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Sacred Pieces



1. The Father.

Father of heaven, and him, by whom
It, and us for it, and all else, for us
Thou madest, and governest ever, come
And recreate me, now grown ruinous
My heart is by dejection, clay,
And by self-murder, red.
From this red earth, O Father purge away
All vicious tinctures, that new fashioned
I may rise up from death, before Tam dead.

2. The Son.

O Son of God, who seeing two things,

Sin, and death crept in, which were never made, By bearing one, try'dst with what stings The other could thine heritage invade; O be thou nailed unto my heart, And crucified again, Part not from it, though it from thee would part, But let it be, by applying so thy pain, Drowned in thy blood, and in thy passion slain.

3. The Holy Ghost.

O Holy Ghost, whose temple I

Am, but of mud walls, and condensed dust, And being sacrilegiously

Half-wasted with youth's fires, of pride and lust, Must with new storms be weatherbeat; Double in my heart thy flame, Which let devout sad tears intend; and let (Though this glass lanthorn, flesh, do suffer maim) Fire sacrifice, priest, altar be the same,

4. The Trinity.

O Blessed glorious Trinity,

Bones to philosophy, but milk to faith,
Which, as wise serpents, diversely

Most slipperiness, yet most entanglings hath,
As you distinguished undistinct
By power, love, knowledge be,
Give me a such self-different instinct,
Of these let all me elemented be,
Of power, to love, to know, you unnumbred Three.

5. The Virgin Mary.

For that fair blessed mother-maid,

Whose flesh redeemed us; that she-cherubin,
Which unlocked paradise, and made
One claim for innocence, and disseised sin,
Whose womb was a strange heaven, for there
God clothed himself, and grew,
Our zealous thanks we pour. As her deeds were
Our helps, so are her prayers; nor can sho sue
In vain, who hath such titles unto you.

6. The Angels.

And since this life our nonage is,

And we in wardship to thine angels be,
Native in heaven's fair palaces

Where we shall be but denizened by thee,
As the earth conceiving by the sun,
Yields fair diversity,
Yet never knows which course that light doth run,
So let me study, that mine actions be
Worthy their sight, though blind in how they sec.

7. The Patriarchs.

And let thy patriarchs' desire

(Those great-grandfathers of thy church, which saw More in the cloud, than we in fire, Whom nature cleared more, than us grace and law, And now in heaven still pray, that we May use our new helps right,) Be sanctified, and fructify in me;

Let not my mind be blinder by more light,
Nor faith, by reason added, lose her sight.

8. The Prophets.

Thy eagle-sighted prophets too,

Which were thy church's organs, and did sound
That harmony, which made of two',

One law, and did unite, but not confound;
Those heavenly poets which did see
Thy will, and it express
In rhythmic feet, in common pray for me,
That I by them excuse not my excess
In seeking secrets, or poeticness.

9. The Apostles.

And thy illustrious zodiak

Of twelve apostles, which ingirt this all,
From whom whoso'ever do not take

Their light, to dark deep pits throw down, and fall *,
As through their prayers, thou hast let me know
That their books are divine;
May they pray still, and be heard, that I go
The old broad way in applying; O decline
Me, when my comment would make thy word mine.

10. The Martyrs.

And since thou so desirously

Did'st long to die, that long before thou could'st,
And long since thou no more couldest die,
Thou in thy scattered mystic body would'st
In Abel die, and ever since
In thine, let their blood come
To beg for us, a discreet patience
Of death, or of worse life: for O! to some
Not to be martyrs, is a martyrdom.

11. The Confessors.

Therefore with thee triumpheth there

A virgin squadron of white confessors,
Whose bloods betrothed, not married were;

Tendered, not taken by those ravishers:

• "Thrown down do fall;"—Anderson's Poets; but the word throw is hero used in a neuter sense,—Ed.

They know, and pray, that we may know

In every Christian
Hourly tempestuous persecutions grow;
Temptations martyr us alive; a man
Is to himself a Diocletian.

12. The Virgins.

The cold white snowy nunnery,

Which, as thy mother, their high abbess, sent
Their bodies back again to thee,

As thou hadst lent them, clean and innocent,
Though they have not obtained of thee,
That, or thy church, or I,
Should keep, as they, our first integrity,
Divorce thou sin in us, or bid it die,
And call chaste widowhead virginity.

