In the second canto Psyche strays into a wanton grove and is tempted by Aphrodisius, an Archimago figure; after a narrow escape, Phylax strips away the fiend's disguise, revealing sin in all its deformity. The canto concludes with a pageant in which Joseph, Susanna, Jesus, and Mary figure forth the glory of chastity. Robert Southey, an omnivorous reader, took an epigraph from this canto for chapter XII of The Doctor (1849).
Retrospective Review: "Before we quit Psyche, we ought, perhaps, to take notice of the coincidence between some of its thoughts and expressions with those of Milton. As the two epic poems of the latter, in which the passages alluded to occur, appeared nearly twenty years later than the first publication of Psyche, and about thirty before the death of Dr. Beaumont, it is matter of curious speculation whether these coincidences were accidental, or, if not, which was the original. The passages are as follows. In Canto IV. where the Senses are represented as displaying their allurements, in succession, before Psyche, after a whimsical description of a feast, which bears considerable resemblance to that in the second book of Paradise Regained, Geusis, or Taste, the caterer of the feast, speaks as follows: 'These dainties, which are fairer far, I trow | Than that poor green raw apple, which could win | A wiser far than Psyche is, to throw | All other bliss away.' Thus Milton, in the passage referred to: 'Alas! how simple, to these cates compar'd, | Was that crude apple which perverted Eve.' Paradise Regained, II, 348. In Canto VI., Eve is described as plucking the fatal fruit: 'Up went her desperate hand, and reach'd away | The whole world's bliss, whilst she the apple took' [....] Thus Milton: "So saying, her rash hand in evil hour | Forth reaching to the fruit [ ... PL IX., 780.] In Canto X., after relating the dispossession of the legion of devils, the poet proceeds: 'But O, that men, whom mystic obligation | Of mutual membership doth them invite [....] "O shame to men! devil with devil damn'd | Firm concord holds; men only disagree | Of creatures rational [ ... PL II., 496.] In Canto XV., Christ's ascension is described: 'In this array the triumph marched on, | Abashing day, and dazzling the sun.' So saying, on he led his radiant files, | Dazzling the moon.' Paradise Lost, IV., 797. Of these resemblances, the first is by far the most remarkable, and the passage which contains it is the only one which is not to be found in the first edition of Psyche. In this instance, therefore, it is evident that if the coincidence were not the result of accident, Dr. Beaumont must have been the copier. We think, however, that the similarity, though remarkable, is not too great to be accounted for by chance; and we verily believe, strange as the supposition may appear to those who have not read Psyche, that our zealous high-churchman would have regarded the adopting an idea of Milton's, however valuable for the illustration of a religious subject, as little less criminal than bringing the accursed gold of Canaan into the camp of the Israelites. The other instances are less striking; and though Milton's reading was extensive, and it was his common practice to borrow the mere skeleton of his ideas from other writers, giving them a life and character of his own, we are disposed to think that in the present case there was no borrowing whatever" 12 (1825) 247-48.
Herbert E. Cory: "Psyche slips out alone, but sage Syneidesis (Conscience), follows. Charis, an old friend, is also on the watch but decides to let Psyche have a severe lesson. Syneidesis falls asleep and Psyche, pursued by a boar, is rescued by a gallant knight Aphrodisius. Her rescuer. however, proves to be the seductive emissary of Satan who would have ruined her with his lying tongue had not Charis and Phylax intervened. Aphrodisius is bound, and when repentant Psyche is brought back to behold evil unmasked he proves to be a hideous fiend" "Spenser, the Fletchers, and Milton" UCPMP 2 (1912) 336.
Lust, who in ambush lay, the Onset gives
To careless Psyche, as she gads abroad:
Charis the overpowered Maid relieves:
Phylax unmasks the Fiend. Her penitent flood
Psyche tours out, and is conducted by
A Vision to the Court of Chastity.
No foolish Tinder ever strove to catch
In its soft amorous arms the treacherous spark,
And with such zealous rashness joy'd to hatch
Its own destruction; as fond Man doth mark
And treasure up those fair-fac'd Counsels, which
With fatal charms his heedless heart bewitch.
No wretched Adder ever soder'd up
His wilful ear with trustier cement; than
With retchless obstinacy He doth stop
His Memories unhappy portals, when
Wholsom Advice with sweetness wooes it, and
Long knocking for admission doth stand.
In self-destroying Vanity so much
Is He engag'd, that He no leisure hath
To listen after Bliss; but still of such
Importance counts his Nothing, that 'tis death
To harbor Life, and entertain those dear
Counsels, which more than their own charges bear.
Or if strong Importunity (whereby
The tenderest Drops are taught to pierce the Flint,)
His Sullen stiffness constantly doth ply,
Perhaps he yieldeth to the dainty dint
Of such unwearied Gentleness; which yet
Her conquest more by stealth than force doth get.
But though at length a wicket ope he sets,
His slighted Guest in some out-room he lays:
But when vain Fancy, or Seduction beats
Summons upon his gates, He strait displays
Their way, and lets them quite thrust out of door
The former Stranger, scarcely in before.
For as the honey of Heav'n's lovely hives,
The Summer Clouds, snugging in laps of Flowers,
That correspondent dwelling quickly leaves
To churlish drops of less-deserving showers,
Or rankling mildew, which such venome sheds
As soon deflowereth all those Virgin beds:
So far'd it now with Psyche's careless breasts,
On which more dainties drop'd from Phylax tongue
Than e'r on Hybla made their verdant nest.
Abroad she will, and please her self among
The fields' wide sweets, forgetting that some wind
Might steal upon, and blast her honied mind.
Abroad she will, because she understands
Not truly what it is to be abroad
And knows as little what safe bliss commends
Her private home: that Robbers haunt the road
She never dreams; or that the broader way
Gives Danger room more ambushes to lay.
The sportful Twins of heav'n now 'gan to reign,
And brought a season fitting for their play;
Thick did they scatter upon every Plain
A flow'ry verdure, and dishevel May
Round Tellus's springing face, who thus beguiles
Her Winter's sadness with this Month of smiles.
And why, said Psyche, may not I comply
With Heav'n and Earth, now both are of a mind?
Yet Guilt's fore-runner doubtful Jealousy
Advised her this wild design to blind;
And by sly Stealth to snatch those joys for which
Though earnest, yet still fearful was her itch.
She therefore plotted to slip out alone:
But sage Syneidesis, her trusty maid;
Hunted out every step where she had gone;
And Charis, an old friend of her's, afraid
What might betide the Wanderer, follow'd too,
Yet in her company forbore to go.
Nor could her foolish craft escape the eye
Of warye Phylax: never-sleeping he
Discover'd with what politic vanity
Her own betrayer she contriv'd to be:
And all the way she went, with heavy sighs
Ponder'd the dangers of her jollities.
As pleasure's paths she in the fields did trace,
It joy'd her dreaming heart the lambs to see
Skipping in harmless sport from place to place:
And who would be so sad and dull, said she,
To sneak at home, when thus abroad we may
Behold how sweetly Innocence doth play!
No smiling flower could meet her as she went,
But gathering it, she with a kiss would pay
The courteous price of that delicious scent
With which so kindly it perfum'd her way:
And still cries out, How poor a place is home,
Which for such free full Joys affords no room?
Thus loosly tripping, she was lost at last
Through pathless paths, into a pleasant Grove;
The gentle winds through crowds of trees made haste,
And in her face a gale of odours drove:
Needs would she venture, and see whether this
Were not the Copy of old Paradise.
