Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

" When to the balmy east,

Sun doth his light impart,
Or when he diveth in the lowly west,

And ravisheth the day,

With spotless hand and heart,
Him cheerfully to praise, and to Him pray.
To heed each action so

As ever in his sight,
More fearing doing ill than passive woe;

Not to seem other thing

Than what ye are aright; Never to do what may repentance bring. “Not to be blown with pride,

Nor moved at glory's breath, Which shadow-like, on wings of time doth glide;

So malice to disarm,

And conquer hasty wrath, As to do good to those that work your harm. “To hatch no base desires,

Or gold or land to gain,
Well pleased with what by virtue one acquires ;

To have the wit and will
Consorting in one strain,
Than what is good to have no higher skill.
“Never on neighbour's well

With cockatrice's eye
To look, nor make another's heaven your hell;

Nor be to beauty thrall;

All fruitless love to fly,
Yet loving still a love transcending all.
A love which while it burns

The soul with fairest beams,
To that uncreated Sun the soul it turns,

And makes such beauty prove
That, if sense saw her gleams
All lookers-on would pine and die for love.
“ Who such a life doth live,

Ye happy even may call,
Ere ruthless Death a wishéd end him give;

And after then, when given,

Move happy by his fall,
For human's earth enjoying angels' heaven.

“Swift is your mortal race,

And glassy is the field;
Vast are desires not limited by grace:

Life a weak taper is :

Then, while it light doth yield,
Leave flying toys, embrace this lasting bliss."

This when the nymph had said,

She dived within the flood,
Whose face with smiling curls long after staid;

Then sighs did zephyrs press,
Birds
sang

from
And echoes rang—"This was true happiness.”

every wood,

[graphic][subsumed]

The following verses offer a by no means unhappy example of that disposition to discern and separate the various parts, functions, or forces of nature, or of human nature, and to pit them argumentatively against each other, which in our own time has culminated in Tennyson's “Two Voices."

The work of conviction and of triumph on the part of the soul is not long in doubt; but of course the body is justly represented as impulsive rather than polemical. We are indebted for these lines to a work entitled, “Select Poetry, chiefly sacred, of the reign of King James I.,"collected and edited in 1847, by Mr. Edward Farr, who thus speaks of the volume from which the piece called “The Convert Soul" is taken: "The pages derived from this author are from MSS. in the possession of the editor. The volume, which consists of about eighty pages, appears to have been written about 1620. It consists of songs and spiritual lays, the whole of which have poetical merit; but carnal thoughts and heavenly desires occasionally strangely agglomerate."

The “ Stanzas” which succeed the•dialogue are to be found amongst the “Excerpta Poetica” of the times of Elizabeth and James I. in the “Restituta” of Sir Egerton Brydges, who printed them from a manuscript placed at his disposal by the Rev. H. J. Todd, cditor of the works of Milton.

THE CONVERT SOUL.

Peace, caitiff body, earth possest,

Cease to pretend to things too high; 'Tis not thy place of peace and rest,

For thou art mortal, and must die.

!

BODY.

Poor soul, one Spirit made us both,

Both from the womb of nothing came;
And though to yield aught thou art loth,

Yet I the elder brother am.

I, as at home, can hear and see,

And feel a taste of every good;
But thou, a stranger, envyest me,

My ease and pleasure, health and food.
Then dream of shadows, make thy coat

Of tinselled cobwebs; get thy head
Lined with chimæras got by rote;

And for thy food eat fairy bread.

SOUL.

Stay, if thou canst, thy mad career;

Repress the storm of fruitless words;
He that would by thy compass stee

Must hear what reason truth affords.

'Tis true thou elder brother art;

So worms and beasts thy elders are;
Rude nature's first--then polisht art-

The chaos was before a star.
My food and cloth are most divine;

The bread of angels, robes of glory:
Whilst all that sensual stuff of thine

Is of a vain life the sad story. Senses I have, but so refined,

As well become their mother soul, Which suit the pleasures of the mind,

And scale the heavens without controul, I little care for such a feast,

Which beasts can taste as well as I; Nor am content to set my rest

On goods in show, in deed a lie. Such cates and joys do I bequeath

To thee, fond body, which must die; For I pretend unto a wreath

Wherein is writ eternity. Thou to thy earth must straight return;

Whilst I, whose birth is from above, Shall upward move, and ever burn

In gentle flames of heavenly love.

BODY.

But I one person am with thee,

And at the first was formed by God;
Then must I needs for ever be
Dead ashes, or a senseless clod ?

SOUL.
Or that, or worse; but quit thy sense

To boast all body; learn to fly
Up with me, and for recompense

At length thou blest shall be as I.

BODY.

do;

Then farewell, pleasures; I nor care

What you pretend, or what you I'll henceforth feed on angels' fare,

For I an angel will be too.

And for the way I am prepared

To answer every ill with this:
“No way is long, or dark, or hard,

That leads to everlasting bliss.”

SOUL.

Then we're agreed ; and for thy fare,

It will be every day a feast;
Love plays the cook, and takes the care

Nobly to entertain her guest.
As for the trouble of the way

Which, dark or strait, cannot be long,
Faith will enlarge, turn night to day

So we'll to heaven go in a song.

STANZAS. What if a day, or a month, or a year,

Crown thy delights with a thousand wisht contentings, May not the chance of a night, or an hour, Cross those delights with as many sad tormentings ?

Fortune, honour, beauty, youth,

Are but blossoms dying;
Wanton pleasure, doting love,
Are but shadows flying.

All our joys

Are but toys,
Idle thoughts deceiving:

None hath power

Half an hour

Of his life’s bereaving.
The earth's but a point of the world, and a man

Is but a point of the earth's compared center:
Shall then a point of a point be so vain
As to delight in a silly point's adventer ?

All's in hazard that we have,

There is nothing biding;
Days of pleasure are like streams
Through fair meadows gliding.

Weal or woe

Time doth go,
There is no returning.

Secret fates

Guide our states,
Both in mirth and mourning.

« AnteriorContinuar »