1625
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Brides Ornaments: Meditat. II. Of Zeale and godly Jealosie.

The Brides Ornaments, viz. Five Meditiations, Morall and Divine. [Books III and IV.]

Robert Aylett


Robert Aylett discriminates between useful and harmful kinds of zeal, praising "our late famous Queene" for her desire to repair St. Paul's. The poem also decries the desecration of churches, and alludes to Laud's attempts at reform ("this holy Bishops zeale").



Oh that some holy fire enlightening,
My Soul now ravish would with thoughts divine,
Whilst I of Jealousie Loves daughter sing,
And godly Zeale, which like the Sunne doth shine,
Alas! Minerva, and the Muses nine,
Are too weake helpes their aide here to entreate,
With Cole from Altar let some Seraphine
Touch my rude tongue, and set my braine on heate,
The Glory of this Grace in loftie rhimes to sweate.

Fit Subject for a sacred Poets Verse,
Which should it selfe in Extasie transcend,
Zeales sacred Praise, with Knowledge to rehearse
Both Method and Devotion doe commend:
Who as the houshold Chaplaine doth intend,
To all that live in Royall Court of Love,
And Prayers for them all to heav'n doth send,
For without Zeale none possible can move,
To high Olimpus Court, the Seate of mightie Jove.

For Prayers that to Heav'n seeke to ascend,
Without the Fervour of this sacred Zeale,
Fall downe like smoakie vapours, that intend
Into Aires middle region to steal:
But those that are supported by her seale
Like Fumes of Incense by the Lamb contend
Ev'n in th' Almighties presence to reveale
Our wants, and crave his aid us to defend:
'Gainst worlds and Serpents poyson to our latest end.

Oh! thou to whom it was both drinke and meate,
To finish and to doe thy Fathers Will,
Whom Zeale of Gods owne House ev'n up did eate,
And made thee on the Crosse thy bloud to spill:
Who whipst out Merchants that thy house did fill
With doves and money, theeves and merchandise,
Some Zea-lous juice into my pen distill,
And raise my mind above her wonted guise,
That so my Muse may with her matter sympathise.

All other holy Graces disposition,
By Rules of Art I formerly define;
But Zeale so fervent is no definition
Can her containe, or bound in any line;
Onely shee is by nature pure, divine,
Beloved Daughter to the Queene of Love,
Whose Mothers Graces, so in her doe shine,
Shee well the primate of her Court may prove,
And ranked be for place, all other Peares above.

I here omit that Zeale, which without hate
Of others, doth to vertuous deeds contend,
And us enflames that good to emulate,
Which we to be in others apprehend:
I here that holy Jealousie commend,
Which onely doth from Love divine proceed;
When, not for our, but Gods cause, we intend
To love both him and his in word and deed,
For this is that right Zea'le which of true Love doth breed.

Truth comes by Knowledge, and from zeale, devotions;
When therefore zeale doth with true knowledge meete,
Shee doth inlarge our hearts with heav'nly notions,
Sublime, transcendent, admirable, sweet;
But where this knowledge wants, shee's undiscreet,
Rash, violent, seditious, rude and blinde,
Faults for so fair a Lady farre unmeet;
You see two zeales here of a differing kinde,
I leave the worst, and seeke the fairest out to finde.

Sweet Lady! daughter to the Queene of Love;
Which is the cause of Zeale and Jealousie,
If you will ask mee what this Queene doth move,
To love us wretches that in sin do lye;
I answere, Goodnesse of her Majestie.
Most excellent is then this holy fire,
Of zeale, proceeding from such ancestry,
Goodnesse and Love, which therefore we require
To true effects of Love and Goodnesse to aspire.

Sweet zeale! How fairely dost thou beautifie
Th' affection, where thou mak'st thy habitation,
Like Temple, which thy Lord did purifie,
Whenas his Soule with zeale and indignation,
Was mov'd to see Gods Temples prophanation,
Not suffering thy house of endlesse rest,
To be abus'd by Pride or lustfull passion,
Th' affection which doth lodge within my brest,
The Temple where Christ and the holy Ghost should rest.

Companions of Zeale are Pietie,
Faith, Knowledge, Patience, Firtitude, and Right,
In workes of Mercy, Peace, and Charitie,
And sweet Humilitie is her delight:
With all her Power shee is opposite
Against all that Gods glory may oppose,
She spends in fervent Prayers, day and night;
And those by Knowledge doth so well compose,
They bring Gods blessings down, and up his Judgements close.

Oh Zeale with Knowledge, Faith and Charitie,
Who able is thy vertue to commend,
Which doth the Church into one Body tye,
And for Gods glory only dost contend:
For publique good, and not for private end.
Lo! the Angells-Being doth in zeale consist;
Whose sacred ardour doth all flames transcend,
Wherewith they oft enlight our mindes darke mist,
When flames of hottest zeale they to our soule suggest.

