1652 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Benlowes

William Dennie, "A Glance at Theophila" Benlowes, Theophila (1652) sig. (c)-(c)v.



Who sacrificed last? The hallow'd Air
Seems all ensould with sweet Perfume,
Which pleased Heav'n deigns to assume,
The smiling Skie appeareth brightly fair;
Was't not THEOPHILA'S fam'd Sire,
Say, sacred Priest, obtain'd the holy Fire
To blesse, and burn his Victime of sublime Desire?

Know, curious Mortal, this rare Sacrifice,
Scarce known to our now-bedrid Age,
Was got by Zeal, and holy Rage,
And offer'd by Benevolus the Wise:
For, speckled Craft, and a loose Fit
Of aguish Knowledge, glim'ring Acts beget;
Chast Piety bears Fruit to Wisdom, not to Wit.

No Tigers Whelp with Blood-besmeared Jaws,
No Cub of Bears, lick't into Shape,
No lustfull Ofspring of the Ape,
No muskie Panther with close guileful Claws,
No durtie gruntling of the Swine,
No Lions Whelp of ere so high Design,
Is offer'd here: Keep off Unclean! Here's all divine.

The chosen Wood (as Harbinger to all
Those future then, now passed Rites)
Was Laurel, that Guards Lightning Frights,
The weeping Firre, sad Yewe for Funeral,
The lasting Oak, and joyful Vine,
The fruitful Fig-tree Billets did consigne;
The peaceful Olive with cleft Juniper did joyn.

On Knees in Tears think Altar'd THEOPHIL,
Incenst with sweet Obedience,
Who makes LOVES Life in Death commence,
Scaling with Heart, Hands, Eyes, HEAV'NS lofty Hill:
Her circled Head you might behold
Was glorify'd with burnisht Crown of Gold,
Embost with Gems; embrac't by ANGELS manifold.

Thus in a fierie Chariot up SHE flies,
Perfuming the forsaken Earth,
(The Midwife Orbs do help her Birth)
Into the Glorie of the HIERARCHIES.
Where Ecstasies of Joyes do grow,
Which they Themselves eternally do sow,
But 'tis too high for Me to think, or Thee to know.

Priests thus by Hiroglyphick Keyes
Unlock their hidden Mysteries.
W. Dennie Baronet.