The courtly boughs laden with generous spice,
Stoop'd to salute her as she forward went;
And woo'd her to accept the sacrifice
Of any fruit which might her choice content:
The dangling Apples smil'd, and seem'd to say,
Madam, behold we meet you half the way.
But all their cheeks with such thick charms were set
That every one did her amazement win:
When one prevail'd, his neighbor straight would get
The victory, but yield it back again.
About looks she, yet knows not which to choose,
And in those sweets her sweeter self doth loose.
When on the sudden, from a neighbor tree
Her ears were captiv'd, as before her eyes:
For mystic chains of purest harmony
Insnar'd them by inchantment's soft surprize;
Whilst a wing'd Quire through their new-tuned throats
Pour'd out a deluge of their daintiest Notes.
Divided thus with pleasures, needs she will
Seek where her fond self she may recollect:
Close by she stealing spies a silver Rill,
Whose gorgeous bank with golden flowers was deckt.
There pitching down, once more adieu, said she,
Dull home, which no such feast couldst spread for me.
Syneidesis, her Mistress being set,
Couch'd down behind her, and fell fast asleep.
Old Charis kept aloof, resolv'd to let
The venturous Maid some smart experience reap
Of her rash confidence, who needs would stray
Like some vain child, so far from home to play.
She play'd indeed, and little thought that she
Was playing all her happiness away:
She play'd, and knew not what catastrophe
Would sour the fickle sweetness of her play;
But wholly yielding to the fair-fac'd Treason,
Into her Sense she melted all her Reason.
When lo, into the Grove a monstrous Boar
Loud roaring out his ugly thunder came,
And brought more Terror thither, than before
Appear'd Delight. Never did whiter foam
Smoke on the Ocean's stormy face, than now
This hideous Beast about his own did throw.
As are the Comets, fierce with ominous light,
Such were his eyes, compos'd of fire and blood:
His dismal tusks, the engines of his spight
Held forth their greedy points: a hedge of dread
Star'd on his back, with bristles stern and high,
Whose sharpness did all wrath of thorns defy.
At this dire spectacle their troubled heads
The trees did shake, and all their leaves did quiver:
The fearfull flowers fell down upon their beds,
Closing their fainting eyes: the frighted River
Doubled his course, and headlong through dismay
Sought from his channel how to run away.
Strait startled out of her unfortunate pleasure
Psyche flies too upon the wings of fear;
Whose steps the hungry Beast as fast did measure,
And swallow'd up the way to tear down Her:
His roars, though high, her shriller shreeks transcend.
Which heav'n and earth and her own throat did rend.
Philax, her soul's most watchfull friend, was near,
Flying from tree to tree still as she ran:
But was by heav'n forbidden to appear,
And rescue Her who needs would be undone:
He wisely was forbidden, till her jolly
Progress, had fully pay'd her for her folly.
Through thousand snarled thickets posting, she
Darted her self, regardless of her way:
No peevish bushes claws, though busily
They snatch'd and scratch'd her, could command her stay:
Become all speed, she found not now that deep
The Vallies were, or that the Hills were steep.
But long flight at the last shortning her breath,
Which twixt her trembling lips lay strugling, she
Crys out, dear Philax, from these jaws of death
The Monster opes so wide, deliver me!
Where is thy God and mine! O can, can my
Almighty Lover love to see me dye!
Hear helpless Dread and fainting sunk her down,
Unto the ready Beast an easy prey:
Whose hasty tusk straight through her dainty gown
Unto her softer body tore its way.
When lo, a sudden spear flew through his neck
And frighted on the ground return'd him back.
A lusty Gallant, Aphrodisius Knight,
Who in that lucky instant thither came,
Directed it; and strait with equal might
Drew out his glittering blade; whose dreadful flame
A forehand strook the dazled Monster dead,
Whose keener edge snatch'd off his ravenous head.
This done, he gently takes the Virgin up;
Then with a courtly kiss he gives her joy.
Scarce could her hopes grow bold enough to ope
Her eyes, seal'd close with desperate dismay:
But when she view'd the slaughter'd Boar, and Him
As sweet and fair, as that was foul and grim.
I see there are more Phylax's than one,
Cries she: This life, dear Sir, which heretofore
Was mine, your love hath now made your's alone:
For helpless I had left it to that Boar,
And lay'd me down to measure out my grave;
Whence you to me this Resurrection gave.
Yet trust me Sir, a life you have not giv'n
To one who can forget by whom she lives:
Whether you come from Earth, or rather Heav'n,
(For seldom Earth such strange salvation gives,)
Let my Soul big with just thanks, learn, and see
Whether her debt divine or humane be.
The debt you mean, was mine, reply'd the Knight
You nothing owe but courteous acceptation:
In Ladies' rescues who forbears to fight,
Forfeits all Knighthood's noble obligation.
Yet by a great and dearer bond than this
Was I oblig'd your danger to repress.
But Madam, first he pleased to repose
Your lost-found self: a little distance hence
(For well I know this place,) a Current flows
Between two flowry Banks: there will I rinse
My bloody hands; there shall you sit and hear
A wond'rous story, and due to your ear.
The place was where she wantoniz'd but now:
Thither they go; and thither Phylax flies,
Perching unseen upon a neighbour bough.
The Gallant wash'd his hands; and she her eyes,
But in her own soft tears of joy, to think
How she had come from Death's to that Brook's brink.
The various pleasures of the Grove, no more
Monopolize her wond'ring eyes; for she
In Aphrodisius reads far nobler store
Of love-commanding miracles: and He
As much admiring his own prosp'rous art,
Aforehand acts his triumph in his heart.
Then on the flow'ry couch by Her he sits,
And ushers in his talk with cunning sighs;
His cheating cheeks with lying tears he wets,
Three times he strikes his breast, three times his eyes
He casts up towards Heav'n, three times he smiles
And sighs again, and her as oft beguiles.
At length, I crave, said he, your pardon till
You know my case; then blame me if you can:
And since my self my self to you must tell,
Bate me the Laws of that which squeamish men
Call modesty, my story must be high;
High Truth's more modest than the humblest Lie.
Know Lady then, I am a Man who by
My birth as deep ingag'd to fortune stand,
As any he that lives, if Majesty
Crown not his head, and Sceptre gild his hand.
My Stock's the noblest in this Land but one,
Nor bears it any Branch but Me alone.
This made my tender Lord and Father spare
No noble cost which might his Son adorn:
From learned Athens Tutors hired were
Whom first the wings of Fame had hither born
They Athens left, but brought with them to me
From thence the truer University.
Thus did the public Wit of Greece become
A member of our private family,
And I with all the world convers'd at home:
Yea in their dialects too, as fast as my
Young breath I could transform: nor was it long
Ere many sate upon my single Tongue.
For never in the long and tedious tract
Of slavish Grammar was I made to plod;
No tyranny of Rules my patience racks;
I serv'd no prentisehood to any Rod;
But in the freedom of the Practic way
Learnd to go right, ev'n when I went astray.
This with a Pass supplyed me by which
Without disturbance I might travel through
All Learning's Provinces, and in her rich
Commodities, a skilful Trader grow.
Their gains be doubtful, who for all their wares
Are forc'd to traffique by Interpreters.
A clear survey of those dark steps I took
By which Philosophers have Nature trac'd:
Then Mathematics were my buisy book;
A thousand Lines I placed and displac'd:
To heav'n upon the Artist's Staff I went
And studied round about the Firmament.
