1648
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Psyche. Canto XII. The Banquet.

Psyche: or Loves Mysterie. In XX. Canto's: displaying the Intercourse betwixt Christ, and the Soule. By Joseph Beaumont, Mr. in Arts and ejected Fellow of S. Peters College in Cambridge.

Rev. Joseph Beaumont


Phylax discourses on the mysteries of the Eucharist, with allegorical characters of Luxury and Famine; Joseph Beaumont expresses bitterness against the Puritans who had deprived him of his living (and thus occasioned the poem).



THE ARGUMENT.
To seal his Dear Remembrance safe and sure
Upon the hearts of his selected Sheep,
Love institutes his Parting Feast, so pure
And richly-sweet, that Psyche rap'd by deep
Desire at his Description, sues to be
A sharer in that Board's Felicity.

But ah! how large a Name is Treason, which
Doth in another fatal chanel run
And from the Universe's Cradle reach
Down to its funeral Pile: no Ocean
E'r stretch'd its dangerous Arms so wide, or more
Wrack'd Mortals flung upon its helpless shore.

Inbred Selftreason's this unnatural Feind
Whose bus'ness 'tis to undermine her Home;
Who musters up intestine Storms to rend
Her too too loving Dame's unhappy Womb;
Who on her Darlings joys her Spight to pour
And whom she pampers most do's most devour.

Her title's Luxury; a rampart weed
Which grew at first in an unlikely place;
Who would suspect that such a cursed Seed
Should Paradise's blessed Beds disgrace?
Yet, as the Serpent there presum'd to ly,
So did this full as venomous Prodigy.

Too prying Eve first found her at the Tree
Of Knowledge, and observ'd her clambring up
With licorish zeal the dangerous Rarity
Of that fair-fac'd forbidden Fruit to crop;
Fool as she was, she help'd her climb the bough
Not knowing that her self she headlong threw.

She knew not that her own wild Teeth would now
Tear and devour her Innocence's Bliss;
She knew not that this flattering Elf would draw
Her to a forfeit of ail Paradise,
And having dress'd it in the beautious coat
Of that gay Apple, thrust Death down her throat.

Yet She to Adam needs would her commend;
Nor could unkindly-courteous He resist
The huging of his Spouse's seeming Friend,
Though Death and Hell it levell'd at his breast:
And now all Eden's lawful Banquet is
Too scant his wanton palate to suffice.

No; he must taste of that which never was
Design'd thus to be ravish'd: But the sour
Revengeful Fruit would brook no wrong, for as
She stuck between his teeth, with all the power
Of stupefaction them on edge she set,
Proving his fretful Torment, not his Meat.

Nor could he chuse but leave his wretched Heirs
Th' Inheritance of this inchanting Pain,
Which down through all his Generations stayers
Fail'd not its propagated Bane to drain:
This hankering licorish Itch found way to run
Hot through the veins of his remotest Son.

Which Fervor wax'd betimes so furious that
The youthful World on fire with Lust it set;
A fire which glow'd with Hell's rebellious heat;
A fire which downward burnt, and being knit
In league with other flaming Sins, grew stout,
And found the Deluge work to quench it out.

Earth's face this having washed clean and white,
On Heav'n she smiled with wel-pleasing grace;
And God vouchafed Humane Appetite
A full Commission over all the Race
Of Beasts, of Fishes, and of Birds, to see
How Man himself would bridle being Free.

For generous Spirits then will most abstain
When Lords they are of their own Liberty;
When Virtue is intrusted with the Rein,
And room's allowed for Self-victory;
When Moderation's Discipline may prove
No Task of Duty, but a Strein of Love.

Man's Appetite to every thing was free,
Except the Blood, where Life hath chose to swim:
Blood's tincture's that in which stern Cruelty
Dyes her bold Guilt a tincture fit for grim
And salvage Tigres; not for Man, who is,
Or should, Professor be of Tenderness.

(Besides, whilst Men refrain their Lips from this
Red Draught, their cheap Acknowledgement they make
Of their most due Allegeance unto His
Kind Majesty who pleased is to take
(As little sure as they themselves could wish,)
No homage but the Blood for all the flesh.)

Indeed good Noah, who both Worlds had seen,
And was in holy Worth above them both,
By watchful Temperance kept himself as clean
As now the Earth was wash'd; and, that no Sloth
Might tempt and steal him into Luxury,
Buckled his bones to painful Husbandry.

Then, that the Sweat his Vinyard cost him, might
In kind requited be, into his Glass
The Grapes he shed: whose Look, though brisk and bright,
Might well have been his Monitor: alas,
Its ruby Dye had he but understood
He would have shunn'd this Liquor too as Blood.

Yet when it smil'd and sparkled in his face,
And mov'd with generous fervor in the cup,
The unsuspitious Saint invited was
With equal cheerfulness to drink it up.
Untryed Pleasures by their dainty skin
And sweet behaviour, Approbation win.

The flattering Liquor as it downward went,
Knock'd at his heart, and easy entrance got;
Where with his Spirits it did compliment,
And soft delicious fire amongst them shot:
Noah rejoyc'd to feel his bosom glow,
And his old Age's Ice begin to thaw.

This Bait drew down another: for, alas,
Good Man he little dream'd that Treachery
In his soul-cheering Cup infused was;
Or that his Wine which sparkled, e'r would be
Destructive flame: But from tame Embers rise
Rampant Combustions when we least surmise.

By that Recruit the Liquor seconded,
Awak'd its vigor, and grew proudly bold;
Impatient to sneak below, it spred
Through all the upper regions, and roll'd
About his brains, wherein there 'gan to swim
Such thickning clouds that Reason's Sun grew dim.

And then, infected with the pois'nous Sweet,
He found no power left him to abstain:
No more to quench his Thirst, but that new Heat
Which burnt his veins, he takes his Bowl again;
Which to the brim in heedless haste he fills,
Then part on th' earth and part in's mouth he spills.

But now he Drunk no more, the Wine drunk Him,
And swallow'd up both Man and Saint and all;
(For thus, when in their own wild Draughts they swim,
Our witty Tongue doth Drinkers Drunken call;)
Which change so throughly did his head confound
That Earth as well as Heav'n he thinks turns round.

And this is all he thinks of Earth or Heav'n,
So shipwrack'd was his Soul in this red Sea;
His Reason from its wonted helm was driven,
His Fancy overwhelm'd, his Memory
Away was washed, and the useless hulk
Was only left him of his Bodie's bulk.

The Wine now sparkles in his eyes no less
Than in his Bowl before: He gapes and stares
On every thing, and yet he nothing sees;
He trips and staggers, but no fall he fears,
Nor feels it when he falls; for having let
His Bowl drop down, himself sunk after it.

Thus he who in the universal flood
Trampled the fury of the proudest Waves,
And on the Ocean's back in triumph rode,
Below him seeing all the Nations' graves;
Alas, was drowned in a silly Cup
Which he himself unwittingly drunk up.

No Ark above this Deluge Man can bear
But Temperance, which here the Saint forgot;
Who as be downward tumbled, took no care
Of keeping on his modest Mantle; but
As destitute of Cloths, as Senses lay,
And did his double Nakedness display.

But as the Traitor who has slain the King
Speeds from the Court as soon's the Mischief's done:
So now the treacherous Liquor backward flung,
And from the Murder it committed, ran:
Besides, a rout of other Humors follow'd,
And slaughter'd Noah in his Vomit wallow'd.