13. The Doctors.

Thy sacred academe above

Of doctors, whose pains have unclasped, and taught Both books of life to us (for love

To know thy Scriptures, tells us, we are wrote
In thy other book) pray for us there
That what they have misdone
Or missaid, we to that may not adhere;
Their zeal may be our sin: Lord, let us run
Mean ways, and call them stars, but not the sun.


And whilst this universal quire,

That church in triumph, this in warfare here, Warmed with one all-partaking fire

Of love, that none be lost, which cost thee dear, Prays ceaselessly, and thou hearken too (Since to be gracious Our task is treble, to pray, bear, and do) Hear this prayer, Lord, O Lord deliver us From trusting in those prayers, though pourd out thus. 15.

From being anxious, or secure,

Dead clods of sadness, or light squibs of mirth, From thinking, that great courts immure All, or no happiness, or that this earth Is only for our prison framed, Or that thou art covetous To them whom thou lovest, or that they're maimed From reaching this world's sweet, who seek thee thus With all their might, good Lord deliver us.


From needing danger, to be good,

From owing thee yesterday's tears to-day,
From trusting Bo much to thy blood,
That in the hope, we wound our soul away,
From bribing thee with alms, to excuse
Some sin more burdenous,
From light affecting, in religion, news,
From thinking us all soul, neglecting thus
Our mutual duties, Lord deliver us.


From tempting Satan to tempt us,

By our connivance, or slack company,
From measuring ill by vicious,
Neglecting to choke sin's spawn, vanity,
From indiscreet humility,
Which might be scandalous,
And cast reproach on Christianity,
From being spies, or to spies pervious,
From thirst, or scorn of flamo, deliver us.


Deliver us for thy descent

Into the virgin, whose womb was a placo
Of middle kind; and thou being sent
To ungracious us, staid'st at her full of grace,
And through thy poor birth, where first thou
Glorifiest poverty.
And yet soon after riches didst allow,

By accepting kings' gifts in the Epiphany;
Deliver, and make us, to both ways free.


And through that bitter agony,

Which still is the agony of pious wits, Disputing what distorted thee, And interrupted evenness, with fits; And through thy free confession, Though thereby they were then Made blind, so that thou might'st from them have gone; Good Lord deliver us, and teach us when We may not, and we may blind unjust men.


Through thy submitting all, to blows

Thy face, thy clothes to spoil; thy fame to scorn, All ways, which rage, or justice knows,

And by which thou could'st show, that thou wast born; And through thy gallant humbleness, Which thou in death did'st show, Dying before thy soul they could express; Deliver us from death, by dying so, To this world, ere this world do bid us go.


When senses, which thy soldiers are,

We arm against thee, and they fight for sin;
When want, sent but to tame, doth war
And work despair a breach to enter in;
When plenty, God's image, and seal
Makes us idolatrous,
And love it, not him, whom it should reveal;
When we are mov'd to seem religious
Only to vent wit, Lord deliver us.


In churches, when the infirmity

Of him which speaks, diminishes the Word; When magistrates do misapply

To us, as we judge, lay, or ghostly sword;

When plague, which is thine angel, reigns,

Or wars, thy champions, sway;
When heresy, thy second deluge, gains;
In th' hour of death, th' eve of last judgment day,
Deliver us from the sinister way.


Hear us, 0 hear us, Lord; to thee

A sinner is more music, when he prays,
Than spheres' or angels' praises be,
In panegyric Alleluias:

Hear us, for till thou hear us, Lord,
We know not what to say.
Thine ear t' our sighs, tears, thoughts, gives voice and word.
O thou who Satan heard'st in Job's sick day,
Hear thyself now, for thou in us dost pray.


That we may change to evenness
This intermitting aguish piety,
That snatching cramps of wickedness
And apoplexies of fast sin, may die;
That music of thy promises,
Not threats in thunder may
Awaken us to our just offices,
What in thy book, thou dost, or creatures say,
That we may hear, Lord hear us, when we pray.


That our ears' sickness we may cure,
And rectify those labyrinths aright,
That we, by hearkening, not procure
Our praise, nor others' dispraise so invite,
That we get not a slipperiness
And senselessly decline,
From hearing bold wits jest at kings' excess,
T' admit the like of majesty divine,
That we may lock our ears, Lord open thine.


That living law, the magistrate,

Which to give us, and make us physic, doth Our vices often aggravate;

That preachers taxing sin, before her growth, That Satan, and envenom'd men Which will, if we starve, dine, When they do most accuse us, may see then Us to amendment hear them, thee decline, That we may open our ears, Lord lock thine.