Those mighty Pow'rs which so securely dwell
On th' open forehead of the brittlest Glasses,
Melting the boldness of the thickest Steel
Whilst through the furnace of thin light it passes
With all those Optic Miracles I learn'd
Which scorn by Eagles eyes to be discern'd.
Music's most mystic soul I hunted through
All her sweet Orb, and with unwearied pains
Measur'd long nights and days, in hopes to know
What reason married Concording Strains.
What divorc'd snarling Discords, but no knot
E'r mock'd my fruitless industry like that.
With proud delight, and with no less success
I tun'd my heart to those soul-conquring Charms
Which flourish in smooth Numbers: how to dress
In fierce aray War's thundering Alarms;
How to belace and fringe soft Love, I knew,
For all my Ink was now Castalian dew.
The treasures of Antiquity, lap'd up
In old historic leaves I ransacked:
How Kingdoms sprung, and how they made their stop,
I well observ'd; with what brave Spirits did,
How they their honors managed, and what
The beams of their nobility did blot.
But with my Soul's delight no Study e'r
Concenterd so, as that which led me through
The Paradise of sacred Scripture, where
All Trees of Knowledge unforbidden grow.
The fond World mock'd me, as too grave and sad;
But ne'r would I for fashion sake be mad.
My Recreations were such as few
Durst make their work, so serious was my Play:
Tir'd with my bookish study, fresh I flew
To practise Martial Feats: thus ev'ry day
In both her brave Professions I strove
To follow Pallas, whom I most did love.
Oft have I fac'd stern War, and seen the Field
With streaming Ensign's goodly terror spred;
Where how much more I lov'd to die, than yield,
Upon my brest good witness you may read
Ev'n these seven Wounds, whose mouths once open'd wide,
In mine own blood my virtue testify'd.
Oft through the gloomy'st Woods alone I rode
To find, some wild Antagonist, some Bear,
Some Boar, some Lion, the accustom'd food
Wherewith I diet this my hungry spear:
You well may gather by the certain blow
I gave yon Beast, I am no Learner now.
Thirty such barb'rous heads as that of his
With noble horror trim our stately Hall:
Which furniture was purchased by this
Sole hand of mine: to glorify a Wall
With tapestry feats, is womanish, say I,
Give me a Suit of real Chevalry.
And will you think Pride speaks the word, if here
I tell you Fame's Trump breath'd my History?
Through Court, through City, Country, ev'ry where
Reports of Aphrodisius's worth did fly:
No highstrain'd Parallel was made but thus,
As good, or brave, as Aphrodisius.
Through any rural Village did I ride?
With gaping eyes and mouths the swains beset me:
The Mothers, with their Children by their side,
Pointed and talk'd strange things: The Pedant at me
Discharg'd, part through his lips, part through his nose
Some wellmeant volley of ill verse or Prose.
But when I moved in the Court's high sphere;
Stars of the noblest magnitude, although
They twinckled at my fairer presence, ne'r
Did an oblique malignant aspect throw
Upon my motion: Honor seem'd in me
To have forgot her own fragility.
So sov'reign were my Beams, that fewer eyes
Paid homage to the King's, than unto Mine:
Devoutly did the Ladies sacrifice
Their Looks, and sighs, and Languors at my shrine;
Oft has the Queen gone out alone, whilst they
Forgot to follow her if I did stay.
How many a pretty Embassy have I
Receiv'd from them, which put me to my wit
How not to understand! but by and by
Some Comment would come smiling after it;
Which yet with modest art endeavor'd how
Not to profess what most it strove to show.
But though thus oft and delicately haunted
By these sweet fairies; still with resolute heed
Some handsome way or other I invented
How not to be at leisure: for indeed,
I other business had which fill'd my head,
Books call'd me up, and Books put me to bed.
This my Disease thus known, a Lady sped
To me a Handful of Conceit, cloath'd in
So quaint a Cover, as forc'd me to read
That unwrit lesson e'r I could begin
To ope the Book and what did that contain,
But A Discourse to prove all Learning vain?
Bold Title, then said I, if thou can'st make
Thy Promise good, by Learning thou must do it.
With that I threw't aside; yet could not slake
My curious itch to look again into it.
I look'd and read, and saw how finely Wit
Had whipp'd it self; and then grew friends with it.
Then summon'd by Civility I went
To court the Giver, and my thanks repay.
Look not, said I, for polish'd complement,
Whose art, sweet Madam, rather would gainsay,
Than thank you for your Book: Since Learning's vain,
My wisest thanks must simple be and plain.
Between a blush and smile, she welcome gave
To her new Convert. But dear Sir, said she,
I sent another Book, in which you have
More of my mind than in those leaves can be!
A Book, writ by a Dart shot from above,
In rubric lines and characters of love.
Yet think not that a gift: No; 'twas the Debt
Which I did to all Sweetness pay in you.
How could I chuse? for had I more than that,
They would be more than due: but having now
But only one poor heart, your praise must be
Not to disdain my helpless poverty.
I would not for a thousand worlds again
Receive it back: with how Divine a nest,
If your all-lovely bosome shall but deign
To entertain it, will it there be blest!
If thence you cast it, take't who will for me!
I ne'r shall love what hated is by Thee.
Yet give me leave to ask, what Lady 'tis
Thou wilt exalt to sit Queen in thy heart:
Whether her face more graceful be than this,
Which blusheth here in pleading its own part:
Whether her Lineage or Estate afford
More arguments then mine to win my Lord.
If not; then by these loyal tears I offer
At thy fair feet, this venturous Truth forgive:
Thy Love is due to me. Can just Heaven suffer
The best of Men should only live, to live?
No; Thou an Off-spring ow'st the world, which may
With Heroes furnish it another day.
And let it be no bar against my Bliss,
That I turn Wooer, and change parts with thee:
Poor I, indeed, but passive am in this,
For thou although most chaste, hast ravish'd me;
And all that I have said, If rightly spell'd,
Will signify no more but that I yield.
O may all Equity forbid, that Thou
Should'st count it boldness in me to Submit:
To infinite Necessity allow
What Thou thy self imposest: Never let
The yielding innocent Tinder suffer blame
For taking fire, when she's beset with flame.
As when the Pris'ner at the bar has done
His tongue's last Plea; he plants his craving Eye
Upon the Judge, and from his mouth alone
In hopes and fears expects his destiny:
So look'd the Lady, with prepared eyes
To see her joys, or weep her obsequies.
Full loth was I to speak, but lother by
Inhuman Lingring silence to torment
Her most suspended soul, and make her die
Without her sentence. Many a sigh I sent
Before to tell how painful was the birth
Of that sad Answer, which I thus brought forth:
How wretched is his Bliss, whose single heart
Whilst Diverse Ladies of choice worth attend
With loyal passion, He must either part,
And so destroy his own; or empty send
Them all away but one; and thus be fain
By many a Loss to make one piteous Gain!
Had I as many bosoms as I owe
To such sweet Creditors as Thou; with speed
I all my scores wou'd pay: But first I vow,
To thee, dear Lady, in whose Worth I read
Such rich Attraction, that were I to choose
My heav'n, for thee I would all other loose.
But long ago my Choice was made, and I
Affianced: Yet to what sacred she,
Is so divine a Secret, that no Key
Could from my bosom pick that Mystery.
My reverend Mother's tears and kisses sought,
But never yet prevail'd to wooe it out.
Yet thy breast's cabinet I honor so,
That I dare trust this Jewel there: but see
Thou keep'st it safe and close, as thou wouldst do
My blood and soul, things not so dear to me.
And give me leave to cast this charm about,
For fear thou lett'st it and my life slip out.
