Phylax relates the story of the Resurrection, adding some non-scriptural details like a meeting between Christ and Judas in Hades.
In his own Den Love binds the King of Hate,
Death and Corruption in the Grave subdues:
Turns back the bridled Stream of mortal Fate,
Himself alive to His Disciples shews:
In Triumph's bright Excess Ascends upon
A Cloud, and mounts His everlasting Throne.
Vicissitude, how doth thy welcome Change
Cheer up the world, which else would droop and faint!
Strange things thou long permit'st not to be strange,
Since with all Companies thou canst acquaint;
For thy Chamelion's skin no Colours meets
But with compliance fairly them it greets.
When Wisdom fram'd this World's vast fabrick, she
As Nature's noble Sport and Recreation
Firmly enacted thy Uncertainty
For ever certain in its Variation:
That as God knows no Change, so all Things else
May feel the motion of Mutation's pulse.
Night first was every Thing; then Day burst forth,
But soon the Ev'n restored night again;
Yet crept she in the Morn behind the Earth,
And suffer'd Light her full twelve hours to reign:
Thus have all Ages only been the Play
Of interwoven checker'd Night and Day.
Who seeth not how beauteous Generation
Fails not to tread on foul Corruption's heels;
And how Corruption by sure Circulation
Upon the back of Generation steals:
Whilst by this Trade of Interchange, from Wombs
Death takes its constant Rise, and Life from Tombs!
When peevish Winter's Blasts churlishly blow
His frozen Scythia all about the Earth,
Commanding Nature in a bed of Snow
To lie and sleep, and let no Bud peep forth;
What hopes would fancy She could break again
Out from the bondage of her icey Chain?
Yet when the Sun leaps in the lusty Ram,
Forthwith the Spring takes heart, embraved by
The neighbour-hood of his enlivening flame,
And clothes the World with fresh Fertility;
Cashiering Frost and Snow, and changing
Queen Tellus's white Mantle to a lovelyer green.
Sometimes the Winds conspire upon the Main
To plow the Deeps and throw them at the Sky
To let them thunder headlong down again,
And with new Wrath return them up as high;
Till all the Sea be on a foaming sweat,
And Rocks, and Ships, and Hearts of Sailers, split.
Yet when these Breaths their fury out have blown,
The Ocean slides into a polish'd Plain,
Mildly excusing every Billowy frown
With smiling Looks: the Sirens play again;
The Seamen hoise their sails; the Halcyon lays
Her eggs, and gives her name to quiet Days.
When Empires stoop to more imperious Fate,
And Time's bold Sithe mows stoutest Scepters down;
Themselves those glorious Ruins congregate
Into the Circle of some other Crown;
And from the Dust that Seed of Honor springs
Into a golden Harvest of new Kings.
After the earnest Ploughman hath by Day
Worry'd himself, and earth, and water'd it
With his own sweat; cool night his head doth lay
Still on his crib, and teach him to forget
His toilsome work; whilst soft and gentle sleep
Yields him a crop of pleasant Dreams to reap.
Though pitch'd in Power's saddle far they ride,
And kick and trample all things in their way;
The insolent Vulgar find at length their Pride
Check'd by a sudden Fall; no Tigres may
For ever rage; nor can the Tyranny
Of blackest Parliaments immortal be.
When tedious Sickness by her rampant Fits
Has in the body her sad Revels kept;
Health takes her happy cue, and fairly quits
Her cheerly self; by Her the Veins are swept,
The Stomach purg'd, the Spirits, which 'gan to tire,
Rouz'd and incouraged by vivid Fire.
Though Grief sometimes, conspiring with the Night,
On wounded Hearts Disconsolation throws;
Yet Comfort, dawning with the morning Light,
Smootheth the sullen furrows of the brows,
And with its Virgin beams of sweetness dries
The briny moisture of the clouded eyes.
But that Vicissitude still wins the Bay
Of Pleasantness, which cures the worst of Gall;
Whose Rayes can chase the shades of Death away,
And kindle Solace in a Funeral;
Which to a Sepulchre dares say: Stand ope,
And let thy Pris'ner into Life get up.
Indeed some glimpses of this blessed Change
Had glanced on the World before; yet they
Were faint Preludiums of that full and strange
Mutation which shin'd on Easterday:
For they atchieved were by borrow'd Might,
This dawn'd and rose by none but its own Light.
In truly sovereign Jesus's only Hand
Dwelt that authentick power, which knew both how
To give His mortal Fate a Countermand,
And make His stubborn Grave repent; to throw
Aside His useless Shroud, and cleerly turn
His own Death's Night into a living Morn.
And since the present Scene now prompts him to
The glorious Story, Phylax means to paint
Its quickning wonders unto Psyche, who
Under her holy Passion strove to faint:
He takes her up, and sweetly cries, My Dear,
Life's Monument, as well as Death's, is hear.
And 'tis the same; this Grave proclaimeth now
With open mouth the famous Death of Death:
Come sit thee down, and I will tell thee how
Thy noble Lord by being vanquish'd, hath
Victorious prov'd, and reap'd such Palms of Glory
As ne'r till now adorned Conqueror's Story.
When in this Casket pious Joseph had
The precious Jewel laid; a massy Stone
Upon the Monument he pitch'd, and made
It safe from Injurie's invasion;
Still jealous of the Highpriest's tyranny,
Which with the Death of Jesus could not die.
It could not die; and was resolv'd that He
Should neither live, nor seem to live again,
Whom their flagitious Importunity
Had by faint-hearted Pilat's Sentence slain:
To him they crouch afresh, and fawning cry,
Long live great Cesar, and his Deputy.
Sir, in our God's, and in our Country's name,
Due thanks we tender for that Justice you
Have done on Jesus, blotting out the shame
His foul mouth on our Temple spew'd: and know
That Cesar too owes you applause, since He
Reigns by your Care from dangerous Tumults free.
What might this desperate Conjurer not have,
If He had vengeance scap'd and lived still
Who by the Magick of His Death alone
Jerusalem doth with Amazement fill?
How many Fondlings stroke their breasts, and cry'd,
Sure He's the Son of God, ev'n when He dy'd!
Thus when some saucy Exhalation bears
Its earthborn self high in the yielding air,
And counterfeits possession of the Spheres;
The Silly Multitude in wonder glare
Upon th' illustrious Hypocrite, and call
That Fire a Star, although they see it fall.
There's danger therefore, least this Serpent's Blood
Rankle the Air, and taint our credulous Nation;
Indeed Himself right cunningly thought good
To pave the way to some such Perturbation;
Telling His Scholars that He must be slain,
But with the third Day up would rise again.
Now Sir, if sheltered by thievish Night
Him from His grave they pilfer, and proclaim
That He is Risen by His heav'nly Might;
What Hazard might attend so strange a Fame!
How would the seeming Miracle entice
Seditious Multitudes with Him to Rise!
Then would the Mischief swell to bolder height
Than if the Traytor were indeed alive:
Against the Torrent of that new Deceit
Your Power in vain, in vain our Care should strive:
For how shall We attach Him who is dead,
Yet into new Life's reputation fled?
Say what we could, the mutinous Rabble still
By this His Grave's wide-open mouth would seal
Up ours, provoking to that Miracle
By which they'l count'nance their rebellious Zeal;
And with outragious Cheating bear us down
That Him they honor who to heav'n is flown.
Pilate, whose Conscience Grip'd him hard for what
His Fears before had done, no more would trade
In that uncomfortable Bus'ness; but
Them of their spightful Project Masters made.
Ye have a Watch; secure the Tomb, said he,
And satisfy your politick Jealousy.
Impowred thus, away fly They, to fix
And make God sure for ever stirring more:
Both Caiaphas and Annas sign their Wax
Upon the Stone which dammed up the Door;
Charging a double Guard, appointed well
With Swords and Spears, to wait on either Seal.
Ah politick Fools! your strong Conspiracy
Shall only undermine it self, and make
The Resurrection's glorious Mystery
With more unanswerable Lustre break
Forth in your Face; since both your Seals and Guard
Shall witness to the Miracle afford.
So when the Envy-blinded Median Peers
Had lodg'd great Daniel in the Sealed Den
Of hungry Death; their Jealousies and fears
They confidently laid asleep: but when
The Day awak'd, they saw their fell Design
Prov'd his Deliverance but the more divine.
Mean while the sacred Corps lay dormant here,
And jolly Death triumphed in the Grave;
For once she bids her ghastly count'nance wear
The guise of lusty Gladness, and gives leave
To her dire Tongue to change its baleful Tone,
And cheer into a Shout her wonted Groan.
Long had she vex'd and pin'd, remembring how
Brave Enoch and Elias rescu'd were
From her contagious Monarchy: but now
That feebler Pair she is content to spare,
And gluts her bloody heart with barbarous glee
In this grand Trophy of her Victory.
She never took such proud Delight to set
Her foot upon the vast Zamzummim's Tomb,
Or see all Anak's Sons in Ashes meet,
Or heav'n-commanding Joshua earth become,
Or steely Sampson turn to rotten Clay,
Or huge Goliah mouldering away.
She kiss'd her reeking Dart, and vow'd to build
An Ark of triumph to its conquest; high
In fierce disdain she all the World beheld,
Which now had no presence but it must Die;
Since Life's own Champion became her Prey,
And tame and cold and dead before her lay.
There lay His Body: but His Soul mean time
Triumphed more than She; for down into
The kingdom of the hidden World, the Clime
Of unsuspecting Nighs, it march'd, and so
Surpris'd the Powers of Hell all napping in
The secret cloisters of their gloomy Den.
The Gates of sturdy brass it flung in sunder,
Shaking the bottom of the monstrous Deep;
The Porter frighted at the Ruin's thunder
Into the Gulf for shelter took his leap;
But equal Horror there he found, for all
The Pit was startled when the Gates did fall.
So when the mighty Son of Manoah, who
Presumed was the City's Pris'ner, tore
The Gates of Gaza, rending freedom to
His conquering March; the Neighbours' dreadful Roar
The Pillars' boistrous Crack rebounded, who
Thought both their Roofs and Sculs were spliting too.
This stubborn Fort by Storm thus taken; on
The noble Victor hasted to advance:
No Guard secur'd His passage, who alone
Army and General was, and whose sole Glance
Had power enough to make his Pris'ners know
Whose Justice kindled their Death's fire below.
But now imperial Lustre from His face
Streaming upon the eyes of hideous Night,
Pour'd on the swarthy flames of that foul place
So vast an Ocean of Immortal fright
That into every hole they crept aside
Seeking their everlasting shame to hide.
About the hollow bowels of the Cave
An universal Groan its sadness spread;
Whose Echo such a ruful answer gave
That Hell seem'd gasping on its dying bed:
Strait followed such Yellings, Shrieks, and Cries,
As truly spake Damnation's Miseries.
Imagin what the blear-ey'd Sons of Night,
Ravens, Scritchowls, Bats, and such foul things would do,
When in their black blind Nests by Highnoon Light
Suddenly seiz'd; O whether shall they go
Now their illustrious foe's bright arrows reach
The very entrails of their closest Pitch!