Slaughter'd indeed; and now a Men no more.
For nothing was alive in him but Beast;
Which spake its kind by his right swinish Roar.
'Till tir'd at length with yawning, and oppress
With his most heavy self, he fell asleep,
And in that nasty Rest his brains did steep.

Thus Luxury's first part in Eden grew
The second set in Noah's Garden was;
By which kind Heav'n the warned World would shew
That Danger's root can lurk in any place.
Alas, the holyest Ground too often breeds
As well as wholesom flowers, invenom'd Weeds.

God's Bounty granted all Variety
Of Meats to feast the sober Appetite;
And added brisk and cheerful Wine, to be
The active soul of moderate Delight.
Yet Man abusing his indulged Bliss,
Deflour'd Heav'n's Grace by peevish Wantoness.

He neither would by Eve's Examples, nor
By Noah's be advis'd, whose Sanctity
Rendred them more invulnerable far
Than common Mortals' feeble breasts can be:
He still would dive, and rake the most profound
Bottom of Pleasures, though himself he drown'd.

And from that bottom up he fetch'd at last
Improved fat and full-grown Luxury;
Who ne'r appeared to those Ages past
So hideously-compleat a Prodigy;
For she much cooler was and tamer then
And had not banish'd Men quite out of Men.

But an unruly Monster now she grew
Incourag'd by the Vinyard's rampant flame
And round about the World in triumph flew
All which she wrack'd in her sweet-bitter stream:
Stark raving she and roaring prov'd, and made
All so, who practis'd her intemperate Trade.

The laws of God, of Man, of Nature were
Vain feeble bridles, whensoever she
Resolved in her furious carreer
To let the Circle of her Healths run free:
Oft has she brew'd with Wine's outragious flood
Friends', Brothers', Parents', Masters', Princes' blood.

With firy spurs oft has she pricked on
The neighing fury of her venery
To Daughters', Sisters', Mothers' beds to run:
Oft has she ventur'd by foul Blasphemy
Upon the Virgin Heav'n's; and boldly mad,
Committed, as she could, a rape on God.

Her Disposition's suted with a shape
As odd and shapeless; for her parched Head
Burns up all hopes of hair, and wastes the Sap
By ill-bestow'd excess of moisture: Red
With putrid fulness are her Eyes, and seem
In her own overflowing Wine to swim.

But provident's her tumid Nose, for there
The Wine is bottel'd up past running out
Which Bottle's lether being thin and clear
Speaks what it holds; and studded round about
With fervent Rubies, eminently shines
Like grapes' Large Bunches hung for Taverns' signs.

Wroth fiery knots are marshalled upon
Her forehead and her cheeks: had Sicily
Her Etna lost, this sulphury Region
Would shew it her in multiplicity;
For though these hills swell not so high as that,
As great's their horror, and their smell as hot.

Her powting lips still dry and crannied are
Though every day a thousand times too wet
Alas her burning Breath which traffick'd there
Makes them their supple commerce strait forget
And by the Poison of its fulsome stinks
Taints all the aromatick Wines she drinks.

But by her Paunch's prominent Storehouse, great
With child she seems of Mountains, for in this
What all the World can yield of Drink and Meat
In one prodigious Heap congested is:
Here Solomon's twelve Oxen, and with them
His mighty brasen Sea it self might swim.

This Sink is that where Surfeit being bred
The fertile Parent of Diseases grows;
Which she distributing from foot to head,
All undigested Pleasures turns to Woes.
Thus though the Bees delicious Honey bring,
They always end in an invenom'd Sting.

Who knows not that Luxuriant Mortals eat
The fuel of their final fate, and wrest
The good intent of their abused Meat
Not Nature but her Maladies to feast?
Who knows not that in Health's deceitful Name
They drink those Sparks which kindle fever's flame?

Themselves they diet thus with their own Death,
And to a Weapon of Destruction turn
The Staff of Life. In vain Heav'n's Mercy hath
So bounteous been: if Men perversly learn
Self-cruelty to find in it, and all
Its Sweets adulterate into deadly Gall:

If Bacchus must be dubb'd a God, and have
His larger and more constant Sacrifice,
Than He who all their Vines to Mortals gave
Whilst they the Giver by the Gift despise:
If Ceres too a Goddess prove, and we
All sworn Devotos of the Belly be.

Alas, and had not bold Mortality
Commission large enough before, to check
Our proudest Strength! Was all the Misery
Of Famin, Plague, and War, so faint and weak
That We, strange Voluntiers, our help must lend
Of Luxury, to hasten on our End!

'Twas time, high time, for God himself to come,
And with Heav'n's Balsam tame our desperate Wound;
Our Madness swell'd so wide, that now no room
For mortal Hand to give Relief was found.
'Twas time to come; and blessed be his Name,
For, knowing Pity's cue, in time he came.

Jesus himself came down, and left the Feast
Of all Delights which be above enjoy'd;
Into the Depth of Poverty he cast
His noble Life; and taught us to avoid
Intemperance's baits, which Riches lay
So fair and thick in Wantoness's way.

Then by his practick Abstinence he shew'd
How eas'ly, fairly, and in open field
Pernitious Luxury might be subdu'd,
And healthful Temperance the scepter weild,
Forty long days and nights at once he spent
In Consecrating of his Servants' Lent.

His Doctrine He to His Example join'd
When for His frequent Text He Fasting took,
Proving those wilful Eyes much more than blind
Which could discover in her solemn Look
No richer Beauty than what smileth in
The polish'd plumpness of a pamper'd skin.

'Tis true She's pale; so is the Lily too,
So is her heav'nly daughter Chastity;
So is the milk, so is the Virgin Snow:
And yet when Modesty would dressed be
In graceful Scarlat, she can raise a flood
Of Purple, and shine fair in blushing Blood.

With costly Pride she seeks not to be deep
Red in spruce Wines, strange Meats, and learned Sauce:
She's not ambitious a tongue to keep
More wise in Taste than Speech; to hold a place
Among quaint Kitchen-criticks; and to gain
A more judicious Palate, than a Brain.

She is contented to be lank and lean,
As one who counts it martial policy
To keep her Ammunition close within
Her less and therefore stronger Walls: for she
Laughs at those plump and burly Gallants, who
Can nothing but their swelling Out-works show.

But though her most contracted Ramparts need
No numerous Garrison's incumbrance; yet
This sober Mistress of al, active Heed
Her guard both day and night doth duly set,
Being of treacherous Ease and Sleep afraid,
By which fat lazy Bulwarks are betray'd.

She knows what Ballast will her bulk suffice
To keep her steady in Life's dangerous Sea,
And lays in but enough: the Marchandize
Which fraughts her stowage, precious vertues be;
And provident She, no bigger than her self,
Securely sails by every Rock and Shelf.

Her Parts and Passions all their duties know
And she as little fears a storm within
As from without: her flesh delights to bow
To all commands; no Officers repine
What course so e'r she steers, but all conspire
To make their own still fail with her desire.

And thus she safely at that Port arriveth
Which leads into the Continent of Bliss;
The Port in which her dying Life surviveth.
The blessed Key and Gate of Paradise:
For whose incomparably-dainty fare
With wise forecast she sav'd her stomack here.