So may thy heart-strings hold thy heart, as thou
This more than heart of mine: so may thy Love
Be true to thee, and to thy wishes bow
As to my Secret thou shalt trusty prove:
So may thine Angel hug thy soul, as in
Thy faithful breast thou shalt this thing inshrine.
A thing which mine own Guardian Angel did
Acquaint and bless me with. When through mine eyes
Love first began his amorous beams to shed,
And with his soft Desires my heart surprize,
This winged friend of mine look'd through a frown,
And told me, my own heart was not my own.
It is, said he, thy privilege, (and see
Thou thank Heav'n for it,) not to run and spend
Thy youth on wantonesse's mystery:
Let others study how to walk, to bend,
To smile, to look in print, and their spruce lip
With dainty lies and softer kisses tip.
With Taylors for their best accomplishment
Let Vanitie's gay Sons run on the score:
Idolatrous Poetry let them invent,
And into Sonnets change their Psalter: more
Manly and generous Arts decreed are
To exercise thy parts and crown thy care.
Court thou thy Books, and gain such treasure there
As may inhance thy worth, and thee complete
For a fit match for her whom Heav'ns prepare
To be thy Spouse: whose face when thou shalt meet,
The reading on that fair-writ Book of love
For all thy studies, ample Pay will prove.
But dream not that the Court's all gaudy scene
Will e'r present her to thy longing eye:
No public glaring Gem is she, but in
Abstrusest shades of virtuous modesty
Delights to glimmer. Thus from common Day
To private Night skip all the Stars away.
To yon dark Grove a pilgrim thou must go
Each morn, to find thy Saint; and with thy sword
Make her thine own Prey of a monster's: so
Shall she salute thee with no other word
But plain confession that thine is her life:
Thus Heav'n contrives that thou shalt win thy wife.
These are my fortunes, Madam, yet unknown
Ev'n by the sweetest half unto my self:
And sure your hand would help to thrust me down
Deserved vengeance's profoundest gulf
Should wantoness invite me to despise
A blessing higher than my Pride durst rise.
The former scarlet of the Lady's face
This answer into piteous paleness turn'd:
Her Suit's strong flame to ashes fainted was;
And She although rejected, yet not scorn'd,
Wander'd about her thoughts, and all agast
Found her sad self in musing silence lost.
Yet happy she, at length she cries, whoe'r
She be that must hug happiness in you.
And yet permit mine eye one other tear:
'Tis not of envy; No: Dear Sir, adieu.
It pitied me to see this gentle fashion
Of her sincere but unsuccessful Passion.
We parting thus, I hasted to this Grove,
Amongst whose spicey trees I knew would grow
My sweeter hopes. But Heav'n it seems would prove
The valour of my patience, and throw
Procrastinations in my way, that I
Might earn my bliss by hardy Constancy.
How often came I, and with bended knee
On every flow'ry cushion of the Grove
Implor'd the speed of my felicity!
How oft to this sweet Temple has great Love
Receiv'd my heart an offering all on fire,
Kindled, and fed, and blown by strong Desire!
How often with this Brook have my poor eyes
Sadly contended which should fastest flow!
How often has the tempest of my sighs
Outstorm'd the loudest Winds that blustred through
These groaning Trees! How often has my cry
Taught gentle Echo mournful sympathy!
At length my groans were heard; and this dear Day
In that sad-welcom moment sent me hither,
Which shew'd me that my long expected joy
Was now fullgrown and ready ripe to gather.
Which strait had I not pluck'd, the monster had
Of all its sweetness his foul booty made.
First then to Heav'n my fultide thanks I pay;
And next to thee, my noble Guardian, who
Before my hopes no forged bait didst lay:
Each smallest circumstance agreeth so,
That this the Lady is, the only she
Design'd by Heav'n to crown my joys and me.
All blessings on thy head, my Psyche: that,
That, I am certain is thy precious name.
That Angel told me it, whose counsels put
Me on this blest adventure, when I came
To save thy life both for thy self and me,
And make of thine my joint felicity.
I with no prying questions stand to sift
Thy lineage, education, or estate:
To follow not examin Heaven's, my drift;
Nor must my Policy my Faith abate.
O no! I am secure; all things cannot
But suit aright when Heav'n do's lay the plot.
Here then, my heart I give thee, and I seal
The Deed on thy fair lips: may curses rain
Thick on my head, if ever I repeal
This sacred Act, or challenge back again
That Gift of mine, whose fault is only this,
Of thy Desert it too unworthy is.
So spake the glorious Impostor; and
Granting commission by a graceful kiss
To his own snowy yet lust-burning hand,
Sent it to treat with Psyche's, and to press
With feeling eloquence that Project He
Hop'd would conclude in tactile villany.
But as the Seaman by fierce tempests thrown
Into the seeming depth of roaring Death,
If he by sudden fortune back be blown
Into the gentle harbor; wondereth
At his strange safety, and scarce trusts his eyes,
Long doubting whether yet he lives or dyes:
So Psyche snatch'd from Danger's desperate jaws
Into the arms of this illustrious Lover;
Her self into Doubt's misty mazes throws,
And in suspensive thoughts a while doth hover.
Deceive me not, said she, a frighted maid,
Too poor, great Sir, by you to be betray'd.
If still I live; and all this be no Dream,
(For sure your story's such a heavenly thing,
That simple I alas unworthy am
To be concernd in it,) be pleas'd to bring
Some Proofs which my faith's dazled eye may chear,
And it for your bright miracles prepare.
Then be the first Proof, Aphrodisius cries,
This diamond Ring; a glass where thou maist see
The sparkling copy of thine own bright eyes:
The next, this Jewel; what thou art to me
Let that attest; yet pardon me that I
Gave it that precious Name, now Thou art by.
The third, that delicate Embrace shall be
For which all Loves are kindled: that which will
Most solid sweet assurance seal to Thee;
And my great Guardian's prophesy fulfil.
Come, I can give thee leave to blush; a Maid
Of what she most loves, must be most afraid.
Were not our case divine, I well could stay.
And by our human Ceremonies marry:
But We did wed above; and what can they
Add to Heav'n's Rites? O no! 'tis sin to tarry.
Shall Matrimony's mighty Author not
Be thought sufficient to tie the Knot!
When God to Adam brought his Eve (as thee
He did to me,) bold had her niceness been,
If to pronounce her Match authentic, she
Had linger'd till some Priest might intervene.
Nor could my Angel, if in this I err,
Forbear to tell me so. Come then my Dear.
Forgetful Psyche now inchanted quite
By these harmonious Wiles, set ope her breast
To the loose fancies of unclean Delight:
Forthwith a knot of unseen serpents prest
Into her heart, and set it so on fire
That strait it flamed out with foul Desire.
But Phylax seeing that outrageous flame,
Wakes heavy-brow'd Syneidesis, and cries,
Run, run, and help to save your dying Dame
Look how her funeral flames aforehand rise.
Up flies the maid, and instantly thrust in
Between the Lovers and their ready sin.
Back Psyche flung, and from her forehead shot
Mix'd darts of guilty Wrath and wild Disdain:
Impudent Wretch, crys Aphrodisius, what
Has made thy life so vile, that thou shouldst strain
To forfeit it to me? I prithee go,
Dy somewhere else: I'd be no Woman's foe.
O then, said she, forbear to stain my pure
And spotless Mistress. Fy, cries Psyche, fy
I know her not: My Lord, can you endure
I should such saucy servants own, as she?
Is your Love's might less mighty than before?
Tear down this Sow, as you dispatch'd the Boar.