Incomparably direr was the Dread
Which shot it self quite through the heart of Hell.
For these commanding Raies maintain'd their speed
Through every dark and massy Obstacle
With such stout Brightness, that amidst the store
Of never-dying fires it quickned more.
The Lakes of Sulphure boiled with new heat;
Each Grief and Pang and Torment hotter grew;
Despair afresh at every bosom beat;
Upon the next feind's face each fury flew;
And every Devil scratch'd and tore his brother,
Wreaking their madness upon one another.
The Snakes their hisses and their poison spit,
And in a thousand knots ty'd and unty'd
Their woful selves: the frighted Gorgons split
Their raving Throats' hot furnace; and the wide
And fiery-mouthed Dragons howling loud
Whole torrents of their flaming venome spew'd.
The Peers of Hell curs'd their unhappy King
Whose Pride betray'd them to this Anguish; they
Had hopes the Light of Heav'n would never spring
In their black Clime, to pour on them Dismay:
But now they saw't in Jesus' eyes, it more
Vex'd them than when they fell from it before.
Their belking bosoms heaved high, and fain
They would have belched out ther working load
Of Blasphemy, which held their souls in pain;
But mighty Terror stopp'd the sulphury road
Of their rank breath, and forc'd their ready Sin
Only to split their hearts and rage within.
Black Avarice with desperate Treachery
And foul-mouth'd slander, who their parts had play'd
With fair Success in that Conspiracy
By which Life's Sovereign was to death betray'd;
With guilty horror quaked now, and found
Upon themselves their Mischiefs all rebound.
Though mad Confusion always reigned here,
She never sate so high upon her throne,
Nor such monarchick sway as now did bear
In all the Deep; whose strange Distraction
Outvy'd the Discords of that wallowing Mass
In whose rude Womb the World conceived was.
But yet the Dragon red in guiltless blood,
Great Belzebub, was more confounded than
All Hell besides: for well he understood
He now was deeplyer subdu'd, than when
Down from the pinacle of Heav'n he fell
Into the center of profoundest Hell.
That Jesus, for whose life he long ago
Fiercely a-hunting upon Bethlehem went
With Herod's pack of Hounds; that Jesus, who
When in the Desert all his Craft he bent
To cheat Him into Sin, his deep Design
Quite overturn'd by Wisdom's countermine:
Him whom he by the odious Wit of Scorn
Through Jews' blasphemous mouths had vilify'd;
Whom by hir'd Treason he had Pris'ner born
Unto his mortal Enemie's Bar, and try'd
By all th' impetuous lawless Laws of Cries,
Threatnings, broad Tumults, broader Calumnies:
Whom by the Petulance of his Miscreants he
Had spit upon, had scourg'd, had buffeted;
Whom through all Infamie's extremity
He to this mountain of His Death had led;
Whom on the Tree of Shame and Pain he nail'd,
And then with further blasphemies assail'd.
Whom of His blood he plunder'd, and at last
Of breath and life: whom having murder'd thus,
In marble lodg'd and watch'd he sealed fast
And clearly then was thought victorious;
This very Jesus's Soul he seeth now
Marching with triumph in his Realm below.
He sees his deep-laid Projects turn'd into
Just Engines of their Master's overthrow:
He sees he was his own most deadly fo
When he to Jesus gave the mortal Blow;
That Death by which be hop'd to have suppress
The life of Life, now lives in his own breast.
He sees that his mistaken self alone
Condemned was in Jesus's Sentence; that
The Multitude's mad Exclamation
But prefac'd to his Groans: that Mary's Brat
(For so his scornful Pride had term'd Him,) now
Was Son to Him to whom all Angels bow.
He sees the Cross in goodly Banner spread,
And shining with imperial gallantry;
He sees that precious Blood which made it red,
Adorn it now with dreadful Majesty,
He sees it streaming in the swarthy air,
And at its awful motion melts for fear.
He sees the angry Thorns, and feels them pricking
His guilty Soul: he sees each cruel Nail,
And in his harder heart resents them sticking:
He shrinks; he winds about his woful Tail;
He starts, and finds that something more than Hell
Did now in his tormented bosom dwell.
Three times he clap'd his Pride upon the back,
And cheer'd his everlasting Stomach up;
But strait his swelling heart-strings 'gan to crack,
And fail'd the courage of his insolent Hope:
Three times his fury strove to check his fear,
Yet Terror still his Boldness overbare.
But Jesus marched on in conquering Might,
And pitch'd His foot full on the Monster's head:
All Thunder's throats did never yet affright
The Air with such a Roar as bellowed
From Satan's jaws, when by that crushing Load
He justly learn'd the weight of angry God.
For as the surly Lyon, wounded by
Some Hero in his own invaded Den,
Rends all the Cavern with impatient Cry,
And makes his frighted Neighbours further run:
So Belzebub's huge Shriek tore all his Deep,
And forc'd the Elves into their holes to creep.
Had all the World been heav'd upon his head,
And thousands more upon the back of this,
The Burden had not been so vastly sad;
For all the weight of Weight meer Lightness is
To that strange Pressure which the Rebel now
Felt sealed sure upon his squeazed Brow.
His squeazed Brow: for both his Horns were broke;
So was his Scull; from whence a Torrent burst
Of ranker Bane than e'r had power to choke
The soul of Sweets; a Torrent of accurst
Designs, of Rage, of Pride, of every thing
Which qualifies Hell's true accomplish'd King.
Thus did the first and noblest Promise prove
Compleatly good: thus did the Woman's Seed,
The Seed of blessed Mary, spring above,
And trample down the wiley Serpent's head,
Quite shattering it; so to revenge that spight
With which he us'd the heel of Man to bite.
This done; Learn now, the mighty Victor cry'd,
That as above, so I can reign below.
What you have gained by your Hate and Pride
Your fellow-Elves may read upon your Brow:
Deep have I grav'd the Lesson; yet I know
Not deep enough to mend or Them or you.
For deeper printed is your desperate Spight
On your obdurate hearts: and though by Me,
Their Head, you might be warned not to fight
Against my Members; yet had you the free
Reins of your Rage, you all your Nerves would join
To broach and quaff their blood, as you did Mine.
But Mine less precious is than theirs to Me,
And They less able to defend their own.
I Vindication owe; and Sympathy
Demands with speed to have it payed down.
Down will I pay't, and that upon thy neck,
To prove My self as strong as they are weak.
Which said: the King of Conquest threw about
The Dragon's neck an adamantine Chain:
A Chain, which though the Monster's teeth be stout
As hardest steel, he bites and gnaws in vain:
Fast Pris'ner now he lies, and only where
Jesus thinks fit to give him leave, can stir.
Black Judas, whom the next Oven's wrath did fry,
With unconceived anguish gnash'd his teeth,
Being deeper tortur'd by his Master's eye
Whom he so wretchedly had sold to death.
He sold his Master, but the Bargain on
Himself recoiled, and he dy'd alone.
He look'd the next Step on his woful Head
With equal Pressure surely fix'd should be;
His Head, which next to crushed Satan's did
Deserve preeminence in Misery.
But Jesus turn'd, and would not melt him by
The burning glass of His indignant Eye.
Him He reserved to his other Day
Of Triumph, when both Caiaphas, and he,
And all that cruel Rout, which made their Prey
Of patient innocent Humility,
Shall look on Him whom they have pierc'd, with Thorns
And Whips, and Spears, and Blasphemies, and Scorns.
Yet He an universal Prospect took
With princely Awfulness about the Gulf;
The radiant Dint of which majestick took
Scorch'd every peeping Fire and sneaking Elf
With hotter torment then when He at first
Their brazen Gates at His arrival burst.
What glimpse of Hopes can cheer the Whelps when they
Have seen the Father Lyon trampled down?
Alas the head of every Devil lay
Brused in Satan's; and they count their own
No longer so, since he could not maintain
With all his strength and cunning his own Brain.
O how they wish with helpless desperation
That Hell were darker, or that Jesus's Eye
Less bright and piercing! Any new Damnation
Though further stretch'd than one Eternity,
They would embrace, so they release might gain
From this Hour's more than everlasting Pain.
But whilst themselves they with this Horror slew;
Jesus another Fo remembering, hither
March'd back again in equal state, a new
Laurel of Conquest in His Tomb to gather;
Where shivering and couching close lay Death
Astonish'd at the dismal Noise beneath.
She heard the Ruin of the brazen Door;
She heard the yelling of each frighted Feind;
She heard oppressed Satan's sovereign Roar;
And felt a sudden fatal Terror rend
Her late triumphant heart, now tortur'd by
Its sympathy with Hell's Calamity.
Arrived here, this Tyrant He descy'd
With more than deadly Paleness in her face,
Striving her guilty Head in vain to hide
From that dread Brightness which surpriz'd the place:
None of her wonted and beloved Shade
To muffle up her gastly self she had.
Such floods of living Light from Jesus's eyes
Broke forth, as with more splendor stuff'd the Grave
Than swells fair Phebus's globe: Death scalded flies
About, and hunts through all the dazell'd Cave
To scape, if possible, that Lustre's ire
Whose bus'ness seem'd to light her funeral fire.
When lo thy Spouse His foot already red
With Hell's best blood, upon her bosom set,
And cry'd, foul Monster, whom I never did
Create, but stubborn Insolence beget.
As I, and Mine have felt thy fury, so
'Tis time that now thou feel My Power too.
Due Vengeance hath thy cursed Mother Sin
Drunk from this righteous Hand; and thou her Brat
And rightful Heir, in vain dost nestle in
This gloomy Rock to scape thy Beldame's fate.
The whole World's Graves which by thy Tyranny
Alone are fill'd, proclaim one due to thee.
Ev'n from thy birth Destruction was thy Trade,
And long thou traffickedst the Earth about;
Upon all Generations didst thou feed,
And yet thy Stomach still new booties sought.
Hell, which I plum'd but now, less bottomless
Than that strange Gulf of thy lank belly is.
The noblest Kings no favour found with thee,
But at thy stinking feet thou mad'st them bow;
Thy shameless Worms thou gav'st authority
On Princes' royal breasts to crawle and gnaw;
Saucy Corruption thou command'st to tread
And trample upon every laureat Head.
My dearest Saints thou mingledst with thy Prey,
And stamp'dst them down into th' unworthy Dust.
Whether the Lives were vile or precious, they
Were equally devoured by thy Lust.
Thou mockedst Youth and Strength; both Physick and
Physitian stoop'd to thy destroying hand.
By this thine uncontrolled Cruelty
To Insolence's top thy Boldness rise,
And ventured to throw thy Dart at Me,
That Dart which in My slaughter'd Body lies.
And if I die, shalt thou exempted be!
Forbid it all My Might and Majesty.
At that stern Word, the Monster fetch'd a Groan
So great, that all the dying Cries which she
Throughout the World had scrued forth in one
Huge Ejulation crowded seem'd to be;
All deadly Agonies that ever were,
With just requital bounding now on her.