Oh! Love as strong as Death, and Jealousie
Cruell as grave: Thy flames like coales of fire
Consume and burne up all most violently,
No Streames or Flouds can quench her sacred ire,
Should we sell all we have, we could not buy her:
The Daughter zeale is like the Mother free,
Them both from Heav'n th' Almightie doth inspire,
And therefore neither will affronted bee,
With Rivalls, Heathen Gods most base Idolatree.

Fond Zeale that's fitly called which doth want
Faith, Knowledge, Love divine, and Graces all,
It still doth most vaine superstitions haunt,
And to most base Idolatry doth fall,
Unhumane Fury; Madnesse tragicall!
Of men, whom thus blinde zeale and strange desire,
Transports beyond rage diabolicall,
To offer up their children in the fire,
Of some offended devill to appease the ire.

Strange is this zealous fury of the rude,
When Ignorance doth guide their blinde devotion,
The gathering of the froward multitude,
When they be stirred with some fervent motion:
All following some braine-sicke idle notion,
With discontent, against authoritie,
Raise Schismes in Church, in Common-wealth Commotion;
Pretending all their Conscience-liberty,
Alas! these be no fruits of holy Jealousie.

God often by an Anthropopathy,
By which his nature best wee understand,
Ascribes unto himselfe the Jealousie,
As being link'd in Hymens holy band;
Unto his Church, his undefiled: And
His Church againe, to shew her fervent Love,
And Joy shee takes in her new joyned hand,
Like Love-sicke Bride the Bridegroome oft doth prove,
And him with zeale invites her to imbrace and Love.

Never new wedded Bridegroome was more faine
Of his new-Bride, than Christ is of his Dove,
Never did truest Turtle more complaine,
For losse of Mate, then this Spouse of her Love;
It would a stony heart to fountaines move
Of teares to hear the Churches piteous mone,
When shee doth misse him whom her Soul doth love,
Where's my belov'd? ah whither is shee gone?
And left his saddest Deare, to sigh and sit alone.

And therefore as a Signet on his heart,
And as the Seale that is on his right hand,
She would be joyn'd, that she might never part,
But alwayes in his Grace and presence stand.
No Keeper in Christs Vineyard must command,
He will his Vineyard prune and dress alone,
Whereby his Jealousie wee understand,
His Vine the Bridegroome will have drest of none.
The Bride out of his presence never will be gone.

Doth mine invention fail? that worn to flow
In Similes, that make hard things seem plain?
Or doth the whole Creation here below,
Nothing afford zeales nature to explaine?
Alas all earthly Similes are vaine
T' expresse the nature of this Heav'nly fire,
Which in the glorious Angells doth remaine,
And in the Spirits of that blessed Quire,
Which here with Hymnes and Praises do Gods love admire.

Shall dust and ashes dare yet be so bold,
Her to the holy fire to compare
Which in the Bush thy servant did behold
Flaming, but did the Bush not singe or feare:
Such flames of zeale oft in our hearts there are,
Which do enlighten them, but not consume
These flames our Prayers to Jehovah beare,
By these our Praises spiritually up fume,
And in Gods nostrils are like incense and perfume.

Or shall I like her to some Lionesse
Rob'd of her whelps, by some adventurous hand,
Who in her wondrous woe, and furiousnesse,
Devour's and slayes all in her way that stand:
Who can the force of Jealousie withstand?
Being of so great strength and wondrous might,
God grant our zeale the Truth may understand,
And that true Knowledge may our minds inlight,
To make us zealous for Gods glory and the right.

May I not like her to strong churlish wine,
Which doth confound the braine, inflame the blood:
But cool'd with water pure, and sugar fine,
For both of them is soveraigne and good:
Ev'n so doth Jealousies most fervent mood,
Allaid with sugar of sweet Charitie,
And coold with sweetest Crystalline pure floud,
The silent streames of soft Humilitie,
Transcend in all good workes, of Love and Pietie.

This is the zeale and sacred emulation,
Which the Originall doth signifie;
Which hath with Love in Heav'n her habitation,
And all our actions here doth sanctifie.
And when our Maker us shall glorifie,
Behold! our zeale shall in perfection shine,
Begun on earth in true sinceritie,
And as our Fleshly courage doth decline,
Our zeale will grow more hot, and nearest to divine.

Zeale made old Abram, Hagars sonne reject,
For scoffing at his holy promisd seed,
And Moses Pharaohs Court and grace neglect,
When hee th' Egyptians Destiny did reed,
That smote a brother of the holy breed:
This zeale made noble Phineas with his speare,
Slay Zimri and Cosbi in their damned deed,
Though Saul the fat of Amelec would spare;
Yet Samuels zeale doth Agags flesh in pieces teare.