He having steeping, in a box of Jett
A blacker Liquor, drawn from Lethe lake,
Upon Syneidesis strait emptied it.
She rubb'd her eyes; but found their strength too weak
To grapple with that stupor which did creep
On her dull'd brow, and down she fell asleep.
As when the Child, ventring his feet to prove
Carelesly stumbles to some Precipice;
His tender Nurse, wing'd both with fear and love
Makes on amain, with most intensive eyes
Not on her way, but Him, who now she knows
Is stepping into Death's wide open jaws:
So watchful Charis, who did distance keep
Till her Assistance might more useful be,
Now snatch'd Speed's wheels; and rousing from her sleep
Syneidesis, be not dismay'd, said she,
But try with me, whether Heav'n's bridle will
Not curb your Lady's fierce career to hell.
With that, as Phoebus steals his subtil Ray
Through virgin Crystal, so through Psyche's breast
She darts her hand, and strives to snatch away
The poisonous Brood from their usurped Nest:
Yet she flings back, and though herself forlorn,
Casts on her fairest Friend foul frowning scorn.
Thus when the Prince's gracious Proclamation
Woo's the successful Rebel from his sin:
Outrageous he with sullen indignation
Kicks the kind offer, and had rather in
His pleasing Poison wallow, than confess
That he, heav'n-favor'd he, infected is.
But Aphrodisius amazed now
To see a Beauty whose dawn damp'd his eyes,
A Beauty which on Psyche's face did throw
Unlovely blackness, and monopolize
All heav'n within it self; recoiled back,
Some Counsel in his troubled brain to take.
Mean while, Syneidesis pour'd this loud Cry
In Psyche's ear: Mistress, believe it now
I am awake, and see your Misery:
But O how foul a sleep possesseth you!
Whilst monstrous Dreams and Apparitions roul
About your pleas'd because inchanted soul.
Home, home, I pray: this Grove grows thick with Charms
And wit bewitch you from your self, untill
All help grows tardy for your rampant Harms.
Home soon will cure you, and your bosom fill
With better flames than these, which only be
Lighted to plunge in Darkness you and me.
Why linger We? see, see your Lover's gone;
Perhaps to fetch more poison for your heart,
And double on you your Destruction.
This unexpected News made Psyche start:
She turn'd her head, and saw 'twas so indeed;
Frighted by Charis, He away was fled.
Yet after him a heavy Sigh she sent,
And would have more dispatch'd: but tugged by
Syneidesis, at last she homeward went.
Her feet crept homeward, but her heart did fly
Back to the grove; which Charis, as she came
Watching behind, met, and brought safely home.
But Aphrodisius could not make such haste
As to out run the Angel's nimbler hand;
Half this curs'd Paradise he had not past,
But Phylax lighted down and bid him stand.
Stand fiend, said He; thy punishment shall be
Upon this scene of thine own Treachery.
Fair hideous Sir, how has your wretched spight
Tore from your Memory that deep-writ Blow
By which mine and my heavenly Brethrens Might
Yon and your fellow-feinds to hell did throw?
.Did that fall bruise your heart so little, that
It, and our Victory you have forgot?
But grant your spight (which as immortal is
As your too-lasting Essence) triumphs o'r
Your mightiest Pangs; grant that your stubborness
Made you delight to earn still more and more
Extremities of Vengance, and forget
That bottomless already was your Pit.
Was't not enough that in your burning Home
Hot blasphemies you day by day did spit
At Heaven and God: but you to Earth must come
And all your trains of sly Delusions set
To ravish his own Spouse, for whose dear sake
I here his Lieger lie the Match to make?
Poor harmless Psyche, how did she offend!
Did she incroach on your black Realms below?
Did she e'er envy Hell to any feind,
Or strive to snatch Damnation from you?
Sure you have injur'd Her, and Phylax too;
For she's my Charge, and you shall find it so.
With that, He from his angry bosome drew
A golden Banner, in whose stately lap
His Lord's Almighty Name wide open flew,
Of Hell-appalling Majesty made up:
The feind no sooner Jesus there did read,
But Guilt pull'd down his eyes, and fear his head.
For as the Lightning darts on mortal Sight
Dazling confusion so this brighter Name
Flash'd in the Fury's face with killing fright.
Strait Phylax hal'd him pale with dread and shame
To that inchanted Tree, whose conscious shade
Roof'd th' green Stage where he the Lover play'd.
So have I seen a learing Cur drawn back
Into the field where he had torn the Lambs,
With guilty ears thrown flat upon his neck;
With woful tayl sneaking between his hams;
With grinning chaps, whose whining dialect
Spake both what he had done, and did expect.
In vain he struggles: for the nearest bough
Phylax with potent art twines round about
It's own tough self, and teaches how to grow
Into a Band more obstinate and stout
Than his fell Pris'ner: whom forthwith he ties
Fast to the Tree, and home to Psyche flies.
Poor Psyche; who no sooner was come home,
But Charis hasts her to her Closet, where
The holy furniture which trimm'd the room,
Piously-sullied and worn Prayerbooks were.
But she so strange an eye now casteth on them,
As if her soul had never dwelt upon them.
Her idle Thoughts were grown so squeamish, that
Such serious Acquaintance she abhorr'd:
Which surer out to keep, the wilful gate
Of her unhappy heart within she barr'd:
Nor could wise Charis, though all ways she try'd,
Slip that untoward peevish Bar aside.
Yet by untir'd Love's diligence, at last
She in that heart found out a private door;
Through which with blessed stealth her arm she thrust,
And valiantly rent from thence, before
Psyche's astonish'd eyes, that viperous fry
Which her snarl'd soul in unfelt bands did ty.
And see, said she, the Token your brave Love
Hath hung about his Darling's heart, is this:
What kind of favors His were like to prove,
By these fine Knots of Ribands you may guess.
If they thy Heavenly Suiter's gifts excell,
Then love they Hellish Aphrodisius still.
The hissing Serpents scrambled on the floor,
Which, and their shamed selves, they gnaw'd for spight.
Psyche starts back afraid of what before
She in her bosome hugg'd with blind delight;
Till potent Charis in disdain did throw
Them whence they came, home to their hell below.
Deeply agast, the Virgin ponder'd now
The monstrous Witchery with serious thought:
Horrid Amazement's torrents rushed through
The breaches of her wounded soul: about
All her breast's region, with wide-streaming dread
The Banners of Confusion were spread.
At length fall'n on her lamentable face,
Her grief burst ope into this rueful cry:
My shameful presence maketh any place
Unworthy of thy noble company:
Hence, hence, pure Charis; let me blush alone
Left fouler than those serpents which are gone.
And you my rev'rend Books, your leaves shut up
Where my Damnation frowns in ev'ry line.
When holy Eyes draw near, then freely ope,
But O, you are too fair and chast for mine:
Mine, which let out my soul, and usher'd in
All Hell, and, what is far more hellish, Sin.
They nothing else can do but blurr you now
With those perpetual streams of bounden brine
Which to my wilful misery I owe.
O Eyes; if ever your salt tide decline,
May you fail too: so dead a life live I
That if you drown me not, I needs must dye.
Shine not on me fair Sun, though thy brave Ray
With safety can the foulest dunghill kiss:
I am a nastyer heap than those, and may
Taint thy sweet Lustre by my filth's excess.
Black Night will fear no spots; O may she roul
Up in her pitch my correspondent soul!
What have vile I to do with noble Day
Which shews Earth Heav'ns bright face? which I
Wantonly scorn'd, and cast my love away
Upon impostur'd Lust's foul Mystery.