Strait Jesus tore in sunder every Chain
In which she us'd her conquer'd Preys to ty;
When lo, the fates were venturing to complain
That their grand Law groan'd under injury;
That Law which Heav'n it self enacted, and
Rid it in Paradise's Records stand.
Their breeding murmur quickly reach'd His ear,
Whom nothing scaped which He pleas'd to know:
Up looked He, and flash'd such potent fear
Upon their souls, as bow'd their heads as low
As loyal Meekness: in His Looks they saw
His royal Will, and knew their greater Law.
For what's most massy strong substantial fate
More than the shadow of His mighty Pleasure?
Vastest Impossibility do's at
His Beck melt into Easiness: no Measure
But His own Mind can of His Power be found;
Infinitude Infinitude must bound.
He then, as Death lay groaning, pluck'd the Dart
Out from His Body's side, and to the head
With potent vengeance plung'd it in her heart:
Whose Wound, though deep, made not the Weapon red,
For all the gore that at its mouth it spew'd
As black as Styx his inky puddle shew'd.
Thrice did the Monster gasp; and then belch'd forth
Her damned Ghost, which stole its way to hell.
Her Carcase stretch'd at length lay on the earth,
Her Chap fell down, her Teeth all star'd, her fell
And pois'nous Tongue hung dangling out: Thus She
Who reign'd o'r mortals felt mortality.
But this almighty Victor having slain
Her once by killing her, resolved now
To slay her by Restoring her again
To her accursed life; for from below
He beckned her pale Ghost, and bid it dwell
At home again, as in a fouler Hell.
Since I have taught thee now, said He, My Might,
Remember My Command, and live again;
Henceforth thou with thy Sting no more shalt fight
Nor on thy Pris'ners clap a slavish chain:
Yet use thy Dart; for 'tis My royal Will
Though I Forbid thy rage, to let thee Kill.
You who were their imperious Tyrant, now
Shall Servant to my mortal Brethren be,
And ope the Gate by which from life below
Their Souls shall fly to live and reign with Me;
But, till I them require, be sure you keep
Their Bodies safe in undisturbed sleep.
This double Conquest gain'd: He look'd aside
And sneaking in a corner of the Tomb,
Corruption with her Worms about her spy'd;
Who long had crawl'd and sprawl'd and scrambled some
Approach unto the sacred Corps to find,
And wonder'd what their wonted power did bind.
He spy'd them there, and charg'd them to be gone:
At which great Word, they into Nothing fled.
Forthwith He slipp'd His ready Body on
As easily as He some cloke had spread
Upon His shoulders, or into a fit
And graceful Ring His nimble finger put.
(Thus when an old and tryed fencer from
His bloody Scene of Prowess, with the Prize
His Virtue purchased, returneth home,
There to enjoy his glorious Victories;
He first revests his arms and breast, which by
Their naked valour did his foes defy.)
His Heart with Life and Joy strait 'gan to leap,
His Veins with new recover'd Heat grew hot,
His blessed Eyes threw off their triduan Sleep,
His thawed Joints their tedious frost forgot,
Afresh the Roses budded in His lip,
New smiles and Graces in His Cheeks did trip.
Off fell the Napkin and the Winding Sheet,
Not daring to conceal the Beauties which
Here in a confluence of Glory met
All Parts of His pure Body to inrich;
Which now no less it self outshined then
It had before the fairest Sons of Men.
For passing through the Seirce of Death, it there
Lost all the grosness of Mortality,
Becoming more illustrious and clear
Than silver Venus in the evening Sky:
What was but course and animal till now,
Purely refined and spiritual grew.
Nor must it longer like a Prison sit
Obscure and lumpish on the Soul, but light,
And quick and plyant and completely fit
For all her nimblest Bus'ness: as our bright
And ready Wings move with our Wills, so she
Finds that comply with her Activity.
For He who our brave sprightfulness could make
Of dull and sleepy nothing; easily may
Teach heavy flesh and Blood how to awake
Into Angelick Pureness, and array
It round with Splendors full as gorgeous as
Those which the Cherubs or the Seraphs grace.
But Jesus, now the promis'd Time was come
As early as the third Day meant to Rise:
For to His flesh remarry'd, from His Tomb
He leaps; not in the boistrous Lightning's guise,
Which tears the Clouds, but like that milder flash
We see quite through unbroken bodies rush.
Hast thou not mark'd the sprightful Image fly
Completely through a crystall Wall, which yet
Uncrack'd it leaves! So through that Marble thy
Much purer Lord Himself suddenly shot:
For still it kept the Tomb's mouth close, and still
Was trust, to the Priests' unmoved Seal.
Indeed the Mountains and the Rocks He rent
When out He blew His final Gasp; to show
That with His Blood His Power was not spent,
But flourish'd ev'n in's dying Hand: but now
His gallant Rising breaks no Stones but those
Whose stubborn mine in Human bosoms grows.
And what more fair Decorum, than that He
Who when at first into this World He came
Unbroken left the pure Virginity
Of His dear Mother; should renew the same
Illustrious Wonder now, and issue from
The untorn bowels of His virgin Tomb?
Thus Psyche, e'r the dull World was awake
Life rose for it, and Death's strong gates set ope;
The Passage clear aforehand so to make
For all His Brethren's Ashes to get up.
His Members risen are In Him their Head
Though yet in Death they never went to bed.
His Resurrection the Earnest is
Of theirs who ever dyed, or can die:
He only buried was the Grave to dress,
To purge, to sweeeten, and to sanctify:
That in that safe retiring Room His friends
May take their Rest, till back for them He sends.
Indeed all Joys seem'd slaughtered when He
Wrung out the dregs of deepest Bitterness,
And drunk His Death upon the fatal Tree:
But this dear Morning they reviv'd, like
His Arising Body grown spiritual, and
Subject no more to cruel Death's command.
No wonder this sweet Day's enthron'd so high
In pious Souls' esteem, and bears away
The reverend Glory and solemnity
Of old entailed on the Sabbath Day:
No wonder that upon this first Day's head
The Sev'nth's fair Diadem's established.
'Tis true; on that, God did His hand withdraw,
Which He through Six Days' Work had reached; and
To Jacob's seed at length into a Law
His own Example turn'd; that They might stand
Bound unto freedom's Feast, and since no way
They had His Work to copy, act His Play.
But greater Rest on this Day's shore He met:
For all His Life full hard He labour'd had;
He wept, He strugled, and His blood He sweat,
His strength, His life He spent; on Death He bode,
And trampled Hell; and now rose up again
In matchless triumph evermore to reign.
O nobler Sabbath! may all Glories swell
Each hour and minute of thy sacred light:
May Piety's best Exultations dwell
In thee alone and cursed be the spight
Of any Heresy which e'r shall thy
Most hallowed Prerogative defy.
The other Sabbath was a shade of Thee;
And Thou the Copy art of that which shall
Amidst the triumphs of Immensity
Be all Heav'n's everlasting festival;
That Sabbath which no higher Name shall know
Than this, the Lord's Day: and that Day art Thou.
But is this mighty Savior quite forgot
By all His followers? will faithful Zeal
Endure to be interr'd with Him, and shut
Up in Oblivion? shall Death and Hell
Be roused thus, and Earth her dulness steep
In most ungrateful unregarding Sleep?
No: fervid Magd'lene could not rest in bed,
Because her Soul was sealed in the Tomb.
And though the Sabbath's statutes her forbad
Until it self expired were to come
And seek it here; yet now she cannot stay
To be conducted by the Morning Ray.
She, and another love-inflamed friend,
On Speed's wings mounted, having purchas'd store
Of precious Ointment and of Spice, to spend
Upon the sacred Corps, set forth before
The Sun had op'd his east: yet as they came
Near to the Grave, he peeped forth on them.
He peeped forth; and little thought that Day
Was up before, and had prevented Him:
'Twas Jesus's Day; and well might scorn to stay
And be beholden to the tardy beam
Of glaring Phebus, having, of her own,
Glories enough to furnish out her crown.
So had the Corps of Sweets, if here it still
Had slept: but Risen 'twas: yet pious They
Find what was sent ingenuous faith to swell
With satisfaction, and in full repay
Their Odour's Price; for in the Tomb they see
An Angel cloth'd in glittering Majesty.
This was that noble Spirit who in haste
Flew down from Heav'n, just as thy Lord get up;
And on no errand but away to cast
That Stone which did the Grave's confession stop;
That these religious Visitants might read
Their Lord's unfailing Word turn'd into Deed.
And gallantly his blessed work he did:
For at his Coming's dint the Earth did quake;
The Seal was startled and in pieces fled
The trimbling Stone was ready too to break;
But courteous he vouchsaf'd to roll it by
And bid it for his service quietly.
When lo the Watch which at the Sepulchre
Guarded with swords and spears the High-priest's Sin;
Saw that they past their own protection were
Being arrested by a Power divine:
The Hills' Commotion reached all their hearts,
Which, with the Seal, split in a thousand parts.
But chiefly at the Angel's Presence they
Were overwhelmed in a flood of fright:
His Robes were glorious as the morning's Ray,
And partners with the driven Snow in White
For 'twas his Easter Suit, the Suit he had
To honour this bright feast on purpose made.
And yet the Lustre which kept Holyday
In his so pure so delicate Attire,
Could not such wealthy Seas of Light display
As streamed from his Aspect's mightier fire;
For in his dreadfully majestick face
A Spring of living Lightning bubling was.
In this celestial bravery his throne
Taking upon the Stone he rolled thence,
He his illustrious Terror darted on
Those Sons of Mars; which they too weak to fence,
Let fall their useless lamentable Steel,
And after it Themselves confounded fell.
All flat and tame upon the ground they lay:
For though they gladly would from thence have fled,
Alas no Power they had to run away,
Amazement having nail'd them there for dead.
Thus they who stood to keep Life's Master down
Sure in His Grave, were fitted for their own.
The Pair of Maries, when this Stranger there
They spy'd, and all the Soldiers slain with Dread;
In their sad Passion they began to share:
And had not Innocence its shelter spread
Over their hearts, this Apparition had
An equal Conquest on their Spirits made.
But when the Angel mark'd their agony,
He sweetly intercepted further fears:
The fright concerns not honest you, said he,
Which on those impious Watchmen domineers.
I know your Errand well, (and here he smil'd,
And all his face with gentler Lustre fill'd.)
You likewise come to Watch the Corps; but yet
To Pray withal: You Jesus come to Oint,
Although His Cross and Shame themselves have set
Full in your way your loyal Mind to daunt.
You bravely come, nor could the ruffian Guard
You knew was ranged there, your haste retard.
You come to make your pious Day arise
Here in this West in which your Titan set;
You come to poure your Souls out at your eyes,
And in Love's meekly-bold Profuseness wet
The dry bed of your new-sown Master, who
Charg'd all your Tears to wait on your own Wo.
Thus in couragious forgetfulness
Of your faint Sex, you venter to attend
Upon His body who forsaken is
By all His masculine Scholars. I commend
Your early valiant Zeal; although it be
Arrived here too late your Hopes to see.
For Jesus earlyer was up than you,
And unto slaughter'd Death bequeath'd His Tomb.