This difficult but advantageous Grace
Was that which Jesus strove on Earth to sow,
But Earth so shamelesly-ingrateful was
As to reject the noble Seed, for though
Some few ingenuous Beds did entertain it,
The most with peevish stubbornness disdain it.

Yea those who to the King of Abstinence
Have sworn Allegiance, blush not to enroul
Themselves the servants of Intemperance;
And their licentious and revelling Bowl
More sacred and obligatory count
Than all the streams of Baptism's Heav'nly fount.

Else how comes that (O how unmanly) Trade
Of daily turning Swine, to be profest
With most applause, not where the Pagan shade
Upon prevented Reason's eyes hath cast
Blind Irreligion's Night; but where the Rays
Of most revealed Heav'n gild Christian dayes?

Else how can'st thou, degenerous Britain, which
Barr'st out all other Oceans by thy shore
To let the Sea of Drunkenness with such
Unruly fury in thy bowels roar!
O that thy feeble Sands should stronger be
Than in thy Reason, or thy Piety

How has this Deluge drown'd in Sottishness
Thy once renowned Sense of Bravery;
Since in thy gallant Sword's and Buckler's place
A cowardly Succession we see
Of Pots and Glasses, and (O Valour's shame!)
Strong Drinker turned into Credit's name.

How come those Bacchanial Wars so dear
In thy repute, who prid'st thy self that thou
So well appointed art as not to fear
Or Dutch or Danish bowls; but knowest how
Both foes arid friends by Grapes' mad blood to shed
And, though not strike, yet surely drink them dead.

How comes the Name of Cynick, or of Clown
To blast their fame who never learn'd the Arts
Of roaring Revels! how is Goodness grown
No more by Virtue's Standard, but by Quarts
And Pottles to be measur'd; whilst by Good
Fellows, Carousers must be understood!

How comes this Mockery of Discipline,
To drink in order and observe the Round!
How comes Debauchery to defloure divine
Solemnity, and sacred modes confound
With swinish Rites; whilst Riot's Liturgy
Devoutly is perform'd with Cap and Knee!

Why must it be in vain that Nature's care
Hath tam'd thy Vines, and made them chaste and cool?
Why must thy thirsty Lust rome far and near,
And from all forreign Climates fill thy bowl?
Such tedious voyages why dost thou take
The whole World's Drunkenness thine own to make?

O how hast thou the sumptuous pains forgot
Which mighty Love hath taken to requite
The cost of Virtuous Abstinence; and what
For Piety's untainted appetite
His Bounties hand prepar'd; those dainties which
Surmount all wishes' and all fancies' pitch.

At that high Banquet's strange magnificence
Heav'n stands amazed: nor could Phylax now
Longer conceal his brave ecstatick sense
Of its dear Sweets: for Heav'nly bosoms glow
So hot when Love's Exploits their wonder wake,
That through their lips their flaming hearts must break.

The infamous Traitor's famous Story done:
And Psyche having her short Supper eat;
Her ardent Guardian thus again begun:
My Dear, this Evening season, and the Meat
Thy Spouse's providence hath given thee,
Are Items of his greater Feast to Me.

He, Abstinence's noble Doctor, who
Had taught his Servants not to clog their heart
With corruptible viands; being now
Already Sold, and shortly hence to part,
A Banquet made so great and rich, as may
More than the whole World's Temperance repay.

A Banquet not of gross and earthly cheer
Where birds, or beasts, or fish might convives be,
But of immortal Dainties, Spirits' Fare,
Diet of Souls; so pure, that only He
The God in whom all Power and Sweetness live
Could such celestial Entertainment give.

The solemn Day now summoned the dews
Their memorable Passover to eat:
Nor would thine inoffensive lord refuse
With due respect that Feast to celebrate,
Whose typick Office, like the faithful Shade
On Him the Sun so long attended had.

With his Disciples down he sate; and from
The consecrated and unblemish'd Lamb
Observ'd the Copy of himself, in whom
No Critick's searching eye found room for blame:
Yet could not Innocence secure his life
More than the Lamb it saved from the knife.

The Lamb devested of his fleece and skin
The Fire's most hungry rage had naked fed,
With its tormented patient flesh; and in
This Lesson he his Pangs aforehand read,
How to his Cross the Jewish fury tost him,
And how the flaming Wrath of Heav'n did rost him.

The sad attendance of that bitter Sauce
Which sourest Herbs about the Meat had thrown;
The smart resemblance of that Anguish was
With which his Dish of deepest Wo was strown:
The stinking Weeds of humane Sins exceed
In bitterness, all Herbs that Earth can breed.

The Haste which quickned on this transient Feast,
Was not so winged, as the noble Speed
With which He posted in desire to rest
Upon the cruel Cross his tender head:
A woful resting place was that, and yet
To Love no Pillow seem'd so soft and sweet.

The Lamb he eat; and, though the Lamb of God,
He meant himself as truly to be eater,
But that the strangeness of this mighty Food
Might not appal his Guests; his Love do's sweeten
Its own Conveyance by that dear Invention
Whose depth exceeds created Comprehension.

For having finish'd this Solemnity
And honorably brought it to its grave;
He ushers in that precious Mystery,
Kept for his final Favour, which might leave
His precious Memory imprinted deep
In all the souls of his beloved Sheep.

His combrous Mantle having laid aside,
A Towel on he girds; for humble He
Would not the least impediment abide
Of most officious Activity:
A Bacin then be fills, and at his own
Poor servants feet the mighty Lord falls down.

The conscience of his own eternal Worth,
His boundless Power, and native Sovereingty;
The clear remembrance of his coming forth
From God's bright arms, and that he was to be
There re-inthroned, could not bold him up;
All this he knew, and yet He down did stoop.

Stoop then proud Mortals, whosoe'r you be
Who have no power alone to stand. O stoop
Now you behold your Sovereign on his knee,
Whose Hand of all your Beings is the Prop:
Stoop, since you see Him to his Scholars bow,
And of the Highest make himself so low.

To stand on foolish terms of Honor now,
Is but to found your glory on your shame:
O, is't not more illustrious to bow
With Jesus, than with Lucifer to aim
Above your reach! why, why will Dust forget
The place originally due to it!

But what's God's bus'nes at his Vassals' feet?
Only to wash, and wipe them clean,
O now Stoop lower still, lower and lower yet,
For at the lowest you are not so low
As He, the Universe's Monarch here
Strangely become a servile Minister.

When Jesus thus with Water purged had
His Servants' feet, and cleans'd with Grace their hearts;
Shewing what Preparation must be made
By all who hope to have their happy parts
In his pure Banquet; down he sits again,
With Miracles his Guests to entertain.

The Close of sumptuous Feasts is proud to be
With choice and sovereign Delicacies crown'd,
Which may the Convive's learned Luxury
With deep and dainty Ravishment confound:
And Jesus would not let this Supper want
That costly point of princely Complement.

Indeed the Supper which They now had eat
Its ready way into the Belly took;
Where in the kitchen of poor mortal Meat
Committed 'twas to active Heat to cook:
And Heat's best skill could only dress it fit
To feed the Body which had fed on it.

But Christ's adorable Design was now
With such a second Course to grace the Board,
As might to pined Minds relief allow,
And nutriment to hungry Hearts afford;
Such Nutriment as sprightful strength might give
To all his Guests eternally to live.

