After her encounter with Heresy, Psyche is removed to a house of instruction. Passing through the Palace of Penance, she is led to the Court of Ecclesia — compare the House of Holiness in Faerie Queene 1.10. Ecclesia is described in phrases taken from the Canticles and her attendant virtues are allegorized; Psyche embraces Truth, and with Phylax she returns to Albion.
Herbert E. Cory: "Beaumont now contributes to the allegorical purgation scenes which Spenser made popular in this age by his description of the penance of the Red Cross Knight in the House of Holinesse. Phylax carries Psyche a fabulous height in his chariot. She is brought to a majestic palace. To enter its first gate she is compelled to bend and shrink. This portal, of transparent crystal, is kept by Sorrow mourning with dishevelled hair and scourging herself continually. After beholding many wonders Psyche is brought before the Queen of the Castle, Ecclesia, the Church and the supreme bride of Christ. In her right hand the stately queen holds the golden key of the Port of Bliss and in her left the iron key which opens the way down to torment. Her maids of honor swarm about her: the sober matron Sanctity, portly Magnanimity with open swelling breasts, and other Spenserian figures. By Truth's embraces Psyche is made whole.... Compare Una (Truth), who is reinstated once more as the accepted lover of the Red Cross Knight after his penance, and Browne's Aletheia (in Britannia's Pastorals), who embraces Riot after his conversion following a similar repentance" "Spenser, the Fletchers, and Milton" UCPMP 2 (1912) 339 &n.
Psyche, to purge that spreading Taint which had
So sliely stoll'n into her cheated breast,
By Phylax to Ecclesia's court is led;
Where she by Truth's divine embraces blest,
Quickly perceiv'd her Cure, and how the heat
Of Catholick Health in her sound pulse did beat.
Vain miserable Man, why dost thou tread
So proudly on the Worm which crawls below;
Forgetting that thine own erected head
To far more solid Wretchedness doth bow
Than ever made the vilest Reptile be
The footstool of Contempt to sirly Thee.
Are not the Bowels of Disgrace the Spring
Whence thou dost flow? Is not Corruption
That despicable Mother which did bring
Forth Thee her genuine corruptible Son?
Though Flesh and Blood dissemble long, they must
Confess at last their putrid mouldring Dust.
For in the Center of thy proudest heart
Thy fatal Shame thou dost inshrined bear;
The Seeds of Rottenness, which pose all Art
Of Extirpation, lie breeding there;
Which are no sooner to matureness grown,
But, with thy self, they must be mowed down.
Sage Nature at the moment of thy birth
Made thee Lament, when yet thou knew'st not Why;
Being with Pollution tumbled headlong forth
Into the stage of Life's sure Tragedy;
Inevitably there first Vex'd to be,
And after murder d, by Mortality
The meanest Creature that e'r drunk in Light
Was richer born, and stronger far than Thou:
Completely shiftless was thy native plight,
And no self-succour would to thee allow:
Naked thou wert of every Help beside
As well's of Clothes, thy woful shame to hide.
With Cares, and Fears, in thy young Education
Thy troubled Parent travalled again;
Her bowels yearn'd with no less perturbation
Than when they stretch'd with puerperial pain;
It being but Extension of thy Birth
To bring thee up, as she had brought thee forth.
How worrisomly cross and peevish were
Thy feeble years, when thou could'st only fight
With thy rebellious Will, and vex the Care
Of thy dear Nurse by sullen froward spight!
All other Twigs will freely bend; but thou
Alone, though young, had'st rather Break than Bow.
To school, the Rod both drives, and keeps thee there:
Who wholsome Institution dost embrace
Not out of Love, but most ignoble fear:
Like stubborn Colts, who tutor'd are to pace
When dreadful Awe compels them to submit
Not to the Rider, but his Whip and Bit.
But as the Tinder never fails to catch
The smallest spark, though burnt it needs must be
By what it hugs: so doth thy Madness snatch
At every glistering Sin and Vanity,
And grasp it close, although the treacherous Guest
Hell-fire most surely kindles in thy breast.
When riper years to manly Acts invite
Thy well-grown soul, what trade thy strength imploys
But that of amorous languishing Delight,
Of bitter Sweets, of delicate Annoys,
Of fawning Rhymes, of witty Fopperies,
Of dainty Perjuries, of smiling Lies?