His royal Word you know He pass'd; and now
This Third prefixed Morning being come,
Impossible it was that longer He
In Death's cold region should frozen be.
If Doubts assault your faith, come in, and let
Your eyes convince your hearts: His empty Bed
You see, with all the Clothes and Sheets of it:
A cold dead Bed; yet hence He flourished
Into a sprightful Life, as noble He
Sprung at the first from dry Virginity.
The Angel's words the holy Women read
Plain in the Grave and in the Graveclothes; yet
So deeply were their Souls astonished
By these thick Wonders' Conflux, which beset
Their unprovided Thoughts, that they sunrise
Some pleasing Error flattered their eyes.
So when old Jacob's unexpecting Ear
The happy News did suddenly receive;
What most would gratify his Wish to hear,
He durst not when he beard it first, believe.
In vain against the Tyding's stream he strives:
His Spirits die to hear his Joseph lives.
At this the Angel sweetly chode their Doubt,
Their jealous faintness, and dejected look;
Demanding why they in Death's Closet sought
Him who from thence to open Life was broke!
Yet cheer'd them strait, and told them They should be
The Angels of this News, as well as He.
Make haste to His Disciples, who, said He,
As anxious of this bus'ness are as You;
Bid them in pre-appointed Galilee
Meet Him who promis'd there the Interview:
And tell them, to anticipate their Doubt,
That you from Me this cheerly Message brought.
Out went the pious Women in a sweet
Distraction of loving fear and joy;
The glorious Miracle did fear beget,
The blessed News new Comfort did display:
With doubtful Certainty they trembling ran,
And made this sutable Relation:
Dear Sirs, O what, alas what shall we do!
The only Relict of our Hopes is gone;
But where our Lord's sweet Body is, or who
Hath born it from the Tomb, God knows alone.
We with these eyes the empty Grave beheld;
Which us with terrible Amazement fill'd.
Indeed an Angel, if our Fancy did
Not cheat our ears, pour'd Comfort on our Grief:
He told us that our Savior from His Bed
Of death was Risen; and to win belief,
Quoted His own Prediction: but whate'r
The matter is, our Hearts still beat with fear.
Us He commissioned to warn you All
To Galilee the Place in which, He saith,
Your Risen Master's Apparition shall
Requite th' Attendance of your pious faith
O that it might be so! though He had set
Earth's furthest End for us that Joy to meet.
So spake the Women: but the standers by,
Shak'd their wise heads at such unlikely News;
And see said they, the wild Credulity
Of female Hearts, when fancies them abuse!
How fine a story they can forge and fashion
Of no Materials but Imagination!
Yet malgre this grim Censure; wiser John
Fir'd at the News, thought not of Galilee,
But in Love's loyal disobedience ran
Hither, the present Miracle to see:
The same spur prick'd on Peter's fervency,
Who though he Doubted, would no more Deny.
Unto their Prey no Eagles e'r could post
With speed more hearty; no Ambition make
To Crowns and Scepters more impatient haste;
No Spark to heav'n its venturous voyage take
With braver zeal; than this religious Pair
Flew to observe the empty Sepulchre.
But vivid John, in whose soft bosom reign'd
More flames of youth and more of gallant Love,
Quickly his Fellow-traveller outstrein'd
In Ardor's race: in vain old Peter strove;
For though his Tongue were always forward, yet
John had the nimbler Heart and fleeter feet.
John first arrives: but strait arrested here
With awful Reverence, only sends his eyes
Into the bottom of the Cavern, where
The Resurrection's Relicts he espies;
The Linen Clothes, which had the grace to kiss
The softer purer Skin of Daintiness.
But then his greedy panting follower, in
The wonted Boldness of his hasty Zeal,
Entred the Tomb, and made John's meekness win
Such courage that to this dear Spectacle
He ventur'd in, and with joint Wonder there
Gaz'd and examined the Sepulchre.
They gaz'd and found the Grave that News attest
Which Mary sighed had; their Lord was gone:
But all His Linen furniture confest
The bus'ness was in solemn order done;
For they observed all the pieces lie
Fairly disposed, and not tumbled by.
If Fraud or Rapin thence convey'd him, why
Prey'd they not on the precious Linen too?
Why lingred they to leave it orderly
Wrap'd up and plac'd? About this Riddle so
Demurr'd these puzzel'd Souls, forgetting that
Not Wit, but Faith ought to unty the Knot.
At length with blind and anxious tears dismay'd
They sigh'd, and scratch'd their heads, and home return'd.
But Magd'lene who had thither follow'd, stay'd
Still by the Tomb, to quench her heart which burn'd
In Love's vast furnace: all the Springs which slept
In both her Eyes, she bravely wak'd and wept.
She wept and pityed her prevented Spice,
Which now breath'd short, and panting lay to see
It came too late to be a Sacrifice
To Odour's sweeter Lord: She wept that she,
Her Tears' Drink-offring; could present no more
Upon His Feet's dear Altar as before.
She wept, to think she could no longer thence
Sip Happiness by her adoring Kisses;
Nor tender to her most indeared Prince
The homage of her consecrated Tresses:
Her Lips, and Locks, and Self, no longer seem
Her own, because she cannot give them Him.
Had she the plenitude of whatsoe'r
Th' idolatrous World adores, she still would be
Poorer than naked Poverty, whilst here
She nothing findeth but Vacuity;
The Gem and Soul of her Content, which lay
Treasur'd up here, alas was born away.
For ever born away, for ought she knew:
And how can .Mary live without her Life!
No Mourning e'r so lamentably slew
The Turtle's Joys in her disconsolate strife
Of Love and Grief, when she her Mate had lost,
As Mary's now a briney Tempest tost.
Yet having prefac'd by this flood again
She look'd to read fresh cause of further Tears:
But in the Tomb she spy'd new Splendor reign.
Two Angels ready to outshine her Fears,
And dry her cheeks, had taken there their seat,
One at the Monument's head, one at the feet.
They gorgeous were in festival array
Round clothed in Joy's colour, milky White:
Women, what groundless ground makes you, said they,
Becloud your brows in this fair scene of Light?
Alas, cry'd she, what Light can ever cheer
These eyes, whose Lord is laid I know not where!
Her Springs here gush'd a fresh, and back she turn'd
To give their crouding streams full liberty:
But Jesus's heart, which melted, as she mourn'd,
And answered every Tear by sympathy;
Could let her gentle Soul suspended be
No longer in this anxious Agony.
For hither He in nimble goodness steps,
That his dear Weeper's loyal eyes might see
Their earned Spectacle: and, why she wept
Was His soft Question, but blubber'd she
Blinded with grief, could not discover who
So courteously examined her Wo.
Thus Peter, when he was discharged by
His guardian Angel from the gloomy Jail;
Could neither apprehend the Courtesy,
Nor who vouchsaf'd to he his wondrous Bail;
But though himself his freedom did enjoy
His Soul's and Body's eyes close Pris'ners lay.
She took Him for the Gardner of the Place
And thus she sigh'd out her petition: Sir,
If you have hence remov'd the Corps which was
Interred here, O deign to tell me where
Your haste has thrown't aside; and I will strait
For I at leisure am, upon it wait.
Mine, mine shall he the care and cost to lay
That Jewel in some comely cabinet.
Thus pleaded She: nor did her Error stray
Quite from the truth; though 'twere her Master, yet
It was that Gardner too, who planted all
That grows about this universal Ball.
That Gardner, who betimes a-weeding fell,
Ev'n in the virgin spring of His Creation:
Th' encroaching Weeds, which on the heav'ly
Hill Aspir'd to overgrow the new Plantation,
Up by the roots He pluck'd in righteous ire,
And threw them thence into eternal Fire.
That Gardner, who His lower Nursery,
Planted on earth, vouchsaf'd to visit; where
The pois'nous Sprouts of rank Impiety
He tore away; and, with most matchless care,
To make the Soil prove Fertile, every Bed
Both with His Sweat and Blood He watered.
That Gardner, who contented was to let
The Thorns upon His temples rather grow,
Than they should vex the Grafts which He had set
In His own bodie's Stock; that Gardner who
Indeed had taken up, and born away
What in the Tomb until this morning lay.
But pitying Magd'len's honest Sorrow, He
Whose single potent Word all Clouds can clear,
In Love's mild Tone, — the only Musick she
Could cordially relish, — treats her ear:
Yet His Salute was near as short as sweet,
For only by her Name He her did greet.
Mary in Mary's ear no sooner sounded
From Jesus's Lips, but to her breast it flew,
And with incomparable joy rebounded
Upon her wakened heart: She straitway knew
The blessed Voice, and clearlyer by her ear
Than by her eye she saw her Lord was there.
And sure her tender-temper'd Soul must now
Have split with swelling triumph, had not she
Unlockt it strait, and let it freely flow
In foments of exultant Piety:
Her Love, her Life, her Heav'n, when least she thought,
Were all at once to her fruition brought.
Which sudden Onset of complete Delight
Most cruelly-delicious prov'd; for She
Gasped and panted, and in joyous fright
Staring upon her strange felicity,
Cry'd Master: but no more; ecstatick Passion
Quite stifeled all her following Oration.
Resolved therefore that her lips should now
Speak for her Tongue's Aposiopesis, she
Her self ambitiously prostrate threw
And aim'd her Kisses at His Feet: but He
Smiling reply'd, forbear to touch Me; I
Have other bus'ness for thy Piety.
No haste, sweet Mary; my Ascension is
At ample distance yet; and loving Thou
Hereafter may'st present thy zealous Kiss:
Go rather to My pensive Brethren now,
And let their Sorrow know that I intend
Up to our common Father to Ascend.
At this Injunction Mary needs must go,
Who on the Angel's errand went before;
And yet her loyal Heart could not do so,
But still behind would linger, to adore
Her lost-found Lord: whom that she ne'r again
Might loose, her Soul she to His Feet did chain.
Thus with the News she went, which ravish'd she
A thousand times repeated by the way;
And looked back as oft the place to see
Where, when she left it, still she made her stay
So Bargemen struggle with the Tide, and though
They one way look, yet they another row.
This Message startled His Disciples; but
The Hubbub of the City mov'd them more:
For by the Watchmen now the News had got
Into the Town, and knock'd at every door:
The Highpriests roused at the summons, call
A common Council and to plotting fall.
Their heads they beat, and boulted every way
How they their now endanger'd fame might save;
What Mist might damp the Resurrection's day,
And stop the open mouth of Jesus's Grave:
They mused long, but could no trick contrive
How He who lived might not seem to live.
For Belzebub, who us'd to have his Place
In all their Councels, tardy came that day;
His new-received Wound, and deep Disgrace
Upon his vanquish'd heart with terror lay;
Yet loth he was the Highpriests' Malice in
His own dear Trade of Spight should him outrun.
He rais'd his head, and wiped off the gore:
Three times he sighed, and three times he shook
His broken head and horns; and then he swore
By his own Might and Realm, that though the stroke
Took him at unawares, yet Jesus had
Howe'r He brav'd it out, no Conquest made.