In his Almighty Hand he took the Bread,
And his Magnifick Blessing pour'd on it;
Bate but his own, and ne'r on any Head
Such potent Benediction chose to sit:
Indeed, it was that Blessing's echo, and
Bounded upon his Body in his Hand.

For breaking that dear Bread, He tender'd it
To his Disciples, saying, Take and eat;
This is my Body broke for you: and let
My Death's Remembrance live in this your Meat.
But Jesu's Feast must not a dry one be;
His Wine shalt match his Meat's high rarity.

He takes the Cup and cries, Drink all of this,
My Blood, the Blood of my New Testament,
Which shed, and liberally bequeathed is
To wash the Sins of all that will repent.
As oft as of this Fount of Life you Drink,
Of Me, your bountiful Redeemer, think.

Sweet Jesu! O how can thy World forget
Their Royal Savior, and his Bounty; who
Upon his Tables his own Self hath set;
Who in their Holy Goblets deigns to flow,
And in their Dishes lie. Did ever Friend
So sure a Token of his Love commend?

Infallibly there dost Thou flow and lie
Though mortal eyes discover no such things,
Quick-sighted Faith reads all the Mystery,
And humble pious Souls know how to bring
Into the Wonder's Cabinet, and there
Make all the Jewels of this Truth appear.

She generously dares on God rely
And trust his Word, though up in Riddles knit:
If Jesus once pronounceth, This is my
Body and Blood: Far, far, cries she, be it
That I should think my dying Lord would cheat
Me in his Legacy of Drink and Meat.

His Word's omnipotent: by Saying, He
Effects whate'r be says; and more than I
Or can, or would conceive. What is't to me
If He transcends Man's low Capacity?
Surely it well becomes Him so to do
Nor were He God, if He could not do so.

Let Him say what He will, I must deny
Him to be God, or certain hold his Word:
Me it concerneth not, to verify
What He proclaims: My duty's to afford
Meek credit, and let Him alone to make
Good, whatsoever He is pleas'd to speak.

Good He can make it; witness Heav'n and Earth,
Yen, ev'n Themselves who thus his Words distrust:
For from what fount flow'd this Creation forth,
But his Almighty Lips? Needs therefore must
His Words be real, or the World's vast Mass
Must for a Dream and vain Delusion pass.

Gross and unworthy Spirits sure they be,
Who of their Lord such mean conceptions frame,
That parting front his dearest Consorts, He
No token of his Love bequeath'd to them
But simple Bread and Wine: a likely thing,
And suting well Magnificence's King.

A likely thing, that when the lusty Blood
Of Bulls and Goats can wash no Sins away,
The Blood of Grapes should with a stronger Flood
Quite overwhelm and drown the World's Decay.
O no, such virtue in no Blood can dwell
But that which through the Veins of God did thrill.

Ask me not then, How can the thing be done
What power of Sense or Reason can digest it?
Fools, as you are, what Demonstration
So evident as this, My God profess it?
And if you prove it true, that He can lye,
This Wonder, and Him too, I'll strait deny.

But first demonstrate, how one single Sound
Can to the Circle's brims its self impart,
And on a thousand Ears at once rebound
In its compleat totallity: your Art
Alas, is puzell'd here and every Noise
Chides your distrust of your Redeemer's Voice.

Speak out, fond Infidelity, speak out
And say, This single Sound is more than One:
Or, if shame stops thy Mouth: why is thy Doubt
So shameless as to make Great Him alone
Who is th' Eternal Word, that power want,
Which to each, flitting Voice thy Faith doth grant.

But what thanks were't, if you could credit what
To Sense and Reason's eye were written plain?
Heav'n's much to them beholden, who will not
Believe it higher is than they can strain;
Who jealous are of God, and will not be
Induc'd to trust Him further than they see.

And yet had you these modest Eyes of mine
You in this gloomy Cloud would see the Sun;
That Sun, who in wise justice scorns to shine
On those who with bold prying press upon
His secret Majesty which plainly I
Because I make no anxious search, descry.

This is the Valorous Resolution
Of gallant Faith: the blessed Rule whereby
All those through Mysterie's meanders run,
Who are the Scholars of Humility.
Yet must I tell thee, Psyche, itching Pride
Will not hereafter thus be satisfy'd.

A thousand waspish Syllogisms will
Be buzzing from the mouths of those who build
Their groundworks of Religion on the skill
With which they proudly think their brains are fill'd;
'Till Queries, Doubts, Distinctions, Niceties
Breed fretful Schisms, and pois'nous Heresies.

Needs will they peep into the Manner how
This hidden Miracle to pass was brought;
And madly being not content to know
What Christ thought fit to teach them, study out
They know not what, and make this Banquet prove
A Sacrament of War and not of Love.

Some press too near, and spy what is not there,
Some carelessly take what is there away:
Some will admit no Miracle, for fear
That Consequent be usher'd in, which they
Resolve to stop; and that their Faith should be
Forc'd to confess more than their eyes can see.

Some first Conclude, and afterward Dispute,
Loth to confess they did Define in haste:
Some rest contented only to confute
What others urge: nor can the mighty Feast
Perswade their sceptick Stomachs to sit down
And by meek Faith make Angels Cheer their Own.

Some sift Existence, Substance, Accidents,
Concomitance, through Logick's busy sive:
Trans, Sub, and Con, by strange experiments
They boult so long, that they themselves deceive:
For whilst to win the precious Flower they strain,
The course and refuse Bran is all they gain.

When Aristotle's Laws are urg'd to be
The Umpiers in Religion, the Rent
Poor Art would fain sew up in Piety,
Is mended but by further Detriment:
For by th' unworthy clownish Needle, it
Both multiply'd, and wider ope is set.

O happy World, if all would once agree
In that which Jesus did so plainly teach!
If those short Words no more might tenter'd be
By long Disputes beyond themselves to reach:
If they to apprehend their sense, would strain
Their faithful Heart, and not their doubtful Brain:

If they their Notions and themselves would cease
To rack and torture; and to make their great
And burly Volumes swell with Witnesses
Of their profound and learned Want of Wit:
If for the Manner they would trust their Lord,
And for the Substance take Him at his Word.

For Heav'n its faithful wheel shall sooner turn
And backward hale the Sun into the East;
The Polar Bear in Lybia's furnace burn;
And Sirius's mouth be sealed up with frost
Into the lofty Spheres dull Tellus leap
And headlong tumble Height into the Deep;

Than any Syllable which droppeth from
The lips of Jesus, can be born away
Upon the Wind's swift wings, and never come
Back with its full Effect: however They
Whom Wit befools, will be so mad in this
Clear point, as to dispute away their Bliss.

In vain it is to tell these Wranglers, how
Jesus could graft cold Stones into the Stock
Of Abraham, and make dead Pebles grow
Fresh lively Jews: or that he did not mock
His stomach by the Bread he daily eat,
But to his Fleshe's substance turn'd his meat.

In vain to tell them, how, into his Blood
The Wine he drank was truly chang'd; for though
Such speculations pois'd and understood
With reverent heed, might help the soul to row
In this deep Wonder's sea: yet Wranglers will,
Because they will be so, be Wranglers still.

But as the strictest siege of Thorns is laid
To goodly Roses; whilst the vulgar flowers,
Not worth the choking, never grow afraid
Of armed neighbours, whose infestive powers
Might plant their bane about them: so it fares
With this rich Bread invaded by the Tares.