In Ceremonies idely-busy school
Thou disciplinest every limb and joint,
Until thou grow'st a most accomplish'd Fool
In histrionick Vanities: each Point
Of finess thou disput'st, and wilt not Look,
Or move thy learned Body, but by book.
Combs, Brushes, Scissers, Crisping-irons, are
The choicest Tools of thy fantastick Trade;
By which more Art appeareth in thy Hair
Than in thy Head: which yet more curious made
By Powder's help, doth more thy Folly cheat,
For 'tis that Powder not thy Dust is sweet.
To Sheers and Needle thou thy self inslavest
And at the mercy liv'st of each new Cut
And upstart Garb: yet when thou in thy bravest
And most belaced Servitude dost strut,
Some newer Fashion still usurps, and thou
Unto its foolish yoke durst not but bow.
Thus through a thousand shapes thou art content
To croud thy self, Her favour to obtain
Who is as Various as the Complement
Of thine uncertain Fashions: in vain
Thou huntest thus to gain thy slippery Prize:
Her Mind as changing as thy Body is.
Yet thou inshrin'st in thy devoted breast
Her idoliz'd Idea: night and day
Thou prov'st thy thoughtful self her zealous Priest,
And Contemplation's Sacrifice dost pay:
For every Lineament, and every Part
Of her, thou mak'st divine in thy fond heart.
A Curle of silly feeble Hair, which is
The Sport and Scorn of every idle Wind,
Like chains of sturdy Adamant can seize
And captivate thy most unmanly Mind:
Which vain Captivity of thine makes Hair
The current granted Name of Locks to wear.
Her Motions and her Gestures travers'd are
By thy attending thoughts, and ravish'd thou
Think'st silver Venus through her limpid sphere
Swims with less gagliardise, and knows not how,
So well to justify her Stile, and prove
Her self the Queen of soft leggiadrous Love.
Whate'r it be that thou dost hear or see,
Thou neither seest nor hearest: she alone
Reigns in thy heart, nor can deposed be
By any other Thought's intrusion.
Thy self is not thy self; nor art thou where
Thou art, unless She She be also there.
In vain thy Friends remember thee that she
Is black without and more deform'd within:
Thou know'st no Friend but Her, and joy'st to see
All others Envy at thy Choise repine.
Infallible thou art, and cause can'st find
To think that all the World but Love is blind.
In vain they ask thee how thy purse will bear
The unknown charge of Wedlock's life: for more
Than both the Indies' Wealth thou reck'nest Her;
Whom could'st thou gain, Thou would'st esteem but poor,
Ev'n Solomon, with his seven hundred Queens
And three fair Centuries of Concubines.
If She commands, O how thy heart doth leap
Into Obedience, though it be to run
Through all the vastest most tempestuous Deep
Unto the Setting or the Rising Sun!
If She forbids; let Earth and Heav'n command,
She is thy Goddess and her Will must stand.
How reverent's thy Devotion, when thou
To sacred Her dost thy Approaches make!
With what Zeal of exactness dost thou bow,
In meek ambition from her foot to take
Thy thirsty Fervor's aim, and thence ascend
To drink the dear draught of her milky Hand!
Then pour'st thou out thy Soul for thine Oblation
On her smooth Lip, thine Altar of delight;
Whence thou receiv'st with joyous adoration
The Blessings of her Kiss. Her calmy sight
Thou think'st thy Heav'n, and in her smiling Eyes
Read'st all the Sweets of thy Fool's Paradise.
But if coy Frowns, or one denying Glance
Becloud that Sphere of thine imagin'd Bliss;
How are thy Comforts cast into a trance
Of gnawing Dread, and anxious Distress!
What jealous fearful Pallor doth surprise
Thy Cheeks, what deadly Ghastlyness thine Eyes!
If she at last replies by sullen scorn,
To thy unwelcome suit; how dost thou hate
Thy sleighted self, and wish thou hadst been born
To any Reprobation, but that!
Happy, in earnest happy might'st thou prove,
Could'st thou so much thy God or Fear or Love.
When thou in matrimonial Bands art ty'd,
(Bands which no Sithe but that of Death can cut, )
Though them as soft thou countest as thy Bride.
