1652 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Benlowes

Thomas Pestill, "For the Author, truly heroick, by Bloud, Virtue, Learning" Benlowes, Theophila (1652) sigs B6-Cv.



Scholar, Commander, Traveller, commixt;
Schools, Camps, and Courts raise FAME, and make it fixt.
Your Fame and Feet have Alps and Oceans past:
Fam'd Feet! which Art can't raise, nor Envie blast.

Beaumont and Fletcher coyn'd a golden Way,
T' expresse, suspend, and passionate a Play.
Nimble and pleasant are all Motions there,
For two Intelligences rul'd the Spheare.

Both Sock and Buskin sunk with Them, and then
Davenant and Denham buoy'd them up agen.
Beyond these Pillars Some think nothing is:
Great BRITAINS Wit stands in a Precipice.

But, Sir, as though HEAV'NS Streits discover'd were,
By Science of your Card, UNKNOWNS appear:
Sail then with Prince of Wits, illustrious Dunne,
Who rapt Earth round with Love, and was its Sun.

But your first Love was pure: Whose ev'ry Dresse
Is inter-tissu'd Wit and Holinesse;
And mends upon It selfe; whose Streams (that meet
With Sands and Herberts) grow more deep, more sweet.

I, wing'd with Joy, to th' PRAELIBATION fly;
Thence view I Errours Trage-comedie:
With THEOPHIL from Fear to Faith I rise,
The mystick Bridge, twixt Hell and Paradise.

Hell scap't seems double Heav'n: RENEW'D, with Bands
Of Pray'rs, Vows, Tears, with Eyes, and Knees, and Hands,
I see her cope with HEAV'N, and HEAV'N does thence,
As in the Baptists Dayes, feel Violence.

But her ecstatick SONGS OF LOVE, declare
To Jedidiah, Shee's apparent Heir.
Be those then next, THE SONG OF SONGS, LOVE stiles
Her Fourth, The Second Book of CANTICLES.

But with what dreadfull yet delightful Tones
She sings when GLORIFY'D? Then, stinglesse Drones
Are Death and Hell: Joyes Crescent then's encreast,
To fullest Lustre, at her BRIDAL FEAST.

Sixth, Sev'nth, and Eighth such Banquests frame would make
WISDOM turn Cormorant; my Spirits shake
Ith' Reading. Soul of Joy! thy ravishing Sp'rite
Draws bedrid Mindes to longing Appetite.

FAME, write with Gold on Diamond Pages; treat
Upon the GLORIES of a Work so great.
Be't then Enacted, that all Graces dwell
In Thee, THEOPH'LA, Virtues Chronicle:

Who jemm'st it in JERUSALEM Above,
Where all is GRACE and GLORY, LIGHT and LOVE.
To That, UNPARALLEL, This comes so neer,
That, 'tis a Glimpse of HEAV'N to reade Thee here.

O, blest Ambition! Speculations high
Enchariot Thee, Elijah-like, to th' SKIE!
What State worth Envy, like Thy sweet Abode,
What overtops the World, and mounts to GOD?

Walkt through your Eden Stanza's, you invite
Our ravisht Souls to recre'ate with Delight,
In Bow'r of compt Discourse: Great Verse, but Prose
Such, None but our Great MASTER could compose.

For Bulk, an easie Folio is this All;
Yet we a Volume may each Canto call,
For Solid Matter: where we should consult
On Paragraphs, mark what does thence result:

For, every Period's of DEVOTION Proof,
And each Resolve is of concern'd Behood.
Peruse, Examine, Censure; O how bright
Does shine RELIGION, checquer'd with Delight!

Diffusive Soul! your Spirit was soaring, when
This Manna dew'd from your inspired Pen.
Such melting Passions of a Soul divine,
Could They be cast in any Mould but Thine?

Wonder arrests our Thought; That you alone
In such Combustions, wherein Thousands grone,
(And when some Sparkles of the publick Flame
Seiz'd on your private State, and scorcht the same)

Could warble Thus. Steer Ships each Pilot may
In Calms; but Who so can in Stormie Day
May justly domineer. But what may daunt
Him, who, like Mermaids, thus in Storms can chaunt?
Grace crowns the Suff'ring, Glory the Triumphing SAINT.
TH. PESTILL, Regi quondam a Sacris.