What heart can of the monstrous Gnosticks think
And not abhor their damned Sacrifice;
The matchless and the most blasphemous sink
Of Earth's and Hell's profound Impieties!
Thine ears were never frighted with so black
A Sin, as they their grand Religion make.

But I in reverence to thy Blush forbear
That deep Abomination's Den to rake,
Whose rank Sent reeks as high's the highest sphere
And in God's nostrils stinks: yet leave must take
To tell thee thine own Albion will at last
Contempt on this most glorious Banquet cast.

For in the dregs of Time; when Wealth and Pride
Have fatned British hearts fit to defy
All sacred Discipline, and to the Tide
Of furious Licence, and wild Ataxy
Flung ope the gap; unhallow'd Hands will dare
From holy Priests this reverend Work to tear.

Mechanick Zeal, inspir'd by Sottishness,
And by enthusiastick Ordination
Of self deluded Fancy Call'd to dress
God's Feast in Man's reformed misshapen fashion;
Will purest Purity it self defile,
And by Heav'n's gate find out a way to Hell.

But happy Thou who shalt not live to see
Thine eyes tormented with that cursed sight,
Which acted shall and authorized be
By equal Sons of everlasting Night.
Come then let our Discourse return, and be
Attendant on the Board of Sanctity.

Thy Lord's great Banquet was the Consummation
Of Israel's famous Passover; and did
With mystick power antidate His Passion,
And that long-long'd-for Word,
'Tis finished. Right noble was that typick Passover,
But nobler this, because substantial, here.

How much more precious is this Lamb: who though
This Feast of Dainties to Himself be sour,
Presents no sauce of bitter herbs to gnaw
His Convive's taste; but with the plenal power
Of Sweetness entertains their Palates, and
Pozes their Wits their Bliss to understand.

This is that more renown'd Viaticum
The Israel of God to fortify
When they from Pharaoh's iron Bondage, home
Are hastning to their holy Liberty.
O Psyche, those dim Stories clearlyer are
Reacted in the Christian hemisphere.

Sin, Sin, that hateful Egypt is, where reigns
A King more stern than Pharoh's fiercest rage;
The Tyrant Belzebub, who throws his chains
About the World, its shoulders to engage
Under a more unreasonable Law
Than making brick whilst 'tis denyed straw.

But pious Souls are by this Paschal Feast
With holy vigour so embrav'd, that they
This servile yoke from off their necks can cast,
And into Rest's free region snatch their way;
Although their hard obstructed passage be
Both through the dismal Desert and the Sea.

This enigmatick Life of Misery,
Can own both those repugnant Names: what are
Its Storms, and Broils, and Tumults, but a Sea
Red with Destruction? what's a Theatre
Lin'd thick with salvage and enraged Foes,
If not a dreadful Wilderness of Woes?

But through this wretched Desert, and this Sea,
The virtue of this Passover will lead
Believing Souls, till they securely be
In blessed Canaan established;
That Canaan whose Milk and Honey is
The Sweetness of exuberant Paradise.

That Canaan whose Inhabitants shall not
Through nine and forty Orbs of Slavery
Be forc'd to climb to one of Freedom, but
Find every year a constant Jubile;
In which, although they never sow or reap,
They still an everlasting Feast shall keep.

That Canaan, where no Jebusits shall run
Thorns through the sides of its accomplish'd Rest;
And whence no Babylonish Army can
E'r hope the happy Colonies to thrust:
A Canaan which alone makes good the grand
And glorious Title of the Holy Land.

This Sacramental Bread, and this alone,
Is that supporting Staff of Life, with which
The stoutly-faithful Generation
Their gallant journey take to heav'n, and reach
The top of their Desires more surely far
Than by his Staf the Artist do's the Star.

By Bread, and bread alone, Man now must live,
This Bread which from God's mouth on purpose came;
Christ's potent Institution did derive
This virtue to it; and Himself to them
Who pant for Life, proclaim'd the way to get
That noble Prize was by this only Meat.

All Delicacies moulded up in one
Pure precious Composition flourish here:
No Sybarit's Invention e'r upon
Their Board's fat Altars sacrific'd such Cheer
To their dear Bellies, though of all their Rout
Of Gods, their Paunches they the highest thought.

The Syracusian Tables never sweat
Under such Dainties: Alexandrian Feasts
Could never with such princely sprightful Meat
Ravish the palates of their pamper'd guests:
No Asiatick, nor no Medick fare
No Cates of Marsel's might with these compare.

Great Solomon's profoundest Industry,
Which through all Nature did his Pleasures hunt,
Sifting and boulting every Suavity
To find the fugitive Soul of true Content,
Nought but unsavory Vanity could taste:
All solid Pleasures here alone are plac't.

Here, in this sacred close Conspiracy
Of most substantial Delights to which
That high Angelick Cheer which studiously
Heav'n's bounteous hand did every morning reach
To His dear Jacob's pilgrim hungry Seed,
Resigns its fame and seems course homely Bread.

O Nest of fledgest Joies! O sacred Mine
Of richest Sweetnesses! O fertile Tree
Of Life's own Life! O mighty Magazine
Of ever-nutritive Felicity!
O Dread of Wonders, who thy praise can tell
Which God Himself dost render Edible!

Nor is the Dainties of the Cup less rich
Than that which in the noble Patin lies:
The Wine of Love, of Life, of Spirits, which
By new unheard-of entheous properties
So strangely human Hearts imbraves, that they
In Fear's most frightful looks read no Dismay.

Heav'n's prudent Law took warey order that
No creature's Blood the lip of Man should stain:
And just and useful was the Caution, that
All pious mouths might be reserved clean
In reverence to the Blood of this pure Lamb
Design'd into believing Lips to stream.

O blessed, bloody, peaceful Wine! O how
Divinely hast thou satisfaction made
For those enflaming Poisons, sweets which flow
In other Wines! may Noah now be glad
Of his Invention, since his foul Mishap
Is clean wash'd out by this al-purging Grape.

This Wine is that wherein dwells Verity,
The Verify of Heav'n: for Heav'n in it
All melted is: those boundless Joies which We
Bath'd in at home, are here together met
In strange epitomy, and smiling swim
About the Chalice's soul-charming brim.

To Venus's milk let shameless Luxury
Turn other Wines, and to its swelling Cups
As to the bottles of her bosom fly,
Whence only furious Uncleanness drops
This is a purer Juice than can be press
From Chastity's own most unspotted breast:

Of this mild Doves may drink, and never fear
That any Inflammation will intrench
Upon their sober blood: white Virgins here
Their shie and bashful hearts may safely drench:
This Liquor breeds no flames but soft and cool,
Which though they burn, cannot infect the soul.

One Drop of this, though it can amply fill
The most immeasurable Thirst's desire
With more than any wish can covet, still
It raises that fulfilled Longing higher,
And makes in vastest Satisfaction's tide
The overflowing heart unsatisfy'd.

Should Greek, Canary, or Pannonian Wine,
Should Spanish, French, Italian, and the rest
Which crown the chalices of Kings, combine
In one Extraction, sumptuously drest
With aromatick helps; they would be all
If parallell'd with this, but costly Gall.

Proud Cleopatra's prodigalest Bowl
Where her luxuriant Jewel learn'd to swim
And its inestimable riches roll
Melted and mixed with the gallant stream;
Compared with this Cup, was full as vile
As any bottle filled at her Nile.