From thine own Freedom thou hast freely shut
Thy self, not knowing but that yoke to thee
May prove more heavy than Virginity.
Fool! couldst thou dream thy female Deity
Would let thee know she but an Idol was;
Or had not wit to keep thy charmed eye
From reading any Line of her Disgrace?
Did ever Siren to the Seaman show
That her fair Flesh above, was Fish below?
Did'st thou thy self unmask thy self, and let
Her eyes the face of thy Condition see?
What makes thee then surmise she could forget
To meet thee with thine own Hypocrisy?
Or that her shie demure Sex understood
Not more than thine, what 'tis to wear a hood?
Alas thou saw'st but half of Her, those years
Thou drov'st so hot the Wooer's blinded trade,
And had'st full power to take or leave: but Fears
And Doubts are now too late, since thou hast made
The bargain up; not all the World can ease thee:
Thou must be pleas'd although she doth not please thee.
Yet grant her genuine Worth and virtuous Graces
Answer thy highest Hopes with full success:
Still thy Adventure's management debases
The fondly-founded credit of thy Bliss:
And though thou sit'st in Happiness's lap,
Thou can'st not praise, thy Wisdom, but thy Hap.
If She proves Barren, who is thus thy Spouse,
Such such are all thy Hopes and Joyes: if She
With numerous Issue fills thy widest House,
What warrant hast that these will Blessings he?
They easlyest may be bad; nor canst thou tell
But thou hast helped to impeople Hell.
No Bed so thick with thorns can ever grow
As do's the Nuptial: what large Crops of Cares
It yields in every time and season! how
Fertile and rank 'tis in perpetual Fears!
In Winter and in Summer this doth bear,
And spreads its harvest over all the year.
Besides; unhappy Fortunato, how
Wilt thou indure to loose thy precious Dear!
Hast thou her Life in lease? or canst thou show
A better claim than Death will lay to her?
Thy Spouse, how soon thou know'st not, Death may wed,
And make the doleful Grave her nuptial Bed.
But if thou rests content to be a dry
And fruitless Tree, and wilt thy self restrain
Within the bounds of strict Virginity;
Intestine War will in thy bosom reign,
And Legions of Temptations always be
In arms against thy single Chastity.
Loud will thy fair Estate call for an Heir;
So will thy Name, and natural Philauty;
So will the thought of crazy Age, and Fear
Of wanting an unfained Friend's supply
Towards thy grave when years shall bow thee, and
For thy Wealth's Carkase Vultures gaping stand.
The World will heap on thy Severity
Bold Imputations, and surmise that thou
Deal'st underhand for what should purchas'd be
In open legal manner; or will grow
Into belief, thy Pertinacity
Hath scorn'd all Females, or all Females thee.
Yea they whom Nuptial Cares have vex'd and toss't,
In envy of thy Quiet, will lament
Thy tedious Solitariness, and boast
Their own to be the Life of free Content.
Much like Decoys, rejoycing in the Net,
Only to tempt more Pris'ners into it.
Would'st thou be Rich? then through outrageous Seas,
Within three inches of thy death, must thou
Sail from thy quiet Home, and yield to be
The worried Slave of all the Winds that blow.
Through grievous Mines thou must thy Labour reach,
And delve to hell thy Plutus thence to fetch.
Grant then that He thy largest Coffers fill:
Thy Heart's as poor and empty as before:
The cursed thirst of Gold grows hotter still
Though Plate and Indus thou on it dost poure.
The peevish Itch thus proves more fertile when
Thou rubb'st and strivest with the tainted Skin.
And now, though thou before could'st safely sleep;
In fear of Thieves thou break'st thy nightly rest,
Setting thy thoughtful Heart a watch to keep
About thy Bags. Unhappy Fool! at least
Consider, though thy Gold thou holdst so fast,
Thy self thou canst not, who must die at last.
Die, die thou must, and an account give up
Of all the fruitless Store thou hoardedst here.
Those Bags on which thy Soul had built her hope,
But rich and heavy Torments will appear:
And thou shalt bless their Poverty, who had
No Reckonings to make when they were Dead.
Is Poverty thy Lot? then look to be
The helpless Butt of Wrong and of Disgrace.