And, had He been, said he, a generous fo,
He would have pitch'd the day, and pitch'd the field;
With trumpets' sound He would have marched to
The fight, and not His sly Design conceal'd:
He would have challeng'd Heav'n and Earth to be
Spectators of His noble chevalry.
But lying to His fellow-thief; that He
Would meet him strait in Paradise; by night
He hither stole, and by base burglary
Broke ope my doors: though We with open Might
In our brave battle gave Him fairer play,
Advancing in the face of Heav'n and Day.
'Twas at the best but a Surprise, and He
Can only brag He found me too secure.
A fault, I grant; but such a fault, as ye
Can spy in none but those whose hearts assure
Them that their Strength transcends the orb of fears.
Let me but know't, and come He when He dares.
Here finding he could stretch his Tether to
Jerusalem; lo all my fiends, he cry'd,
You by this token instantly shall know
How vain's that thievish Galilean's Pride.
The foolish Carpenter forgot His trade
When He this Chair to bind great Satan made.
This wretched Chain: which it shall serve to be
The Tool of my Revenge; for back will I
To Salem, where my ripened Victory
Attends my Coming; never credit my
Cunning or Power, if I these fetters lay
Not on His Subjects, and hale home my Prey.
His goodly Doctrine 'tis, that they must take
His yoke upon their necks; and for this once
I care not if I patience have to make
Them learn their Lesson; that the fools from hence
May be assured whether I, or He
Who said His yoke was light, most Lyar be.
Hell cheer'd by Belzebub's fresh courage, peep'd
Forth from its timerous holes: when lo, its King
To justify his lusty boasting, leap'd
Up from his Den, and through Earth's bowels flung:
But at his heels, besides his Tail's long train,
He drew the longer volumes of his Chain.
Then cloth'd in unsuspicious Air, into
The Sanhedrim he slips, and takes his seat
Next to the plotting Highpriest's elbow: who
Strait felt his brains with politick counsil beat.
He little knew his Prompter was so near,
Nor heard him when he whisper'd in his ear.
So well he lik'd the Plot he had conceiv'd,
That confidently smiling, Sirs, said he,
Think not this Cheater's Art has Us bereav'd
Of Council's safe Reserve: it must not be,
Whilst in this Consistory you assist,
Whilst God is God, and Caiaphas is Priest.
Are We the Men, and these our Brains, which have
So toss'd Him up and down; first to His Cross,
Then out of Life, and then into His Grave?
And should our wisdom now be at a loss!
Or shall ignoble Nazareth outvy
Our learned Salem's known Sagacity!
Full strange I grant the Soldiers' Story is,
As in their staring eyes and startled hair
Our selves too evidently read: but this
Doth only for our Policy prepare
More worthy matter, such as may befit
The reverend Sanhedrim's profoundest Wit.
To us this noble Task belongs: for why
Should We whose sacred honor 'tis to sit
In mighty Moses's Chair, not verify
Our Title to our Power, by proving it
On Jannes's and on Jambres's Heir, who thus
Affronteth Truth and Heavn's, in daring Us?
Indeed I hetherto believed that
Magicians' Power with themselves had dy'd;
But since this one Example tells me what
I ne'r could learn from all the World beside;
We must resolve, e'r it too rank be grown,
This Conjuration to conjure down.
If We to salve our Credit's Soar should find
No Cunning's Balme, the Romans would deride
That violent Zeal in which we all combin'd
To get this Galilean crucify'd;
And Pilate o'r our Guilt would triumph that
His hands he washed from this bloody Blot.
Nay our own Bandogs too, the wide-mouth'd Crew,
Whose shameless Bawling brought about our Plot,
May turn their boistrous Throats at Us who blew
Their Rage's coals: sure they will ne'r be got
To serve us with a Second Roar, if in
The first they learn that they have cheated been.
My final Counsil therefore is, that We
From our own Purses raise our last Recruit.
Believe it, Money's of that Potency
That Miracles themselves cannot confute.
Sure you have not forgot how strange a feat
Poor thirty silver pieces wrought of late.
And if that silly Sum so strongly wun
His own Disciple's heart; compute what may
By fair well-limbed and fat Bribes be done
Upon this mercenary Guard, since they
Have no Relation, nor no Reason why
They should be tender to maintain a Ly.
I say, a Lye: and if you scruple't, pray
Remember 'tis the way in which we went
When witness we suborn'd Him to destroy
Whom Truth could not impeach: but our Intent
You know, aim'd only to assert our Law,
And therefore then 'twas good; and may be now.
To you I speak who in our Sacred Writ
No Strangers are: you know what Abraham did,
And Isaac too, when Need exacted it
In Gerar's Court; what David when he fled
To Nob, and Gath: and if the Saints may ly,
Who dares that Privilege to Us deny?
Yet let me say't, Selfe's not so dear to me
That with the cost of one Untruth I'd buy
My Life's reprieve: but now we clearly see
Our whole Religion at the stake doth lie:
Why should we by unthrifty Thrift be drawn
To loose God's Truth, that we may keep our own?
Fear not, sage Brethren, God Himself allows
These Dispensations: for otherwise
He in requital had not built an House
To shelter th' old Egyptian Midwives' Lyer.
Indeed to th' People Truth we preach; for why,
Dull Souls, they know not when 'tis fit to Ly.
Since then the Soldiers' Mouths no less are ope
Than Jesus's Grave, the surest course will be
Them with the thickest stiffest Clay to stop;
This is the only Bung and Seal which we
Can clap upon them: and you need not doubt
That Truth will ever through this Dam burst out.
We'l bid them say, and if need urge them, swear,
That whilst their tedious Watching made them nod,
His Scholars, who in ready ambush were,
Favour'd by silent Night, the boldness had
To take their Master's Corps away by theft,
Though they the shrowd in craft behind them left..
To them our Promise too we'l pawn, that we
Will blanche the bus'ness so with Pilate, as
To shield them from his frown: plain Equity
Indeed ingageth us to make their case
Our own, and with some forgery defend
Those who by Lyes our Laws and Us befriend.
When thus their cheating Oracle had spoke;
His Counsil highly pleas'd, and every one
Into Applause and Acclamation broke
In glad presumption that the Feat was done.
In were the Soldiers call'd again, and told
What they must do; and forthwith shew'd the Cold.
As when their Mirrours cunning Fowlers set,
Whose gaudy lustre plays about the air;
The silly Birds regardless of the Net,
Are suddenly inamor'd of those fair
But fatally-insidious Baits, and fly
With chirping joy to their captivity:
So by the Gold's inchanting splendor They
Tickled and ravish'd, gladly undertake
Their cursed Task; and snatching up their Pay
Into the Streets with full-mouth'd Lyes they break,
Railing, and banning His Disciples for
Their stealing Jesus from His Sepulchre.
'Twas not one quarter of an hour, that we
Borrow'd to ease our heavy eyes; and yet
So dextrous were they in their Thievery,
They catch'd that very cue to compass it.
Let all, they cry'd, who long complete to be
In Pilfering, go to School in Galilee.
The credulous Vulgar, without more ado
Imbrac'd the News, and spread it all abroad
And still that Slander has the luck to go
Current among the Jews; who though to God
The God of Truth, they will no Credit give,
These hired Lyars readily believe.
And time may come, when Albion's woful eye
Shall see this Madness plainly copied out;
When Lyes alone shall be adored by
The strange wild Faith of its plebian Rout
Who sooner will believe what Soldiers preach,
Than what ev'n Angels or Apostles teach.
But as the timorous Disciples now
In cautious Privacy's dark nest lay hid;
Their tender Master so contrived how
To manifest His Risen Self: indeed
In Galilee He promis'd to appear,
But He cannot their Joy so long defer.
He with His Company an holy Pair
Had at Emmaus entertain'd to day;
Where, as He brake the sacred Bread, He tare
From their beclouded eyes the veil away:
And with like favour now He hastes to cheer
His sad and thoughtful Friends assembled here.
Here, where the Doors all being made as fast
As locks and bars and fear could charm them; He
Whose sprightful Body through His tomb had past,
Entred the house with like facility.
They slander'd were abroad for stealing Him,
But now He truly steals at home on Them.
Yet, as excessive unexpected Bliss
Swallows up dazell'd Faith in Ravishment;
So His Disciples all amaz'd at this
Strange Apparition, mutually bent
Their frighted eyes, and held their hands on high,
Confounded in a silent Ecstasy.
But Comfort's King unlocking then His sweet
And gracious Lips, Peace be among you, said;
My Promise I in love prevent; O let
Not Love by being wing'd, make you afraid:
'Tis I, 'tis I; observe you not these wide
Tokens both in my Hands and Feet and Side?
Why fancy you, that you some Spirit see?
These Mouths proclaim as much as I profess:
You know a Spirit cannot wounded be,
Nor wear such Marks of humane Passiveness.
Come handle Me, and be assured well
If not of what you see, of what you feel.
But this Probation shin'd so fully, that
It struck their Apprehension blind: away
The mighty Torrent snatch'd their thoughts, and shot
Them all into the gulf of trembling Joy.
Thus those who gaze on Phebus, cannot see
Him for his too much Visibility.
So strange a thing's faint Hope, if unawares
It be surpris'd by full Fruition, that
In fond ambiguous Jealousy, it bars
Out what it do's possess; and aiming at
Some proofs of what is absolutely clear,
Transfigureth it self from Hope to Fear.
But Jesus, their amazement to allay,
Grew more familiar, and call'd for Meat:
And of a Fish and Honycomb, which they
Present Him with, disdaineth not to eat.
Though Paradise its Sweets for Him prepar'd,
He this plain Diet with His friends preferr'd.
('Tis not the costly Taste of far-fetch'd Fare,
Nor all the Kitchen's aromatick Art,
That can embrave the Rellish of the Cheer
To entertain the Palate of the Heart.
Friends friends alone make Feasts indeed; whose meats
Though coarse, their sauce flows with the soul of sweets.)
Then kindly angry He to Chiding fell
That all this while their Doubt would not repent,
Though of His Resurrection's Miracle
He by eye-witness frequent Proof had sent.
He Chode; but with such rare and dainty art,
That every Wound He made, was with Love's Dart.
This done; His Peace to them again He gave;
That Peace He purchas'd when
He trampled down Hell into Hell, and Death into the Grave:
When He seren'd His Father's gloomy Frown;
When Heav'n and Earth's wide Disagreement He
Clos'd up, and chang'd to blessed Amity.
Then breathing on Them with that noble Breath
Which kindled Life's first Spark in Humane Heart;
The dearest Gift, said He, which ever hath
To Man been deign'd, I here to you impart:
'Tis Heav'n's all-holy Spirit, which shall now
With mighty fervor in your bosoms glow.
Henceforth, whose Sins soever You Remit,
By this great Patent I My self Forgive;
And whom you Bind to Death's infernal Pit,
They from your Doom shall purchase no Reprieve.
As Me My Father sent, so send I you
To be My potent Deputies below.
This said; into Invisibility
He shut His Bodie's looks, and so withdrew.