This Wine makes those all blush for their own shame
Which in great Belteshazzer's goblets smil'd;
Which Olofernes to the beauteous Dame,
And yet more masculine than beauteous, fll'd:
That Dame, who in her Nation's quarrel durst
Quench with his Blood more than his Wine, her thirst.

Sardanapalus nor with cost or care
Such precious Liquor ever could obtain:
No Epicurean ambition e'r
Its liquorish self screw'd to so high a strein
As to affect a Draught so rich as this:
No: fancie's utmost reach here posed is.

Where other Grapes' outrageous Powers reign,
Both Sence and Reason rue that tyranny;
Which being drown'd together with their Brain,
Strait every captiv'd Part and Faculty
To beastly Madness is enslav'd, and flies
On murders, rapines, rapes, and Villanies.

But where this Wine of Angels domineers,
The heart with noble Drunkenness it fills;
The conquer'd spirits it sweetly overbears
With charming streams of mystick Miracles;
Till quite intoxicated by this Flood
Of Love and Heav'n, the Man is drunk with God.

Strange, Psyche, are this Drunkennesse's fits;
Oft have I seen, and them as oft admir'd:
The world esteem'd them fir'd out of their wits
Whom with this Liquor's flame it saw inspir'd:
But we know what ecstatick Raptures mean,
And Zeal's Exploits whene'r it gets the Rein.

Oft have I seen brave Spirits, when they rose
From this great Banquet fill'd with generous Rage,
Fly In the face of Vice; and nobly choose
Against its stoutest Ramparts to engage
Their heav'nly Confidence; nor has their high
Adventure fail'd to reach down Victory.

Oft have I seen them smile in sweet disdain
Upon Misfortune's most insulting Look:
Oft have I seen them kindly entertain
Those guests' faint humane Nature worst can brook
Grief, Sickness, Loss, Oppression, Calumny,
Shame, Plunder, Banishment, and Poverty.

Oft have I seen them scorn the frown of Death,
On Crosses laugh, most sweetly hug the bitter
Salutes of Swords, and spend their final breath
In wooing greatest Tortures to be greater:
Oft have I seen them enter single fight
Both with the Peers, and with the Prince of Night.

For knowing well what strength they have within,
By stiff tenacious Faith they hold it fast.
How can those Champions ever fail to win,
Who cap-a-pe, for Arms, with Heav'n are drest!
Those Breasts must needs all Batteries defy,
Where God Himself in garrison doth lie.

But to augment the wonder, Psyche, this
Great Feast of Feasts can never all be spent:
When Millions it has fill'd, intirely 'tis
The same it was, and knows no detriment.
So though the World all drinks in Air, yet still
The undiminish'd Region is full.

And yet not so: for here each Soul doth eat
The total Banquet, and yet leaves it whole:
These antecedent Ages cannot cheat
Those which lag on behind: whilst Heav'n shall roll,
And Earth stand still, this ever-teeming Board
The same Delights will unto All afford.

No fount lives on such living Springs as dwell
In this pure Cup of Life, to which though all
Nations and Tongues flock in to drink, it still
Maintains its equal Plenitude; nor shall
The busy School, with all its endless fry
Of Doubts and Queries hope to draw it dry.

Though all Heav'n's starry Tapers lighted be
At Phoebus's eyes, his Raies keep still intire:
His Image shines in every Lake and Sea,
Yet only One is his original fire;
Which doth its wondrous angle self so wide
In its compleat Similitude divide.

Thus, but more really thus, this feast
Most absolutely One is wholly spread
Into the mouth and heart of every Guest;
And fails not there more Heav'nly beams to shed,
Than when the Sun by his meridian Ray
Triumphs upon the highest throne of Day.

Thy most profoundly gracious Lord, who far
Above the reach of any Want did reign,
Descended from His mighty Glorie's sphere;
And that His voyage might be sure to gain
Him Emptiness' fulness, lowly He
To prove the poorer, would a Borrower be.

For hither on this strange Adventure come,
He borrow'd of the World Humanity,
And in the Cabinet of Mary's Womb
Dress'd up Himself compleatly Man; yet He
Though by this Condescent new rates He set
In Nature's crown, still thought Himself in debt.

And pay He would, right generous as He was,
All back again which He had borrow'd here;
He meant His Blood and Body on the Cross
To tender, and make full requital there
To His unwitting Creditors, and that
With Interest which Numbers cannot rate.

And yet because His Human Nature He
So dearly loves, that He concludes to bear
It home in triumph, and eternally
Those narrow Robes of bondless Mercy wear
E'r He His journy took, He plotted how
It might Ascend and yet Remain below.

Remain below, to be Restor'd, and that
As oft as human Mouths would take it in:
And this th' Invention was, this Wine and Meat
By which His mystick power to all His Kin
Repays His Flesh and Blood, that Man might eat
And drink, and with his God Incorporate

For, His excessive favour to complete
Beyond the stretch of any Parallel
This noble Pay is so improved, that
His Godhead's vastness too concurs to swell
The royal Feast; since this can never be
Dissevered from His Humanity.

O boundless little All! O Banquet which
Must feed Astonishment for evermore,
Whilst largest Souls their intellectual reach
Tenter in vain, and find it still too poor
To equal thy extent, ev'n when thine own
Fulness they have receiv'd and swallow'd down.

O Banquet! fit for His magnificence
Whom might and goodness own for Sovereign
By this dear Project, Psyche, Mercy's Prince
Collecteth in His more than golden Chain
His World unto Himself, and ties it close
That no Disunion may interpose.

The glorious Incarnation began
To knit this knot; which now redoubled is:
There God vouchaf'd to join Himself to Man,
Here Man has leave to make the juncture his,
And weave himself with his Redeemer. O
What God e'r stooped to his Creature so!

By this sweet Combination Mortals grow
Forgetful of their Singularities,
Their thwarting Interests, their I and Thou,
Their Mine and Thine, their grounds of Avarice
Of Envy, of Ambition, and comply
In holy Peace's common Unity.

This Cement's power doth mystically wed
The Stones which raise Ecclesia's Edifice;
This Ligature the Members to their Head
Symmetriously links; the sheep by this
Though spread through all Earth's pastures far and near,
One perfect Total with their shepherd are.

For as the active Soul, although she swim
Intirely one through all the Body; still
In every Member and in every Lim
In her Totality doth single dwell:
So by this Sacramental Union
Jesus is One to All, and All to One.

Believe it Psyche, though thy mortal Eye
Spies no such brave Attendance on this Board
Yet thick those Waiters stand whose Dignity
Shines next the glories of their royal Lord:
No prince's Coronation Pomp was e'r
Aggrandiz'd by such-servitors as here.

Here Legions of the Heav'nly Army keep
The guard of Reverence; round this Mercy-seat
Not two, but thousand Gallant Cherubs peep
With ravishment on what you drink and eat
Here stately Principalities attend
Here Thrones bow down, and here Dominions bend.

For when they perched were in their own sphere
The glorious Ocean of eternal Sweets
Their blessed eyes beheld no richer Cheer
Than Mercy on this noble Table sets:
Nor could that Troop which kept the avenue
To Paradise such precious Dainties shew.

Pure is their sight, and sprightfully can pass
Quite through that Vail, which on this Banquet lies;
A Vail which in profound compassion was
Thrown on the count'nance of these Mysteries
Which dart more glories from their naked Face,
Than ever did great Moses's Temples grace.