Did e'r Heart make so mad a choise as mine
To grow plain devilish rather than divine!
My stem Revenge sure on this Heart shall smoke:
A tempest will I raise of sighs and groans
To scourge that smooth-tongu'd Gale whose whispers woke
That Wrack which stole on me: with ruthless stones
I'l make this harder breast without appear
As black as 'twas within when Hell dwelt there.
I with my howlings will these ears torment
Which joy'd to drink the Cheaters tickling charms
These lips which lov'd his kisses, shall be spent
In courting nasty Dust: these lustful arms
Which hug'd his body, shall mine own chastise
Which now I bate more than I loved his.
His Jewel's sparks I'l quench and punish by
A Coat of swarthy'st and of harshest hair:
For his rich Ring of smoothfac'd Diamond, I
By a course knotty rope will pay full dear:
(And here, in wrathful scorn, her foot upon
Them both she set; and thus went wailing on:)
O all ye Griefs which ever find your sting
Deep in a guilty treach'rous bosom, hear
Unhappy Psyche's Pray'rs, and hither bring
Your stoutest pow'rs; my heart has room to spare
For your full train: (Adieu all Loves,)
I now Must only study to wooe Hate, and you.
Why was I born! (may Darkness choke that Day
Whose light faun'd, on my cursed birth:) or why
When in the Boar's my Death his paw did lay
Upon my throat, had I not leave to dye.
Why did I scape that Monster, to be thrown
To fouler ones, Hell's Treason, and mine own!
Why play'd such flaming beauties in mine eye
As might allure and shew to Lust its way!
Why smil'd my face with such mild majesty,
As bad false Love, be bold me to betray!
Why was not I deform'd, that shelter'd in
Secure neglect, I might have scap'd this sin!
The universal World's Contempt could not
Have wrong'd or wounded me so deep, nor thrown
Upon my Beauties such a fatal Blott
As they upon themselves and me have drawn.
I had not now been heir to heaven's just scorn
If in Earth's eye my shape had been forlorn.
But in my Bodie's graceful features, my
Proud graceless folly needs would surfet so
As to persuade me, my felicity
Upon a rotten carnal Stock did grow
To beastly solace thus with gay content
My self did I an holocaust present.
O righteous Prophet of unrighteous Pleasure
Whose total sum's made up of desperate loss!
How justly, when we trade away our Treasure
Requit'st thou us with rusty fretful dross!
For all the Gains fond Wantonness brings in
Prove but a bank of vengeance on the sin.
Still still I burn; my fire but changed is;
And though my Lust be cool'd, my Guilt is hot,
And belks and boils; whilst wroth Syneidesis;
Blows up its more incensed coals. O what
Can help my aenigmatic sorrows, who
Thus on my self my Execution do!
Stings, conscious stings, have made my heart their Butt,
Graving outrageous Memorandums there
Of those snakes' tongues which Aphrodisius shot
Into my heedless breast: strange tongues, which here
Were tame and mild, but being hence withdrawn
Most barb'rous in their successors are grown.
Ay me! can Pity injure Justice so
As to relieve me with a gracious glance?
Durst any Cordial undertake a Woe
Which helps itself to fester? What presence
Shall I devise, to seek abroad for aid,
Who willingly have been at home betray'd?
As thus she lay lamenting on the floor,
And strove to sink yet lower: Charis, who
Had all this while but stepp'd behind the door,
Comes clearly in, and crys, Break off thy Woe,
Dear Psyche; 'tis enough, thy hearty cry
Hath pierc'd already, and appeas'd the Sky.
The Copies of those Tears thou there hast shed
Upon the ground, reflected high, and are
Already in Heaven's Casket bottled;
Thy grief now smiles above, and maketh clear
God's louring face: Look up and see how Day
Right friendly on thee shines, and bids thee joy.
With that, her blessed News to justify,
She breath'd into the wondring Virgin's breast
Mysterious seeds of pure tranquillity;
Pledges of reconciled Heav'n, a feast
Of Paradise's most delicious cates,
Spiritual joys, and soul-enliv'ning sweets.
Her squalid count'nance with such verdant pow'rs
Of chearfulness, ne'r did the thirsty Ground
Reform and beautify, when Summer Show'rs
The deep pains of her gasping Drought had crown'd;
As overjoyed Psyche, now she feels
Warm in her bosom Grace's gentle Gales.
Gales on whose dainty wings strange Influence rides;
An influence of such speedy operation,
That though all Opposition's highest tides
Roar in its way, through their proud Conjuration
With instant Might it flies, and ev'ry where
Finds Victory attending its career.
Forth from her eyes, in spight of all those tears
Whose deluge domineered there before,
Sweet flames of gladness broke; her head she rears
With sudden briskness, and upon the shoar
Of Comfort having fix'd her foot, forgets
Her shipwreck's Loss, and hasts to pay her debts.
To Heav'n to Charis, to Syneidesis
Her winged thanks she speeds; but all aray'd
In scarlet, from her cheeks, whose graceful Dress
The beauty of her Penitence display'd.
Blushes, though Blame's own Colours, are not blam'd:
The greatest shame is not to be asham'd.
But whilst She melted into joy to see
Her buried Soul rise up to life again;
A sudden Damp clouds her Serenity,
Alarming her with unsuspected pain:
For Phylax flutters in, and, Come, said he,
You to the Grove must back again with me.
As when the place of Robbery you name
The Thief in white or red betrays his fear:
So Psyche's heart gall'd with renewed shame
By that word's piercing rub, makes it appear
In her appaled looks: And, ah, said she,
Com'st thou thus to revive my Misery?
Bid me go find some desp'rate rock from whence
Down I may plunge into the deepest Main:
Bid me post headlong to th' infernal Prince
And cov'nant with him for eternal Pain:
Nay bid me do it: or bid me not go where
My far worse Hell will meet my guilty fear.
I like thine anger well, crys Phylax; but
The Grove is not the Grove it was this Morn:
Another visage I on it have put,
Both chaste and safe, and fit for thy return.
No Boar, no Wooer's there: come let us go;
Both Charis and thy Maid will with us too.
This high assurance cheer'd her tim'rous heart
Long us'd to holy confidence in Him:
Besides, her faithful Consorts bore their part
In this encouragement. Yet did there swim
About her breast, some tender trembling Doubts,
Which spread like Mist upon her clearer thoughts.
Along they went: but coming near the Grove,
Suspicious Psyche quak'd and closer clung
To Phylax, who reach'd out his shield of Love,
The downy shelter of his Heavenly wing;
Under whose chearly shadow her he led
Into the gloomy shades the Wood had spread.
For now those pageant beauties which of late
Had there trim'd up a Temple for Delight,
Were all unmask'd; and Melancholy sate
Shrowding her hideous self in mid-day night.
The heavy nodding Trees all languished.
And ev'ry sleepy bough hung down its head.
There Aphrodisius his best teeth had try'd
(And four of them lay broken on the ground)
With irefull restless knawing, to divide
The Withe by which he to his shame was bound
Straiter than to the Tree; which yet he shook
Till all its frighted Leaves their boughs forsook.
But at the Visiters' approach, he bit
His lips and Tongue, and spit them in their face.
See Psyche, Phylax crys, the Gallant's wit,
Who hopes to 'scape confessing his Disgrace:
But strait I'l make his Dumbness find a Tongue
To speak out his imposture, and thy wrong.
Forthwith he from him snatch'd all He had stoll'n
Of Earth's, of Air's, of Water's goodly'st store:
The beauteous veil no sooner off was fall'n,
But Aphrodisius appears no more:
It proves an hideous fiend: and Psyche crys,
Running behind the Tree, God bless mine eyes!