Yet They on Love's wings Him persu'd, and by
Faith's Perspective still kept their Joy in view;
Ten thousand blessings powring on His Name
Who drown'd their Sorrow's flood in Comfort's stream.
But Thomas, who mean time was step'd aside,
Returning now; they met him at the door
Shouting into his ears the News's tide;
Their Lord's great Promises they o'r and o'r
With every Circumstance at large repeat,
And how He shew'd His Wounds, and how He Eat.
Thomas amaz'd at their Relation, stood
Staring a while, and musing what to say
In opposition of that swelling flood
Of most unanimous Confidence, which they
Stream'd forth upon his Incredulity;
At last he stamp'd, and cry'd, It cannot be.
Indeed the foul-mouth'd Souldiers rave, and cry
That We have stoll'n our Master from His Grave;
Perhaps, to shelter their own Theft, and by
Calumniating Us, Themselves to save.
But can bold Death repent, and free Him whom
She held close Pris'ner in a rocky Tomb?
I grant your Fancy may do much, and you
Perchance imagin all is true you say;
But Sirs, is't reason my Belief should bow
To your Imaginations? you may
By Probabilities persuade me far;
But I no glimpse of them discover here.
I am not so much wiser now at Night
Than I was in the Morn, as to admit
What then to your own Prudence seem'd so slight
That you no less than I rejected it:
Why must it real prove in you, which all
Of Us in Magdelen judg'd Fantastical!
When with these Eyes those Wounds I have descry'd,
And div'd my Finger where the Nails went through:
When I have thrust my Hand into His Side,
And felt that in it no Impostures grow;
I of your mind may be: at present give
Me leave not at a venture to Believe.
At least let's sleep on't first; a good night's Rest
May wake and cheer up our Consideration:
We better may the Day, than Darkness trust
With so abstruse a Mystery's Probation,
Or if you be in haste, yet grant that They
Who would be sure, may soberly delay.
(Thus Heav'n in Love and Wisdom thought it fit
To let thick Clouds of Doubt objected be
Before the Resurrection's Truth, that it
Might fairer break from that Obscurity;
And pierce all Hearts of cold and faithless Stone
As it the Marble of the Tomb had done.)
Eight days in this imprudent Prudence he
Lay petrify'd: when lo, again their Lord
Through all their lock'd and bolted Privacy
To them His Presence pleased to afford:
Whose sprightful Coming, though it made them start,
Perplex'd not as at first their roused heart.
But Thomas, unto whom the Sight was new,
Afflicted stood with quaking Joy and Fear:
His Master's matchless Looks he plainly knew,
And yet his fancies odd and anxious were:
He blush'd, and then grew pale, and blush'd again,
And gave cross Passions at once the rein.
When Jesus saw him on this dainty rack
Tort'ring his shamed Soul; Draw near, He said,
And thine own Satisfaction freely take;
Lo here My Wounds before thine Eyes display[d]:
Repierce thou them; 'twill not be so much grief,
As to be wounded by thy Unbelief.
This Condescent so conquer'd Thomas's heart,
That full Assurance threw him on his knees,
And thus he cry'd: My God and Lord Thou art:
Not only by those wide-mouth'd Witnesses
Thy Servant is convinc'd, but also by
The Heav'nly Sweetness of Thy Lenity.
I find that Thou eight days ago wert here
When foolish I so faithlesly was wise!
Thou heard'st my obstinate Distrust outdare
The pregnant Witness of my fellows' eyes.
Thou heard'st what bold Conditions I set
Before my faith their Story should admit.
O I believe dear Lord, and ready am
Thy Wounds to answer, and the like to bear
In spreading forth the glories of Thy Name
About the furthest Worlds as well as here:
Pardon my tardy faith: it doth suffice
That I have felt those Tokens with mine eyes.
I see, I see, and my Beatitude
Doth in this noble Vision consist:
See my God; and though my Thoughts were rude
Before, and stubborn, melted now, their best
And humblest Adoration, Jesu, they
At Thy dear feet most penitently lay.
His Lord reply'd: Thou build'st thy faith upon
Thine eyes; (and happy 'tis thou canst do so:)
But in how full a Stream shall Blessings run
Into their pliant docil Bosoms, who
Ne'r saw these deep-writ Characters, and yet
Shall to the Credit of their Truth submit!
This said, He stepp'd into His Secresy,
And vanish'd from their wondering sight; but yet
With frequent love returned to their eye
As His divinely-wisest self thought fit:
Yet with most eminence on Tabor's Hill,
A comely Scene for that high Spectacle.
But not transfigur'd, as before; for now
His proper shape was radiant Majesty:
From dull and mortal Dross refin'd, you know,
Out of His Tomb He sprang; nor needed He
That Heav'n should ope its mouth to trumpet forth
A Testimony of His splendid Worth.
This was that solemn Apparition He
On Easter Morn by Mary promised,
That this appointed Theatre might be
With plenty of Spectators furnished:
And so it was; for His Disciples thither
Five hundred trusty friends had brought together.
When lo their Hopes they met upon the Mount,
And more, much more, than their Ambition's aim:
For Jesus op'd His lips, and let the fount
Of potent Sweetness liberally stream;
Which in the chanel of these Words upon
The Heads and Hearts of His Disciples ran:
The Nerves and Sinews of all Power and Might
Which branch through Heav'n and Earth so far and wide,
Here in this single Hand of Mine unite,
And to My royal Will alone are ty'd;
By virtue of which Sovereignty I
Commit to you complete Authority.
Go take your Charge: whose noble bounds I make
Coequal with the World's: My Gospel preach
To every Soul, whose Bliss to reach them back,
I on the cursed Cross My self did stretch;
That in as large a Circle as the Sun
The more illustrious Beams of Grace may run.
Whoe'r despiseth your great News, and You,
Shall answer with his Life that high Disdain,
And find his flaming Punishment below
In Desperation's everburning Pain:
But He who to your faith his own shall give,
As long's that other Dying is, shall Live.
Live, and in Life's own dearest bosom, where
All Joys and Blisses have their habitation;
Where no intrusion of Storms can tear
The gentle Calm of absolute Salvation:
Where his fruition shall as far transcend
As here his faith, all he can comprehend.
Nor shall his Glory only feature be;
Miraculous Power shall here on him attend;
Upon the stoutest boldest Devils he
Shall invocate My Name, and make them bend:
From humane breasts his Word shall them expel,
And force them howling home unto their Hell.
Babel's Confusion shall not him confound,
But every Tongue on his distinctly dwell
That he My Gospel freely may resound,
And every Ear with plain Salvation fill;
I who created it, as eas'ly can
With Words as Meat, supply the Mouth of Man.
In vain shall Scorpions bite him, and in vain
Shall Adders sting him; he as certainly
Over all Serpents here on earth shall gain
As over Hell's foul Dragon, victory:
By those mysterious Stings which I endured,
He from their dangerous dint shall be secured.
In vain shall Poison steal into his cup
An ambush for his life to lay; for he
Cannot, though Basilisks' galls he drinketh up,
Or Sodom's Lake, a prey to Venome be:
That Cup which on My Cross I drank shall make
Wholsome to him what ever Draughts he take.
More Virtue than in Plants could ever grow,
Shall flourish in his Hand; the World shall see
Those whom on desperate Beds Diseases throw,
Thence into Health rebound, if once they be
But touch'd by him whose faith on Me relies:
The grand Physician of all Maladies.
But his initiation must be
By being washed in the potent Name
Of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that He
His orthodox Devotion right may aim;
Remembring he by Baptism unto none
Was consecrated, but the triple One.
So spake their mighty Lord and then withdrew
Himself to let them feed and feast upon
These Heav'nly Privileges He granted now
To Earth, by faithful Meditation.
Right dear He knew His Presence was, and yet
He by Retiring more endeared it.
The tender Lover thus with dainty art
From his more precious Self sometimes retires;
Alas not that he willing is to Part,
But that more near Conjunction he desires
For love in Absence oft most Present is,
And her soft Knot by Distance closer ties.
But now the signal Time was come, when He
Who cheer'd the Earth for forty days with His
Bright Apparitions, meant that Heav'n should be
Embellish'd with His glorious Access:
That as Himself He nobly raised hither,
So He might reach His Resurrection thither.
His precious Consorts now again He met;
And then, as loth ev'n unto Heav'n to go
From their Society, to Olivet
He walk'd them on with kind Discourse: When lo,
Upon the mountain's top arrived, He
Began in Tone and Aspect chang'd to be
Stir not, said He, from Salem, but attend
The Father's Promise pawn'd to you by Me:
That Baptism, whose strange Virtues far transcend
John's poor and frigid Institution; He
Baptiz'd with Water, but your Baptism shall
In Heav'n's sweet Spirit of fire immerge you all.
Erected at this solemn Item, They
Fancy'd no less than Crowns and Scepters: yet
Their erring Thoughts below the Promise lay,
Hankring in Earth's dull sphere, and reaching at
No more than what too worthless was for Him
Their great Ascendent Lord to leave to them.
We know, said they, that Israel's sacred Crown
Is due to Thy sole Head, most fit for it:
Is this the Time dear Lord when Thou wilt own
And make Thy Title good? Shall we now sit
On our inferior Thrones before Thy feet,
And to the Tribes of Israel judgment meet?
(Long Journeys thus when prudent Parents take,
Though they their shiftless Babes their Blessing leave,
And for their maint'nance fair provision make
The fond dull-hearted Children further crave
Some silly trifling Boon, or baby Toy,
Follie's delight, and Wantonesses' joy.)
Jesus, who at His parting could not chide,
Passing their gross and secular fancies by,
With true parental Gentleness reply'd:
Those Times and Seasons which inshrined lie
In God's own cabinet, too mystick be
For you to dive into their Privacy.
Yet Courage, O my friends! for clearly you
Ten thousand other Mysteries shall see,
By that bright Spirit's light which down shall flow
On all your heads: Your Glory then shall be
To go as Heralds, and My royal Name
Through every Quarter of My World proclaim.
This said; to Heav'n three times His eyes He cast
Which thence as oft recoiled back upon
His deep-amused Darlings: yet at last
Remembring He could both be here and gone,
His mighty voyage He resolv'd to make,
And His Disciples leave, but not forsake.
Hast thou not seen the glittering Spark
Ascend With natural Lightness to its proper sphere?
So glorious He, now having put an end
To all His sweet and blessed Business here;
Upon the Wings of His own Purity
Began to mount up to His native sky.
They started at the sight, and both with eyes
And hands flung up in sudden fearful Joy,
Labour'd to trace His wonderous Path, and rise
After their towring Lord, who flew away
With all their hearts: When lo they spy'd a Cloud
'Gin 'twixt their Ecstasy and Him to croud.
It crouded on apace, for fear to miss
That honor which its gloomy cheeks would gild
With more refin'd celestial Statelyness
That on Serenity's brisk forehead smil'd.
So fast it crouded, that the tired Wind
Which would have born it, puffing came behind.
All other Clouds which her Prerogative saw
Grew black with Grief, and melted into tears.
Forthwith the Welkin clear'd her dainty brow,
Whilst pleasant Day with open eyes prepares
Her Admiration to gaze upon
The motion of a fairer sweeter Sun.