Yea, ev'n his Eyes, though sublimated by
His long converse with flaming Wonders, yet
Mov'd in too low an Orb to reach the high
Looks of his Maker; and were only fit
To read those secondary Beams which make
His Rear, and meekly wait upon his back.

So long as mortal Grossness sticks upon
The brows of Man, and clogs his feeble sight,
One glimpse of Heav'nly Majesty alone
Would seal his eyes up with eternal Night.
For what exceeds the sense, the same destroys:
No pitch is darker than transcendent Rays.

When Bats may venture to the Eagle's nest,
And their faint eyes against fair Titan's set;
When purblind Owls may leave their gloomy roost,
And with safe looks the face of High-noon meet;
When Midnight dares throw off her sable cloak,
And into bright Aurora's wardrobe look;

Then may dim-sighted Men securely gaze
Upon their Lord's unveiled Brightness; then
May they directly to His royal Face
Without a Perspective's assistance run;
Then may they boldly scorn their eyes to shroud
Under the shadowing court'sy of a Cloud.

But Jesus, who full well their weakness knew,
Would in the shelter of plain Wine and Bread
Accommodate His Goodness to their view;
That in familiar Elements they might read
The hidden Mystery, and happier be
Than their dust-damped mortal eyes could see.

The time shall come when that dull Dust shall by
The quick brisk virtue of the Resurrection,
Refined be to a capacity
Of radiant and spiritual perfection;
When faithful Souls in their celestial rest
Shall at the Lamb's unmasked Supper Feast.

Mean while, it is their privilege that they
The Day can kiss in darkness; that the Sun
They freely in the shadow may enjoy;
And in Hope's Region meet Fruition.
But who would dream that peevish Man from hence
Should pick bold Reason of Irreverence!

Alas, when Time shall old and doting grow
And Christian Spirits sympathize with it,
Men will not blush to make this Banquet know
That by its Out-side they will square, and fit
Their wary Faith, which further must not venture
Than blunt and feeble Sense's edge can enter.

Rank Superstition 'tis presum'd, if they
Esteem God's Table holier than their own;
If to this Chalice more respect they pay
Than to those Cups which all the jolly Town
Toss in the publick Inns, whene'r they keep
Their free Communion of Good-fellowship.

If they but bow the Head, or bend the Knee,
Or let their humbled Bodies comment on
Their lowly Minds; if they but dare to be
Professors of good Manners; if they shun
But that which Love and Gratitude abhors,
They must be voted flat Idolaters.

Nor Jove, nor Juno, nor the silliest He
Or She of all that rabble, wildly made
Gods by vain Man; found such impiety
In their mad Makers, as to be betray'd
To slovenish Altars, and to clownish Rites,
By fained Zeal's irreverent Deceits.

On Jesus and his Noblest Mystery,
Must Rudeness only be allow'd to wait?
Zealous and pure must this Religion be,
Because most gross and lazy? surely, great
Is our Mistake in Heav'n, who alway there
Our lowliest Service to our God prefer.

Is this the Thanks for bridling in his flames
Of most intolerable Majesty;
Which once unrein'd, by its immortal Streams
Would them destroy, and all their slovenry!
Alas, that Love should thus neglected be,
And for no cause, but Mighty Charity.

Are these the Tribe of Saints, who boast that they
Possessed are of Faith's Monopoly?
Ah, dead and rotten Faith, which can display
No fruit to prove the Root's vivacity!
'Tis vain to dream a faithful Soul can dwell
In any Body that is Infidel.

But those brave Lovers, of whose generous Breasts.
Jesus intire possession holds; are so
Inamor'd of this Soul-attracting Feast,
That they with all the art of Reverence to
Its Board approach, and make their meek desire
After Angelick Compliments aspire.

Their Hearts beat high with that illustrious Zeal,
Which fires our Breasts, and fain would stoop as low
As Seraphs do, whene'r this Miracle
Of Love invites their reverent Knees to bow:
Fain would their panting passionate
Piety Be infinite, as is this Mystery.

For infinite it is: and O that I
Could that Infinitude before thee set!
No Theme could raise with such exultance my
Applauding Tongue: But Angels must submit
To Ecstasies in such vast deeps as this,
Where Love himself reigns in his own Abyss.

Here Phylax ended; and observed how
The Bait would relish he so fairly cast
To Psyche's Soul: which being captiv'd now
By his Discourse's potent Charms, and fast
Chain'd to the vunerable Table's foot;
This yielding Answer gently forth she brought;

My Soul's sweet Friend, what equal thanks can I
Pay for this Honey which thy tongue hath shed
Upon my Ears and Heart! May He, whom thy
Sublime Elogium honor'd, crown thy Head
With full Requital: as for simple Me,
What can the Worm, poor Psyche, give to thee?

All she can give is but the Begger's Dole,
Occasion of thy further favors: yet
No earthly cates I crave: O no I my Soul,
In spight of Famine's power, dares forget
All other food, if at this royal Feast
Of Heav'n and Love I now may be a guest.

And if I be not so, I am undone!
Such hunger gnaws, such thirst do's burn my Heart,
That by this Banquet's Comforts I alone
Can rescu'd be from my impatient smart,
And 'tis thy courteous fault, dear, Phylax, who
With its Description me hast ravish'd so.

The sickly, what but Health can satisfy?
And what Balsam can the Answer be
Unto the Wound's wide mouth, and bloody cry?
What pants the heated hunted Hart to see
But some cool Fount, or sovereign Ditany?
What cures the Captive's grief but Liberty?

My Health, my Balsam, and my Liberty,
My dear Dictamnun, and my Fount of Bliss,
My only Nectar, and Ambrosia lie
In Jesu's Cup and Patin: if I miss
Of this my Hunger's necessary aim,
Psyche, a farewel must to Hopes proclaim.

She fainted here. But strait her Guardian's hand
Snatching her arm, thrust comfort through her Heart.
I like, cry'd he, thy noble Ardor, and
Its fuel will to this thy fire impart.
In yonder House there lives a reverend Priest,
Who for thy pious Soul will dress this Feast.

This said, he leads the Virgin thither: where
Close in a Vault a knot of faithful Hearts
For that great Bus'ness early did prepare:
For Pagan Tyranny wak'd all their Arts
Of Privacy, and made Devotion choose
Such Temples as might hide them from their Foes.

There in a simple Dish and Cup of wood
The furniture of Primitive poverty,
The Wonder of their Savior's Flesh and Blood,
With golden Hearts they waited on: but we
Alas, in Patins and in Bowls of Plate,
With Hearts of wood this Banquet celebrate.

They in the Stranger's zeal-inflamed Eye
Such genuine beams of Piety descry'd
As soon dispell'd their mists of jealousy
At her Intrusion; unknown, untry'd
She welcome was: besides, the holy Priest
By Heav'n was warn'd to entertain this Guest.

Phylax withdrew his nimble self into
His closet of Invisibility,
And there attended on his Psyche, who
With such brave fervor to the Mystery
Made her approaches, that her hungry Haste
Copy'd the boundless greatness of the Feast.

So when th' Olympick Runner draweth nigh
The noble Goal, and sees the naked Prize
Incouraging his panting Ardency
First he devours with his greedy Eyes
Then with his thirstier Thoughts; and as he may
Reaches the End, though yet but in the way.