A pois'nous stink then seasing on the Air,
Strait Phylax blew't down to its native hell:
And cheerfully confuting Psyche's fear,
Be bold said he, and mark the Monster well:
There wantoniz'd his curl'd Peruque, where now
Two ragged Horns with rusty horror grow.
That forehead he so fair had plaister'd over
With polish'd Flesh, hath chang'd its stolen hue;
Being rough-cast with odious sores to cover
The deadly juice that from his brain doth sue.
Yet lo, the Boils spew on his eyelids' hairs
Fit matter for so foul a Monster's tears.
Like to some Oven's black Arch, so hangs his Brow
Over the furnace of his Eyes, wherein
Delicious flames did radiantly glow,
But now the Fire's as dark as his own Sin;
And being fed with sulphure, doth confess
What is its work, and where it kindled was.
A double alabaster Conduit hung
Down from his forehead; where is nothing now
But those two rotten Pipes, not to be wrung
Least they together with their Moisture flow;
That baneful Moisture, which as deeply do's
Poison, as it is pois'ned by the Nose.
Two rows of Roses on those Lips did grow
To sweeten every Word that travell'd by;
But now scorch'd black as Hell's own mouth, they show
What kind of breath steams from his bosom's sty.
A breath like that which from the chimnie's top
Speaks its own stink by what it vomits up.
His Cheeks, which lifted up two hills of Joy
With flourishing spices crown'd; are sunk so low
That like two hollow untill'd Valleys, they
With nothing but pale Desolation grow.
Now grizely Hair deflowres his polish'd Skin,
Shewing what he to Satyrs is of kin.
His slender Hands are swell'd to monstrous Paws,
Whose Nails much longer than their fingers are.
Sure his Imbrace is dainty when he throws
Those chains about his Love! but see'st thou there
What at the portly Gallant's back doth trail?
His courtly Sword's turn'd to a dangling Tail.
The martial Vigor which both spred and knit
His manly limbs, is withered into
Diseased Craziness; his Joints forget
Their sturdy office, and his Sinnews no
Tokens of their late active selves express:
Witness his crinkling hams and trembling knees.
Behold his goodly feet, where one great cleft
Devides two toes pointed with iron claws.
The rest of his fine body must be left
Close sealed up by Modesty's chaste Laws.
Yet may'st thou safely view his Bosom's cell
And see what Jewels in that casket dwell.
This said; his strangely-potent Wand's petard
He smartly to the Monster's breast apply'd:
Forthwith the bones which had so strongly barr'd
The guilty passage up, flew all aside.
This foulest Book now fairly open'd, on
The Angel thus did in his Lecture run:
Mark where ten thousand Charms and Kisses lie
And Complements of every garb and kind;
With which on heedless Virgins he doth flie,
And whom he softliest toucheth, surest bind.
Look where upon the top those Courtships be
Which bravely wooed and inchanted Thee.
In that sly corner, (and observe it well,)
Sneak various Shapes, which allway changing be;
Shapes trim and smooth and fair without, but full
Of inward Venom: which industrious He
Subtly improves to comely Treacheries,
Handsom Impostures, and welfavor'd Lies.
See'st thou not there the model of the Beast,
That hideous Witchery which chafed Thee;
With all the amorous story sprucely drest
To court and cheat thy credulous chastity?
Never did Cozenage with more lovely art,
Or face more honest, act a fouler part.
But yet there's something stranger lurks behind:
Spy'st thou that Scroll? It is a full Commission
By which he made this voyage, ready sign'd,
And strength'ned by the broad Seal of Perdition.
Come, I'l untwine the knot of snakes which tye
It up, and fain would hide it from thine eye.
Lo here a scheme of such confounding Letters
And scrambling Lines, as never Conjurer writ:
His forks, hooks, prongs, racks, gibbets, grid-irons, fetters
And all the wild Tools of his spightful Wit
Are Belzebub's made Alphabet: but hear
How well I ken his mystic Character.
Satan the great, God of Hell, Earth, and Air;
Of Men and Angels everlasting foe;
Rival of Heav'n, and of Heav'n's only Heir,
Monarch of Pride, Rage, Blasphemy and Woe;
Out of our princely grace, to our right vicious
And trusty friend and Cousin Aphrodisius.
To thee by these our Letters-Patents, we
Give full authority the Soul to seize
Of hated Psyche: by what treachery
Shall best thy cunning and thy malice please;
That here her Guilt may fry in that degree
Of Pangs which our just vengeance shall decree.
And see thy diligence as great appear
As are thy Helps; for hereby over all
The Forces in our Realms of Earth and Air
We constitute thee Captain General.
Giv'n at our flaming Court of Desperation,
This sixt age of our Soverain Damnation.
Thus having read these cursed Lines; again
He crow'ds the Scroll into the Furie's breast;
And, Home, says he, and ask your Soverain
A larger Patent: see you are releast.
But here I hang the withe, that ever you
Return this way, this Token please to know.
Th' unfetter'd feind heaving an hidious sigh,
And tearing his fell locks with helpless wrath,
Flung down his Patent, and away did fly.
The Grove smoak'd as he went; in all his path
What Trees he met, he rent, and burnt in pain
Till in Hell's flames he plunged was again.
This Spectacle so melted Psyche's heart
That flowing forth in holy Shame and Joy,
Fresh Thanks and Blushes to her Friend's desert
Most earnestly she pays: O never may
My God remember me, said she, if I
Forget your blessed Love's dear Constancy.
Farewel false Beauties; heav'n above, I'm sure
Is full as fair within as 'tis without:
No Aphrodisius there; but all as pure
As virgin Crystal, or your spotless Thought
Dear Phylax, which from thence its pattern takes,
And a new Heav'n in your sweet bosom makes.
There will I fix my heart: there dwells my Love,
My Life my Lord, much purer then his palace;
Whose Paradise shall be the only Grove
To which my Soul shall pant for genuine solace.
Forbid it Jesu, any thing below
Be Master of this breast, whose Lord art Thou.
Most, most deserving Thou; who to intice
My undeserving Soul, beset'st her ways
With such rich Baits as far transcend the price
Of all this vain World's most illustrious Toys:
Safe Baits, which hide no hooks, or none but such
As into Liberty their Pris'ners catch.
Thus sweetly breathing out her ardent Passion,
She with her heav'nly Consorts homeward goes;
Yet by the way renews at every station
Her cordial Thanks and her pathetick Vows.
At length got home, she to her Closet haste,
Where all her Soul at her Love's feet she casts.
What prayers were there, what thanks, what sighs, what tears,
What zeal, what languishment, what ecstasies,
What confidence, what shame, what hopes, what fears,
What pains, what joys, what thoughts, what words! She dies
And yet she lives, and yet she dies again
And would for ever live so to be slain.
So to be slain; for every Death she dies
Higher and higher lifts her into life.
Her Weakness is strong Love; in which she tries
The utmost of her power, and by that strife
Of humble boldness wrestles to obtain
Her will of Him who on Heav'n's Throne doth reign.
But fainting Nature (for 'twas midnight now,
And hard sh' had wrought and travell'd far that day,
Permitted sleep to grow upon her brow;
And tho' unwilling, down at last she lay.
Sweet was her Rest; but sweeter far that Dream
Which now about her wond'ring soul did swim.