But then this Meteor her soft shoulders bent,
And meekly stooped to her Maker's feet;
Her pliant Volumes gathered close, and went
Into the fashion of a Princely Seat;
That in a seemly Chariot Jesus might
Take to His Throne His most triumphant Flight.
The Golden Coach inchas'd with eastern Gems
And burnished with living Fire, wherein
Great Phebus in his brightest glory swims
Through Heav'n's high chapel, never yet could shine
With such clear credit, as this Chariot which
God's own enshrined Beauties here inrich.
All other Clouds at every busy Wind's
Shrill whistle, in this nether troubled sky
Are fain wildly to rove: this only finds
An undisturbed passage fair and high,
And strait to heav'n's illustrious Ceeling hastes
Without the helping wheels of any Blasts.
For since at first she by the courtesy
Of heav'n's less potent Sun impowred was
To rise from earth with towring levity;
No wonder She can now more briskly pass
Through all the Air's sublimest stories, when
She on her shoulders bears the Sun's own Sun.
Earth was indebted to those Clouds, till now
Which op'd Heav'n's Pantry, and rain'd Manna down;
But This full Pay doth to the Spheres allow,
Which to the Angels beareth home their own
Diviner Bread, and by restoring more
Than Earth received, nobly quits the score.
That Israel-conducting Cloud which through
The tedious Desert's windings mannaged
So patient a Pilgrimage, must bow
Its famous head to This: that only led
The way to earthly Canaan, but this
The gallant Convoy to the heav'nly is.
As Jesus thus soard through the Air, He saw
The Treasuries of every kind of Weather,
Of fair, of foul, of Rain, of Hail, of Snow;
Which did their homage to their Prince as thither
His coach arriv'd: He bad them gently fall
Upon His Earth, and kindly blest them all.
So did He too, that sweetly-loyal Quire
Of Larks, which with applauding Songs and Wings
In delicate attendance did aspire
After His mounting Train: Go gentle Things
Said He, go rest your weary pinions; I
My other Choristers approaching spy.
Lo, at the word, the winged Legions, who
Flutter about the everlasting Sphere,
And on the great Creator's errands go
Throughout His World, appeared hovering there:
Great was their number, and their glory great
If they with Jesus's lustre had not met.
Before His Feet their Heads made haste to bow,
Press'd down with sweet extremities of joy;
That they without a Vail's assistance now
His eyes' full Bliss might read, which till to day
Lay hid to them in too much light; but here
Dressed in humane mitigation were.
For though some of their Quire had long before
Enjoy'd the happy privilege to see
His theanthropick Face; though All did poure
Their high Applause on His Nativity;
This was the hour which Heav'n's whole Host at once
Freely to view their General did advance.
A dainty and long-study'd Song they had
Prepar'd and tuned to a gentle Key:
But this excessive Sight of Sweetness made
Their Acclamations correspondent be:
Their Wings and Hands aloud they clap'd, and rent
With louder Paeans all the Element.
But marking then His bright Retinue, which
About Him shin'd like His reflected Raies;
They hug'd their new Acquaintance, since in each
Ingenuous face they read their Sovereign's Praise;
For Gratitude had deep imprinted there
Their glorious Redemption's Character.
These were those holy Souls who long had lain
At anchor in great Abraham's Bay, and there
Looked and longed when their Lord would deign
Them to their final Port of rest to steer;
To chase their Mists and Shades with His own Ray,
And turn their doubtful Dawn to Highnoon Day.
Abraham himself march'd in the head of them,
And glittered with a choise and leading Grace;
Prophets were rank'd, and Patriarchs next to Him
Each in their proper dignity and place:
Then every Saint in order follow'd, who
Ventur'd in His hard Steps on earth to go.
Their Charges many Guardian Angels saw,
And highly triumph'd to behold them there:
So when the Bark which long hath labour'd through
The Sea's proud Anger, to the Hav'n draws near,
The Pilot's eyes and heart with joy are fill'd
No less than with the Winds his Sails are swell'd.
But all the Host beheld a fair Recruit
Of their own Regiments, which robbed were
When sullen Pride, presuming to dispute
With God, in heav'n's campania waged War,
And many Empyraean Tapers fell
From Blisse's Day into the Night of Hell.
Yet greater Torrents of Delight were they
Which through the aestuating bosoms ran
Of all those Saints, to see themselves to day
To Glory's Sovereign so near of kin.
They envy not the Angels' radiant Dresses,
Nor wish their silver Wings, or golden Tresses.
O no! they thank their mean Original,
And pour applause on their poor Dust and Clay:
Their Shame's their Honor; nor would they for all
The World not have been Worms, since mortal they
Have by their Vileness gain'd the best of Worth,
Affinity with Heav'n ev'n by their Earth.
And that their Triumph might be sweetned by
Harmonious Joy, amidst the Masculine Troop
Great David let his learned fingers fly
About his Harp, and beat those Accents up
Which Miriam's Timbril echoed from among
Her softer Company, the Female Throng.
But now the Brightness too excessive grew
For that faint Cloud its mighty flames to bear:
And nothing that did like a Shadow shew
In open Glory's Substance might appear:
As all the Types before were cleared, so
The Cloud must be content to vanish too.
Here Jesus her dismiss'd. When lo a Croud
Of Seraphs in ambition of her place
With humble pride su'd to His foot, and bow'd
Their youthful shoulders, that their Lord might pass
To heav'n upon the lest of heav'n, and be
Drawn to His Throne in comely Majesty.
Then Michael flourishing the Standard, which
With conquer'd Death's and Hell's heart blood was red,
And charged with the Cross, began to stretch
It toward heav'n, and forward fluttered.
In this Array the Triumph marched on,
Abashing Day, and dazelling the Sun.
Thus He who lately that Procession went
Where cruel Spight and Scorn did Him attend,
When He through Salem's streets was kick'd and rent
And through a thousand Deaths hal'd to His End;
Is now requited by a March, whose Glory
Gilds those Disgraces of His Passion's Story.
As to the Confines of the spheres they drew,
His Harp and Voice their Chanter strein'd as high
That ancient Song of Honor to renew,
Which he had in prophetick Ecstasy
Turn'd to a special and illustrious Lay,
And sung aforehand to this noble Day.
Eternal Gates of heav'n, said he, lift up
Your cheerly heads, and know your Holyday;
As mine is now, so let your mouths be ope
To entertain our universal Joy:
'Tis Glory's, Glory's native King, who home
To bring That and the sweeter Heav'n is come.
'Tis War's approved Prince, whose matchless strength
Hath bode down our and your fell enemies:
Read but His Banner, where are writ at length
The ruby Tokens of His Victories.
Ope, ope, as wide's your heav'n can give you leave,
And Him much greater than all it, receive.
The crystal Doors no sooner heard the Song,
But in obedient gladness echoed it;
Their everlasting Bars aside they flung,
And their resplendent Portals open set:
Strait through the mighty Gap a Flood of Gold
Soft as the locks of Phebus downward roll'd.
With that the Musick of the Spheres burst out,
Pouring a Deluge of soul-ravishing Layes:
With which a while though David's fingers fought,
His mortal strings so high he could not raise;
My Harp must yield, he cry'd, but yet my Heart
Shall in your loftiest Accents bear her part.
Indeed those Airs are so refin'd, that none
But purest Hearts' spiritual Strings can be
Stretch'd to their chords' full compass: this alone
That Consort is, to which the Melody
You with the Name of Musick honor here,
Is only leaned Gratings of the ear.
Thus to the silver Orbs they came: when lo
The Stars all trip'd about, and danc'd for joy;
And as his Sphere the Triumph enter'd, to
His Lord right meekly Sol resign'd the Day;
His brighter Lord, from whose original Beam
He takes his Light as all the Stars from Him.
But yet these gorgeous Stages only were
The fairly paved Way and Stairs, which led
Up to that fairer larger Palace, where
Dwells Light and Life, and Bliss, and Heav'n indeed:
And therefore Jesus through all these made haste
And only blest and gilt them as He past.
When to the Crest of His Creation He
Was now arriv'd, and saw the World below;
The mighty Gate of pure Felicity
It self before its Sovereign open threw:
Of living Glories strait appear'd a Sea
Girt in no shoars but clear Immensity.
What pompous Powers of Ravishment were here,
What delicate Extremities of Pleasure!
Th' unworthy Parallel injurious were
By earthly Paradise if we should measure
These everlasting Sweets, of whose Abyss
All Eden's Dainties not the Shadow is.
For never did the sharpest pointed Eye
Which sparkled in the head or heart of Man
Such Miracles of Suavity descry,
As all about these splendid Regions ran;
Chanting those Tunes of Bliss no mortal ear
Hath any capability to hear.
And all these Gallantries enhanced now
Their Excellence in most excessive Joy;
That this great Hour was come which would allow
Them freedom their ambitious selves to lay
In His triumphant Path, and nobler be
By waiting on His sweeter Majesty.
But through these vast Expansions as He went,
Lo His Almighty Father came to meet Him:
O Psyche hadst thou seen that Complement
Of boundless Love with which He there did greet Him;
The Spectacle for ever thee had blest,
And more than heav'n diffused in thy breast.
Unfathomable Streams of Jubilation
Attended on Him, bearing up His Train;
A Flood of most excessive Gratulation
Before Him roll'd; but O how sovereign
Was that impatient Infinity
Of Complacence which issued from His Eye!
On's Son's bright neck his radiant Arms He threw,
And seal'd His lips with an enamor'd Kiss:
His yearning bosom then wide open flew
(That Home and Center of eternal Bliss;)
To bid Him welcome to that daintiest bed
In which He us'd of old to rest His head.
Come, come, said He, no more to part from hence;
My highest Will Thou hast completely done,
And by Perfection of Obedience
Approv'd Thy worthy Self My only Son.
Eternity shall entertain Thee, and
For Thy dear sake Those who about Thee stand.
Henceforth I can behold My World below
With comfort, which before displeas'd Mine eye;
For all its blots and stains, and horrors Thou
Hast nobly turned into Purity:
It shineth now, wash'd by the liberal Flood
Of Thine illustrious all-cleansing Blood.
I see Thy Wounds; and I observ'd the Shame
With which they were engrav'd on Thee; but now
With never-dying Lustre they shall flame,
And on their Gravers one day Terror throw;
When guilty they again shall view these Scars
Thou purchasedst in Love's and Mercy's Wars.
The Father so: But then the Holy Ghost
Who hand in hand along with Him was come,
Renewed His applauding Joy; whilst most
Mysterious Emanations issuing, from
His breast, Love's Living Spring, flow'd full upon
The welcome face of Heav'n's returned Son.
The surplusage of which Effusion, spread
Its aromatick preciousness about,
And with its bounteous Tide replenished
Th' enobled Hearts of Them whom Jesus brought
In triumph thither, evermore to be
The glorious Captives to Felicity.
This Salutation done: Heav'n's Trumpets sounded:
Whose gallant Noise, with equal Majesty
That Hill of all Sublimity rebounded,
To which this more than royal Company
Hastned their pompous March, and strait get up
To clear Beatitude's and Honor's Top.