O how her Soul into the Patin leap'd,
And dived to the bottom of the Cup!
With what Inamorations she weep'd!
What sighs of joy did break her Bosom ope!
How struggled Fear with Love! how did she groan
Between Humility and Ambition!

O how she thinks her Lips and Heart impure!
And yet she cannot for a world refrain:
For how shall she her useless Life endure,
If from the Life of Life she must contain
How can her Iron linger and forbear
To meet the Loadstone now it is so near!

So near; that she sees nothing else but that;
Not one of all those numerous Convives who
About her kneel'd: Nay she has quite forgot
The thought of her most precious Phylax too,
And of her self, who Psyche is no longer;
She's nothing now but holy Thirst and Hunger.

Whilst in this dainty agony she lay,
Into her Mouth the Priest her Wishes brings;
Which to her Heart directly took their way,
And there pour'd out ten thousand ravishing Things:
By which strange Deluge her dear hopes were driven
Into Fruition's gulph, and drown'd in Heav'n.

O most miraculous Feast! how fain my Song
Would be luxuriant in admiring thee.
But not my low, nor Phylax his high Tongue
Knows how to reach that lofty Harmony
Of Joys and Pleasures, which united he
In bounteous Love's profoundest Mystery.

Yet may my pin'd and pained Spirit lay
At this Song's foot her just and heavy sighs;
Which, never since mine Eyes first op'd on day,
So deeply relished Life's miseries:
The more my shame, whose active sins for me,
Have earned this Heart-gnawing malady.

Time was when Heav'n in this late happy Isle
Kept open house; when this celestial Feast
Did freely wooe al's Souls to come and fill
Their appetite's ambition with the best
Of antidotal Bliss, and grow divine
By this spiritual mighty Bread and Wine.

But now both Feast and Board devoured are
By strange new Banquets, as jejune and dry
As barren Air: for all this Pulpit Cheer
Feeds but the itching Ear's fond Boulimy
Whilst still the Heart remaineth lank and thin
And nothing fatter grows but lusty Sin.

(Thus when the meager Skeletons of Cattle
Array'd themselves upon the banks of Nile;
They bad the goodly well-flesh'd Oxen battle
And gormandiz'd their Preys; yet could not fill
Their wretched skins, but pin'd and proved more
Ill-favour'd shrivell'd Monsters than before.)

Sin fatter grows; so fat that now it dares
Kick both at Earth and Heav'n, and scorns so be
Aw'd by those generous and ingenuous Fears
Which hold the reins of virtuous Modesty;
It mocketh Vengeance, and derideth Law,
Because their patient Sword they slowly draw.

Witness that Sacrilege, that Fury, and
That impudently-made Profaneness, which
Tears down the Church with Reformation's hand,
And robs its God the surer to be rich:
Which scorns Religion for Religion's sake,
And Offrings to it self doth Altars make.

Witness those numerous Spawns of shameless Lyes,
Which with heretick insultation tread
On Sacred Truth, and make her patronize
Her own Contempt; whilst shamelesly they plead
Th' authority of God Himself, and on
His Spirit all their Carnal Fancies pin.

Doctrine and Use with empty Noise ingross
The gulled Auditors; and there's an end.
Out runs this sleight Religion with the Glass,
And well is measur'd by the fruitless Sand.
Here no Excuse's help can intervene;
Alas, the Doctrine by the Use is seen.

O how come Christian Souls so well content
To want the choicest Viands Heav'n could give!
O how preposterously abstinent
Are they who with all riotous Dainties strive
To fortify the Belly, but can find
No time to victual and recruit the mind!

More provident those Heros surely were
Upon whose nearer hearts the warmer Blood
Of Jesus drop'd: not once a month, or year
They their Devotion cheer'd with Angels' Food,
But duly every morn this Table spread,
And made the Lord of life their daily Bread.

They next their hearts no other Morning Draught
Would take; but what suits with the heart indeed.
The bottles of their souls betimes they brought,
And at this living Fount replinished
Their brave Desires, whose thirst did swell so high
That nought could quench it but Immensity.

With sprightful zeal this kept their bosoms warm,
This made them eagle-like their strength renew;
With death-despising Courage this did arm
Their gentlest Spirits; by this they Masters grew
Of earth and hell, which having trampled down,
Heav'n too by violence they made their own.

So ne'r can they who feed on preached Wind,
Which vainly bubbles in their wanton ear;
And tympanizeth so their cheated Mind,
That they too big and burley grow to wear
Christ's humble Livery, or enter at
Supreme vast Bliss's low and narrow Gate.

But O my Heart, why art thou stealing thus
From thine own woes, thy Neighbours to deplore?
Time was, when (whilst thine unfledge[d] wickedness
Flew not in Heav'n's long-patient face, nor tore
This judgment down,) I once a week, at least
Could at this Board of wonders be a guest.

With solid Joy then could I turn mine eye
Back on the year, which happily had run:
Then could I count what Gains I reaped by
My constant trading in Devotion;
Rejoycing in my satisfied mind
That every Sunday I in heav'n had din'd.

But now the flaming Coursers of the Sun
Are drawing on the fourteenth month, since I
Was sharer in the Celebration
Of this sweet life-enliv'ning Mystery:
Which yet I then was fain to steal; and so
A thief that day to Paradise did go.

I went; but woo'd by a forbidden Tree
Of Idleness, ah fondly licorish I
Believ'd the flattering Bait, and would not see
The lurking Hook's too well-known treachery.
Dear, wonderous dear, this heedless fault hath cost me,
For all my heav'nly joys and powers it lost me.

And no recruit do's now that Loss supply,
But I'm abandon'd to this tedious Fast:
O how the palate of my Soul is dry!
What burning Drought doth shrivel up and west
The bowels of my heart! how is my mind
With most uncomfortable Squalour pin'd!

O how my Understanding's pinions tire,
And flag below when I aloft would soar!
What leaden Numness damps those hopes of fire
With which my Fancy 'gan to glow before?
How bankrupt's my Invention since my Wrack
Of Judgment upon Lazyness his rock!

O how this dry and barren Verse attests
The heavy truth of these my Lamentations!
Pity me you whose soft and gentle breasts
E'r felt the stings of mystical Vexations!
Pity me, O my candid Readers, now
What makes me tire your patience you know.

Had I my wonted portion in that Feast
Which with celestial spirits embraves the heart,
A fairer Banquet I for you had drest;
Who now can only by my starving Smart
Warn you to prize and to embrace with most
Religious tenderness what I have lost.

Lost hitherto: but must that Loss run on,
And can my Life mean while make good its name?
Can Day maintain her beauty, if the Sun
Deny to feed her with his vital flame?
Can Rivers keep their full unwearied course
If once the living Fountain them divorce?

O King of constant Love, whose sumptuous care
For hungry hearts that high Provision made;
Lo how my famish'd Soul lies gasping here
For one dear Crumb of thy mysterious Bread;
And craves, to cool her burning tongue, one Drop
Of liquid Life from thy all-saving Cup.

I know, and feel my worthlessness, and how
Unfit I am to hope for any share
In those peculiar Delicates, which thou
Didst for thy genuine faithful Sons prepare:
Yet to a Dog once more they leave afford
To catch what falleth from thy Children's Board.

[1702; Grosart (1880) 2:1-16]

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