Imagination's chariot convoy'd her
Into a garden where more Beauties smil'd
Than Aphrodisius's Grove's false face did wear,
And gentler Gales the air with odours fill'd:
Lilies on every bed such sheets did spread
As scorn'd the whitest cap of Taurus's head.
The goodly Walks politely paved were
With Alabaster, whose unspotted face
Lay'd fairly ope unto the silver sphere
Which roll'd above, a comely Looking-glass:
Whether upward She, or downward turn'd her eye,
Still she beheld the same heav'n's majesty.
Their heads no trees presumed there to shew
Which e'r had been deflour'd by Winter's blast:
Plants of eternal verdure only grew
Upon that virgin soil, such trees as cast
Both cool and constant shades; and having been
Planted of old, still lived young and green.
No fountain bubled there, but fed with springs
Of purest milk; upon whose dainty shoar
Chaste-sighing Turtles sate, and wash'd their wings,
Though full as white and pure as it before.
But thus one Candor pour'd upon another
Do's kindly kiss and sport it with his brother.
A princely Castle in the mid'st commands,
Invincible for strength and for delight;
Fram'd all of massy crystal, and by hands
As pure as those Materials were bright.
A clearer Court was ne'r by Poet's brain
Built for Queen Thetis in her watery Main.
Ten thousand Blushes stood before the Gate,
With Magnaminities all hand in hand:
As many Purities in modest state
Were ranged with as many Beauties, and
Young smiling Graces; whose sweet task it was
To be the Guard of that dilicious Place.
As Psyche wonder'd at th' illustrious sight,
Her constant Phylax met her puzl'd eye:
Strait she demands, What Place was that, so bright
With more than earthly pomp! for Chastity
'Twas built, said He, and built by Him who is
The Soverain of all vertuous Clarities.
Behold, the Gate is opening now, and all
Th' officious Guard gives way: here shalt thou see
(For this is Chastitie's high festival,)
A strange Procession's solemnity;
And witness be what splendid Princes are
The stars which move about this limpid sphere.
There comes the first: Observe his royal gate,
Majestic yet not proud: about his brows
A glittering Coronet wreaths his princely state,
And in his hand a Palm his triumph shows;
Full flows his Robe, and following his steps,
Them with a train imperial fairly sweeps.
Less white this Pavement is, less sweet are those
Perfumed Lilies, than that Robe of his.
From his own Fleece Heav'n's Lamb was pleas'd to choose
The richest snowiest Wool, to cloth and dress
His spotless friends and fellow-lambs, who are
All privileg'd this Livery to wear.
Those graceful Eyes, in which Love's Throne is set,
Are they which did Potiphera defy:
What need I that fresh History repeat?
This is that Joseph, tho' advanced high
In Pharaoh's realm, yet now more glorious grown.
Holding a fairer Kingdom of his own.
The next's a Female, in the same array;
For Sexes here no outward difference show.
But all like Angels live, since noble They
Strove to forget their He and She below
And, tho' clogg'd with gross Earth, yet overtake
That spotlesness which us doth equal make.
Susanna is her Name, and gloriously
Her Virtue made it good: What Lily e'r
Could clearer fairer proofs produce that She
Did in her native whiteness persevere?
Ev'n Life could not, altho its price be high
Hire her to give her Lily-name the ly.
The goodly Orb of that her radiant face,
Which none but chaste and holy beams did shed,
Two lustful Elders made their daily Glass,
And with the Antidote invenomed
Their shameless Hearts. So bold is Lust, that she
Dares hope to find a Blot in Purity.
When Cancer scorch'd the World, and tender She
Went in her private Garden's shaded Spring,
(As in the Emblem of her Chastity)
To cool her bashful self; They issuing
Out of their ambush, in their cloaths express
More shame, than Her discover'd Nakedness:
We too, are hot, cry they; but none but Thou
Canst quench the fury of our mighty flames:
Thou art the Fount in which all Pleasures flow,
And we are come to bath us in thy streams.
Yield, as thou lov'st thy life; else We will swear
That in Adultery we caught Thee here.
Nay swear we will: nor must thy Vows and Tears
E'r hope to make the Truth as naked be
As thou art now: such Reverence guards our years,
That in our lies no Eye dares falshood see.
Fond squeamish Soul, what profit is't to Thee
To lose thy Life, and keep thy Chastity?
Then welcome Death; thy gastly face, said She,
Is fairer than the Visage of this sin.
Here she cry'd out aloud; and instantly
Her startled Handmaids all rush'd shrieking in:
Whom both the fulmouth'd Elders hastened
To catch th' Adulterer, who, said they, was fled.
Then haling Her unto the Bar, their own
Guilt upon her they throw, and she must dy:
But strait a Miracle crowds in to crown
The truth of her unconquer'd Chastity.
This turn'd the Sentence on her slanderous Foes:
They to be ston'd, and She to triumph goes.
There comes the second Joseph, but as far
Before in honor as in time behind:
In Virtue's shop as skill'd a Carpenter
As in his own; whose Art a way could find
To frame a Life (and raise the building high,)
Both of Heroic Worth, and Poverty.
Mine and my Brethren's Office (tho' it be
Both sweet and glorious,) down must stoop to His;
His, who was Guardian of Divinity,
And of the Mother of all Sweetnesses.
And yet no Angel envy'd Him his place,
Who ever look'd upon his wonderous face.
What Gravity dwells there, and what Delight,
What Tenderness, and what Austerity!
How high and humble are his Looks, how bright
And gently-meek his Eyes! how sweetly He
Seems here in glorie's Heav'n not to forget
That Cloud which upon him in Earth did sit!
But look, and see thou start not at the sight,
Those Beams, tho' more than sun-like, lovely be;
Now dawns of Heav'n and Earth the choice Delight,
The Queen of Softness and of Purity:
Millions of Loves come tripping in her way,
Flown from her Eye in a forerunning Ray.
Behold her face, and read ail Paradise,
And more, in Flesh and Blood: in vain we seek
By Flora's Jewels to emblematize
The Gallantry of Her illustrious cheek,
At whose sweet composition every Grace
Ran crowding in, for fear to lose its place.
All Cherubs and all Seraphs have I seen
In their high Beauties on Heav'n's Holydays;
But still the gracious splendor of this Queen
Sweetly outglitters their best tire of Rays:
For all her wondrous Glories' Texture is
A Web of Sweetness fring'd with Joy and Bliss.
How rude and course-spun those Idea's were
Which sprucest Pagan-Wits did ever frame,
When Beautie's Idol they desir'd to rear
In amorous fancies' temple! What broad shame
And studied scorn would their best Pens have thrown
Upon that Venus, if they This had known!
This Mother of divinest Love, as pure
As is that other putid! Noblest Tongues
When they triumphant are, and would be sure
With double Heav'n to swell and bless their Songs;
First chant the Son, and then the Mother; He
Begins, and She makes up the Harmony.
Her Crown imperial scorneth to be deckt
With oriental Diamonds, being set
With purer Sons of Light, whilst most select
Virtues (because her own) embellish it.
Yet those but poorly-glimmering Copies be
Of her rich heart's original Treasury.
I need not tell thee Mary is her Name
Her potent influence me prevented has:
This cold dead Pavement lively doth proclaim
What Feet with newborn lilies trimm'd its face:
Whose but the Virgin-Mother's steps could bless
A soil so barren with such fertileness?
Turn, Psyche, and behold who cometh there:
The King, the King of royal Chastity.
She look'd; but look'd not long: For upon her
Weak face such mighty beams from His did fly,
That starting at th' intolerable stroke,
She rubb'd her dazled eyes, and so awoke.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 1:29-44]