That learning, thine ambassador,

From thine allegiance we never tempt;
That beauty, paradise's flower

For physic made, from poison be exempt;
That wit, born apt, high good to do
By dwelling lazily
On nature's nothing, be not nothing too;
That our affections kill us not, nor die,
Hear us, weak echoes, O thou ear, and cry!


Son of God, hear us; and since thou

By taking our blood, owe'st it us again,
Gain to thyself, or us allow;

And let not both us and thyself be slain;
O Lamb of God, which took'st our sin
Which could not stick to thee,
O let it not return to us again,
But patient and physician being free,
As sin is nothing, let it nowhere be.


Thb Cross.

Since Christ embraced the cross itself, dare I

His image, th' image of his cross, deny?

Would I have profit by the sacrifice,

And dare the chosen altar to despise!

It bore all other sins, but is it fit

That it should bear the sin of scorning it?

Who from the picture would avert his eye,

How would he fly his pains, who there did die!

From me, no pulpit, nor misgrounded law,

Nor scandal taken, shall this cross withdraw:

It shall not, for it cannot; for the loss

Of this cross, were to me another cross.

Better were worse, for no affliction,

No cross, is so extreme, as to have none;

Who can blot out the cross, which th' instrument

Of God, dew'd on mo in the sacrament?

Who can deny me power, and liberty

To stretch mine arms, and mine own cross to be 1

Swim, and at every stroke, thou art thy cross;

The mast and yard make one, where seas do toss.

Look down, thou spy'st out crosses in small things;

Look up, thou see'st birds raised on crossed wings;

All the globe's frame, and spheres, is nothing else

But the meridian's crossing parallels.

Material crosses, then, good physic be,

But yet spiritual have chief dignity.

These for extracted chemic medicine serve,

And cure much better, and as well preserve;

Then are you your own physic, or need none,

When still'd or purged by tribulation.

For when that cross ungrudged unto you sticks,

Then are you to yourself a crucifix.

As perchance, carvers do not faces make:

But that away, which hid them there, do take.

Let crosses, so, take what hid Christ in thee,

And be his image, or not his, but he.

But, as oft alchymists do coiners prove,

So may a self-despising get self-love.

And then as worst surfeits of best meats be,

So is pride, issued from humility;

For 'tis no child, but monster; therefore cross

Your joy in crosses, else 'tis double loss;

And cross thy senses, else both they and thou

Must perish soon, and to destruction bow.

For if th' eye seek good objects, and will take

No cross from bad, we cannot scape a snake.

So with harsh, hard, sour, stinking, cross the rest,

Make them indifferent; call nothing best.

But most the eye needs crossing, that can roam

And move; to th' other, th' objects must come home.

And cross thy heart: for that in man alone

Pants downwards, and hath palpitation.

Cross those dejections, when it downward tends,

And when it to forbidden heights pretends.

And as the brain through bony walls doth vent

By sutures, which a cross's form present,

So when thy brain works, ere thou utter it,

Cross and correct concupiscence of wit.

Be covetous of crosses, let none fall;

Cross no man else, but cross thyself in all.

Then doth the cross of Christ work faithfully

Within our hearts, when we love harmlessly

The cross's pictures much, and with more care

That cross's children, which our crosses are.


The Annunciation And Passion.

Tamely frail body abstain to day; to day
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away;
Sho sees him nothing twice at once, who is all;
She sees a cedar plant itself, and fall,

Her maker put to making, and the head

Of life, at once, not yet alive, yet dead;

She sees at once the virgin mother stay

Reclused at home, public at Golgotha.

Sad and rejoiced she's seen at once, and seen

At almost fifty, and at scarce fifteen.

At once a Son is promised her, and gone,

Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John;

Not fully a mother, She's in orbity,

At once receiver and the legacy;

All this, and all between, this day hath shown,

The abridgement of Christ's story, which makes one

(As in plain maps, the farthest west is east)

Of the angels Ave, and conmmmatum est.

How well the church, God's court of faculties,

Deals, in sometimes, and seldom, joining these;

As by the self-fixed Pole we never do

Direct our course, but the next star thereto,

Which shows where the other is, and which we say

(Because it strays not far) doth never stray;

So God by his church, nearest to him, we know,

And stand firm, if we by her motion go;

His Spirit, as his fiery pillar, doth

Lead, and his church, as cloud; to one end both:

This church, by letting those days join, hath shown

Death and conception in mankind is one.

