.
Though Reason cannot through Faith's mysteries see,
It sees that there and such they be;
Leads to heaven's door, and there does humbly keep,
And there through chinks and key-holes peep:
Though it, like Moses, by a sad command,
Must not come into th’ Holy Land,
Yet thither it infallibly does guide,
And from afar’t is all descry’d.
DEATH OF MR. CRASHAW.
POET and Saints to thee alone are given
The two most sacred names of Earth and Heaven;
The hard and rarest union which can be,
Next that of Godhead with humanity.
Long did the Muses' banish'd slaves abide,
And built vain pyramids to mortal pride;
Like Moses thou (though spells and charms with-
Hast brought them nobly home back to their holy
Ah wretched we, poets of earth! but thou
Wert living the same poet which thou’rt now;
Whilst angels sing to thee their airs divine,
And joy in an applause so great as thine.
Equal society with them to hold,
Thou need'st not make new songs, but say the old;
And they (kind spirits!) shall all rejoice, to see
How little less than they exalted man may be.
Still the old Heathen gods in Numbers dwell;
The heavenliest thing on earth still keeps up hell ! .
Nor have we yet quite purg'd the Christian land;
Still idols here, like calves at Bethel, stand.
And, though Pan's death long since all oracles broke,
Yet still in rhyme the fiend Apollo spoke:
Nay, with the worst of heathen dotage, we
(Vain men!) the monster Woman deify ; ,
Find stars, and tie our fates there in a face,
And paradise in them, by whom we lost it, place.
What different faults corrupt our Muses thus
Wanton as girls, as old wives fabulous!
Thy spotless Muse, like Mary, did contain
The boundless Godhead; she did well disdain
That her eternal verse employ'd should be
On a less subject than eternity;
And for a sacred mistress scorn'd to take,
But her whom God himself scorn’d not his spouse
It (in a kind) her miracle did do;
A fruitful mother was, and virgin too.
* How well (blest swan!) did Fate contrive thy
And made thee render up thy tuneful breath
In thy great mistress' arms, thou most divine
And richest offering of Loretto's shrine!
Where, like some holy sacrifice t'expire,
A fever burns thee, and Love lights the fire.
Angels (they say) brought the fam'd chapel there,
And bore the sacred load in triumph through the air:
'T is surer much they brought thee there; and they,
And thou, their charge, went singing all the way.
Pardon, my mother-church 1 if I consent
That angels led him when from thee he went ;
For ev’n in error sure no danger is,
When join'd with so much piety as his.
* Mr. Crashaw died of a fever at Loretto, being newly chosen canon of that church.