Oh had his Master Eli's burnt so hot
Against his sonnes, when they by violence
The fattest of Gods offrings from him got,
And with foule Lust defil'd the sacred Tents:
Had he like Phineas punish't this offence?
Our eares then should not have so tingeled,
To heare of Gods great wrath and sore offence,
He and his sonnes in one day slaughtered,
And all his race from th' Ark for ever banished.

Zeale made the warlike David to aspire
To build an house for Gods owne habitation,
And though warres crost his zeale and good desire,
Yet made he for it royall preparation,
And's Sonne it finisht on his laid foundation,
Who gold and silver Vessels in did bring,
It making Judah's Joy, the admiration
Of all the World, the Seat of the great King,
Whither the Tribes goe up for his true worshiping.

I may with this example dignifie
The noble zeale of our late famous Queene,
Who much desired to reedifie
Paules Temples ruines, which so fearfull seeme,
And make her faire as ever shee was seene:
But warres abroad and broiles within her Land,
Most fatall to this pious worke have beene;
So as it still most ruinous doth stand,
Expecting helpe from Solomons pacificke hand.

Zeale like a Torch it owne self doth consume,
Whilst burning it to others giveth light,
And like to sweetest incense and perfume
For others Good, spends all her force and might,
Oh blessed fire! if kindled aright,
It burn with Love of Heaven, and holy things,
Retaining in our hearts, both day and night,
His sweet imbraces, who is King of Kings,
Loathing the worlds vaine wanton wicked dallyings.

This Cupid be thy soules and hearts delight,
Whose Bow and golden shafts of zeale and Love,
Doe conquer Fury's, Fates, and worlds despight,
And stay the thunderbolts of angry Jove:
Oh see the force of Love and Zeale doth move
All powers that in Heav'n, Earth, Hell transcend;
Grant thee alone I zealously may Love;
And let thy Jealousie me safe defend,
That never to strange Gods I my affection bend.

Let us learn zeale of him that in the day's
Of's flesh, did offer Prayers, supplication,
With strongest cry's and teares to God alwayes,
That able was to save him from his Passion;
And learne of him true holy indignation,
To be ev'n eaten up with fervent zeale,
To see theeves den in Gods owne habitation,
But first let Knowledge our Commission seal
That where this Fervour wounds, our Charity may heal.

But ah our zeale of Prayer now growes cold,
Zeale of Gods glory like our Charitie,
And as the world declines, now waxing old,
Ev'n so doth all our zeale and pietie:
We raise our houses ev'n to dare the skie,
But raze Gods Temples equall with the ground,
Our Fathers built them for posteritie,
And left with Ornaments adorned round.
But we them with their Ornaments seeke to confound.

As for the Temples of the holy Ghost,
I meane our hearts the Bridegroomes habitation,
We will bestow on them no spirituall cost,
But leave them soil'd with vilest prophanation;
Pride, Lust, Vain-glory, all abomination,
Tis time to wish this holy Bishops zeale
Would make of them to God new consecration,
And that the holy Ghost their doores would seale,
Against all spirituall theeves, that holy goods would steale.

Oh that some holy fit of Heav'nly fire,
Raising my Muse to zealous contemplation,
Would in mine heart that fervent flame inspire
And zealous Love Saint Paul bare to his Nation,
When as he could have wisht ev'n reprobation
For their sakes, from whose flesh Christ did descend;
Or of the Prophet, by predestination
Most sure, his name in Booke of Life was pen'd
Yet wisht it wiped out Gods glory to defend.

But I confesse, we rather doe envy
Gods gifts and graces in our Bretheren,
And Josuah-like forbid them prophesie,
Shewing more zeale to honour Greatnesse, then
To Glorifie the King of Heaven, yea when
We in our hearts finde any emulation,
'Tis for vaine-glory and the praise of men,
To build our houses, not Gods habitation,
And leave fair large possessions to our generation.

Let us with David make a sacred vow,
And to th' Almightie God of Jacob sweare
Never to come within our house, nor bow
Our Limbs upon our Beds, till we prepare
A place Gods spirituall Temple up to rear:
Nor ever suffer sleepe within our eyes,
Or slumber in our eye-lids to appeare,
Till we an habitation do devise,
Where we may to th' Almighty offer sacrifice.

My mind inflame Lord with that hot desire
And zeale to glorifie thy holy name,
That like thy Martyrs I may dread no fire,
Because I feele within a hotter flame.
Hot Coles therefore shall be to mee the same,
As to the Martyr was the Boiling Oyle,
Which did more coole indeed then him inflame,
Because his zeale within did hotter boile,
Sweet heav'nly dewes doe most inrich the hottest soile.

Oh were mine head a conduit full of teares,
Mine eyes two rocks continually to run,
As well to clense foule Lusts of youthfull yeeres,
As coole the zealous flames in me begun;
Had I thus once my Bridegroomes presence won,
I never would let goe my well-laid hold,
Till hee into my Mothers chamber come,
With sweet embraces, aye mee to infold,
His ardent Love would never let my zeale grow cold.

[pp. 11-20]