Three radiant Chairs of awful beauty there
Stand founded on secure Eternity;
Which with such mystick art united are
That 'tis intirely One, as well as Three;
Three equal and distinguish'd Seats, yet one
Essential and everlasting Throne.
Down in the midst the Father sate, and on
His left hand His all-quickning Spirit; but
He at His right enthron'd His mighty Son;
On whose fair Temples He rejoycing put
A Wreath of Glories, to requite those Scorns
And Pains they ware with their late Crown of Thorns.
The ignominy of His feeble Reed
With solid Dignity to recompence,
Into His right Hand He delivered
A Scepter temper'd of Omnipotence;
And then erected high before His face
His fairer Cross upon a diamond Base.
As thus He mounted sate on Triumph's Crown,
The Peers of that illustrious Kingdom came
And at His feet their Coronets threw down
In loyal homage, and themselves with them;
Begging His leave that their unworthy Tongues
Might with His royal Name enrich their Songs.
The gracious King (who knew no Praise could add
To His enthroned Self; but that the Bliss
Would be their own alone, who to their God
Offer'd encomiastick Sacrifice;)
To ease and crown their gravid Piety
Grants their Request by His assenting Eye.
Forthwith an Anthem of ecstatick Praise
Broke from their lips and Heav'n's roof nobly beat:
This brave Example spur'd the Saints to raise
Their highest Tunes, and mingle in that sweet
Deluge of Triumphs their Applauses, which
Must flow as far's Eternity can reach.
But His Disciples, Psyche, all this while
Follow'd Him with their eyes: for loth they were
To let the interposing Cloud beguile
Their Looks' sharp Hunger; nor could they forbear
Their Gazing still, in hopes their Sun might break
This Veil at length, and they free prospect take.
When lo, two Angels all array'd in Snow
A courteous check thus to their Error gave:
Your Eyes in vain why do you upward throw?
What mean your ignorant staring Hopes, to crave
A sight of Him who's towred higher far
Above the Cloud than you beneath it are?
He on His Heav'nly throne is pitch'd, and you
Must wait, till thence He thinks it fit to rise:
'Twill not be long e'er He vouchsafe to show
To yours and all the World's His royal Eyes;
And, as His journey hence He pleas'd to take,
So on the shoulders of a Cloud ride back.
Which said: the Angels posted home to share
In their new festival above: and they
Convinced by that Item, yielding were
Back to Jerusalem to take their way;
But as their eyes returned to the ground
The final footsteps of their Lord they found.
And so may thy Affection too, for lo
The precious Characters still here remain;
The trusty Earth would never let them go,
Nor durst desire to smooth her face again,
Which by these Prints was so embellish'd that
Her self to be the World's Base she forgot.
These dear Impressions his Disciples kisst,
And taking so their leave, to Salem went;
Full little thinking that the simple Dust
In keeping them would prove so diligent,
That neither Winds nor Storms should them deface,
Nor pious Pilgrims bear them from the place.
A thousand greedy Hands their zeal have fill'd
With this most privileg'd Earth, and held it more
Golden than all the glistering Sand which swell'd
The fame of Ganges or of Indus's shoar;
Yet still the faithful Dust with nimble care
Supply'd and kept intire each Character.
Nay when that Time shall come, as come it will
When Christian Piety shall courage take
To rear a Temple on this sacred Hill;
Proof of their holyer Worth these Steps shall make.
Refusing to forget the Honor they
Were sealed with upon Ascension Day.
Back will they kick into the Workman's face
All his entrenching Stones, as oft as he
With pavement's smoothness strives to trim the place,
And injure with his earthy decency
Their Heav'nly beauty; yea though he with more
Than Gold, or Pearls, or Gems should court the floor.
Nor shall he with his strongest Roof forbid
Their prospect towards His celestial Seat
Who stamp'd them here: their Eyes will know no Lid,
But make the beams recoil, the spars retreat,
And never suffer bold Concameration
To dam the way of Jesus's Exaltation.
Thus Psyche, have I made thee trace thy Lord
To His last footsteps through a thousand ways
With Mercy strew'd, and justify'd my word.
Thou seest what Countermures He deign'd to raise
Against Sin's Batteries nor need'st thou fear
Hells Spight, now Heav'n thus arms thee for the War.
For surely it transcends all fancie's reach
To think ev'n what Desire could further do;
And these are those divine Exploits by which
His causeless foes thy Spouse contriv'd to woo:
Who signally deserves all Love, since He
Has prov'd His great Self nothing else to be.
Nor durst I doubt, but thine own heart will say
Thy Pilgrimage, though long, is well requited;
Since thou in it hast read a full Display
Of that with which all Angels are delighted.
Whose Souls then with sublimest triumph leap
When on these Mysteries of Love they peep.
Here Phylax on his Steeds their harness threw
Who all this while were grazing on the Hill:
The meaning of that Warning Psyche knew,
And pray'd him on her knee, to tarry till
Like other Pilgrims She had taken leave
The reins to her Devotion to give.
He smil'd and stay'd: when falling prostrate She
Innumerable Kisses heap'd upon
The venerable Steps; and amorously
Mingled with every Kiss a Tear and Grone.
At length her Bosom with the Dust she fill'd,
And cry'd Go thou and my foul body gild.
Then casting up to Heav'n her zealous eye,
After her Spouse a thousand thoughts she sent;
To whom her panting Soul strove hard to fly
Upon the wings of lofty Ravishment.
But when she felt her self stick still to Earth,
Her breast she struck, and beat this Out-cry forth.
Why may my heart not be, where most it is
O Thou my dearest Life! O Jesus, why
Since Thou art mounted to the Top of Bliss,
And leav'st Me dead, have I not leave to Die?
A Ghost so straitned was there ever found
As I, who am in my oven body bound.
I by Thy Cross and Death was wholly slain,
And by Thy Resurrection's Life I grew
No less intirely vigorous again:
But Thy Ascension doth my Death renew,
Since nothing of my Life poor I can find
But these bare footsteps deft Me here behind.
By these Thy Psyche cannot cannot live,
Though for Thy precious sake they'r such to me:
O no! their Worth doth but more reason give
To long for most inestimable Thee.
If any footstep me can satisfy
It must be that which next Thy foot doth lie.
Hast not profess'd, that Earth Thy footstool is
As well as Heav'n Thy Throne? O mighty Lord
'Twill be Thy Handmaid's most accomplish'd Bliss
If thou to Me mak'st good Thy gracious Word:
Lo I, Thy Dust, the footstool crave to be
Of Thy now Heav'n-enthroned Majesty.
High my Petition is, and bold, I know;
And yet the worthless Dew must needs aspire
To Heav'n it self, when once it 'gins to glow
With Phebus's sprightful and attracting Fire;
Can Sparks in their dull Ashes sleeping lie,
And not take leave to venture at the sky?
Alas, what is this weary World to me?
What are the silver Spheres and golden Sun?
Though Queen I reign'd of Earth's vast Monarchy,
At my sole Nod though all Heav'n's wheels would run;
What were this Empire worth to Psyche's heart
Since Thou her only Treasure absent art?
'Tis not Thy upper Paradise, that I
Ambitious am to see, 'tis not Thy Court
Of Angels, though by Phylax's Company,
I guess their Worth; 'tis not the Pomp and Port
That magnifies Thy Throne; nor do I long
To dance to Thy sweet Quire's eternal Song.
To that soft Calm of never troubled Rest
Which smiles in none but th' empyraean Bay,
My wishes are not bound: To be possest
Of Glory's Realm, and sleep in teds of Joy;
Are lofty things; but yet, alas, too low
For me and my Desires to aim at now.
My bosom pants for Thee, and only Thee:
And couldst Thou be in Hell, I never more
Would loose a looking up to Heav'n, but be
Inamored of that Abyss, and poure
My longing Aspirations downward, till
I at Thy feet my Vows and Soul could spill.
Why art Thou gone, and yet so strongly here!
Why art Thou here, yet to such distance gone!
Why dost Thou draw Thy ravish'd Worm so near,
Yet banish her by Thy Ascension!
Why must my Soul be kindled to a pitch
Which she cannot permitted be to reach!
O why art Thou so infinitely sweet?
Or rather, why must We that sweetness know
If Thou dear Jesu, wilt not think it meet
To these our Fires their Fuel to allow?
Away Thou flyest, and forsaken We
Tormented lie ev'n by Thy Suavity.
How shall I help this my excessive Passion,
Or how can it this torture merit? since
Thine own strange Love profest Immoderation,
And guilty was of boundless influence:
In which soft Sea of Fire whilst drown'd I am,
What can I do but burn with answering flame?
Ah blame me not, great Lord; it is not I,
But Thou Thy Self rebounding from my Heart,
Who beat'st heav'n with this Importunity,
And call'st for Ease for my mysterious Smart:
Hadst Thou by Love not stamp'd Thy Self upon
My Soul, Thy Worm had now let Thee alone.
Remember what deep Anguish 'tis to be
Forsaken; O remember Thine own Cry,
Which in Thy Desolation on the Tree
Challeng'd Thy Sire's Retirement: May not I
Resume Thy Plea? My God, My God, why now
Hast Thou abandon'd Psyche left below?
Upon this Olivet my Calvary
I find, and to my Cross am nailed here:
Ten thousand pangs are revelling in me;
And full as many Thorns as planted were
Upon Thy Temples, in my Bosom stick,
There all the bowels of my Soul they prick.
O Love! why must thine only Tyranny
The bounds of other Cruelties exceed?
Why will it not allow the Courtesy
Of Death to thy poor Vassals who are dead
By its reviving Slaughters, and desire
Free Holocausts to be in thy sweet Fire?
Her Passion here above Expression towr'd,
And left her flagging Tongue in Silence seal'd:
Yet with resolved Eyes to Heav'n she soar'd,
And by a long Oration there appeal'd;
Both long, and fluent, in th' exuberance
Of Tears, the streams of strongest Eloquence.
But Phylax having to her boiling Heart
Thus far indulg'd, thought fit to cool it here:
Psyche, said he, imagin not thou art
Inamor'd deeper than His Scholars were
Of their Ascended Lord: yet desolate they
Warn'd by the Angels, meekly went away.
Do Thou like Warning now receive from Me:
On heav'n why nailest Thou thine eyes in vain?
Thy Savior's flown too high for them to see,
Till on a Cloud He posteth back again;
Then shalt thou look thy fill of Bliss, and be
To all thy Love's Extremities let free.
Mean while thine Adornations and Embraces
Thou on His Name and Memory may'st pour,
Why should these bitterly-delightful Places
Of Mercie's Triumphs longer rub the Soar
Of thy soft heart? Here on Her hand he laid
His own, and raised up the heavy Maid.
Then in his Chariot gently her he set,
Who on the Footsteps kept her hankering eye.
But instantly he mov'd his Reins, to let
His sprightful Coursers know their liberty:
Forthwith their Mains' luxuriant Volumes they
Shook in proud haste, and galloped away.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 2:54-77]