Or 'twas in him the same humility,

That he would be a man, and leave to be:

Or as creation he hath made, as God,

With the last judgment, but one period,

His imitating Spouse would join in one

Manhood's extremes: He shall come, he is gone:

Or as though one blood drop, which thence did fall,

Accepted, would have served, he yet shed all;

So though the least of his pains, deeds, or words,

Would busy a life, she all this day affords;

This treasure then, in gross, my soul uplay,

And in my life retail it every day.



Let man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this,

The intelligence that moves, devotion is,

And as the other spheres, by being grown

Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,

And being by others hurried every day,

Scarce in a year their natural form obey:

Pleasure or business so our souls admit

For their first mover, and are whirl'd by it.

Hence is't, that I am carried towards the west

This day, when my sours form bends towards the east,

There I should see a sun, by rising set,

And by that setting endless day beget;

But that Christ on this Cross, did rise and fall,

Sin had eternally benighted all.

Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see

That spectacle of too much weight for me.

Who sees God's face, that is self life, must die;

What a death were it then to see God die?

It made his own lieutenant Nature shrink,

It made his footstool crack, and the sun wink.

Could I behold those hands which span the Poles,

And tune all spheres, at once pierced with those holes?

Could I behold that endless height which is

Zenith to us, and our antipodes,

Humbled below us? or that blood which is

The seat of all our souls, if not of his,

Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn

By God, for his apparel, ragg'd, and torn?

If on these things I durst not look, durst I

Upon his miserable Mother cast mine eye,

Who was God's partner here, and furnish'd thus

Half of that sacrifice, which ransom'd us?

Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,

They are present yet unto my memory,

For that looks towards them, and thou look'st towards me,

0 Saviour, as thou hang'st upon the tree;

1 turn my back to thee, but to receive Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.

VOL. VI. 2 N

O think me worth thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rusts, and my deformity,
Restore thine image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou may'st know me, and I'll turn my face.


Resurrection; Imperfect.

Sleep, sleep old sun, thou canst not have re-past
As yet, the wound thou took'st on Friday last;
Sleep then, and rest; the world may bear thy stay,
A better sun rose before thee to-day,
Who, not content to enlighten all that dwell
On the earth's face, as thou, enlighten'd hell,
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As, at thy presence here, our fires grow pale.
Whose body having walk'd on earth, and now
Hasting to heaven, would, that he might allow
Himself unto all stations, and fill all,
For these three days become a mineral;
He was all gold when he lay down, but rose
All tincture, and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make even sinful flesh like his.
Had one of those, whoso credulous piety
Thought, that a soul one might discern and see
Go from a body, at this sepulchre been,
And, issuing from the sheet, this body seen,
He would have justly thought this body a soul,
If not of any man, yet of the whole.


A Hymn To Christ, At The Author's Last Going Into

In what torn ship soever I embark,
That ship shall be my emblem of thy ark;
What sea soever swallow me, that flood
Shall be to me an emblem of thy blood;

Though thou with clouds of anger do disguise
Thy face; yet through that mask I know those eyes,
Which, though they turn away sometimes,
They never will despise.

I sacrifice this island unto thee,
And all whom I loved there, and who lov'd me;
When I have put our seas 'twixt them and me,
Put thou thy seas betwixt my sins and thee.
As the trees sap doth seek the root below
In winter, in my winter now I go,
Where none but thee, the eternal root
Of true love, I may know.

Nor thou nor thy religion dost control,
The amorousness of an harmonious soul;
But thou would'st have that love thyself: as thou
Art jealous, Lord, so I am jealous now,
Thou lov'st not, till from loving more, thou free
My soul: who ever gives, takes liberty:
O, if thou car'st not whom I love,
Alas, thou lov'st not me.

Seal then this bill of my divorce to all,
On whom those fainter beams of love did fall;
Marry those loves, which in youth scattered bo
On Fame, Wit, Hopes (false mistresses) to thee.
Churches are best for prayer, that have least light:
To see God only, I go out of sight:
And to scape stormy days, I choose
An everlasting night.


A Hymn To God The Father.

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,

Which was my sin, though it were done before? Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run, And do run still: though still I do deplore? When thou hast done, thou hast not done, For I have more.


Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won

Others to sin? and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year, or two, but wallowed in, a score?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.


I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun

My last thread, I shall perish on the shore But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore; And. having done that, thou hast done, I fear no more.

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