Thy Joints must buckle hard to Industry
Continual Sweat must reek upon thy face;
To purchase what must fill and hide thy skin,
Least thou without be naked, and within.
If Vice to thy assistance thou shalt call,
And by thy Sins thy Fortunes hope to mend;
Thou digg'st a Pit wherein thy self must fall,
And to thy hellish Fo dost succour lend.
Thou spend'st thine only stock, and hast'st to be
A woful Bankrupt to eternity.
If thou a rich-descended Heir art born,
'Tis odds but that thy Birth will thee undo.
Such Wealth its Duty thinketh it to scorn
In Industry's laborious Paths to go.
'Tis Worth enough, if your young Gallant can
Look big, Luxuriate, and Write Gentleman.
In Learning's Lists adventur'st thou to trie
Thy strength? this makes all Igrorants thy foes;
And they wel-near are All. Yet could'st thou flie
Their Envie's reach, thy learned Joyes will loose
Their taste (if wisest Solomon may be
Trusted for judge,) in stinging Vanity.
Arts dar'st thou scorn? then dar'st thou be a Beast:
Nay beastlier than they; Beasts scorn them not.
Thy Scorn's Pride's daughter, and do's but resist
The progress of her own aspiring Plot:
For are not Arts the ready wings whereby
Proud Spirits, as well as Generous, soar high?
With martial Bayes dost thou affect to build
Glory's fair structure on thy hardy brow?
Know then that in the laurel-breeding Field
Millions of Dangers and of Vices grow:
And those, alas, may thee of life deprive;
These, which is worse, may make thee die alive.
Or doth the Muse's Wreath thy head invite
Restless innumerable Pains to take
In Numbers' study? O how few aright
Do guide Poetick Feet! how few extend
Their Lines by Virtue's Rule! how few escape
A Fall from Cynthius's Hill to Venus's lap!
But if thou choosest Virtue's lofty way,
Nobly disdaining All that flags beneath;
If thy dull Body's burden cannot sway
Thee downward; if this Life to thee be Death;
If pure and heav'nly be the towring Heat
Which doth in thy heroick bosom beat:
Right generous is thine Enterprise: but yet
Strong Difficulties block it up; thy cross
And headstrong Passions in array will set
Their utmost Powers thy Valour to oppose.
Thine own false Heart, unless thy Care be great,
Will Traytor prove and her own Aim defeat.
Besides; All they whose souls are tainted by
Sin's envyous Contagion, will join
Their Mischief in a full Conspiracy
Thy single Piety to undermine.
For all thy Virtue checks and chides their Vice,
Thy gracious Glories shame their Villanies.
Thou art their Scandal, and their Fame doth call
Upon their deepest waryest Craft for aid
Against that Blot thy Beauty throws on all
Who are of hardy Piety afraid.
To force back these, what Weapons wilt thou find;
How shall thy Vessel conquer Tide and Wind?
Yet through this rampant Sea of Opposition
Could'st thou tear ope thy way; how would'st thou tame
Those higher stouter Billows of Perdition
Whose Wrath in all thy paths doth roar and foam?
Hell and its Prince their toughest Nerves combine
To terrify and to enervate thine.
And sure this Tempest would effect its Spight;
On thy weak Bark, did not kind Heav'n descend
In part aforehand; did not Grace's Light
With cordial Assistance thee befriend;
Did She not steer thy Course, and bid thee ride
Securely o'r the Surge's highest Pride.
Thy Life to Execution only leads.
Condemned thee; unless all-pitying She
By seasonable Mercy intercedes
Between thy Soul and its Catastrophe.
Grace only can poor sentenc'd Man reprieve,
And find a way to teach his Life to live.
'Twas blessed Charis, who so fast did move
Phylax his wings when He to Psyche flew,
And with the wholesom speed of heav'nly love
Her from the Jaws of those Cerinthians drew;
By strewing her the horror of that Pit
Where Heresy and all her Brood were met.
But Phylax thence return'd, without delay
His nimble Chariot takes, and Her with it.
Strait Gitton sunk and vanished away;
For warned by the motion of their Bit
The lusty Coursers took their sprightful Wing,
And justling through the clouds, away did fling.
As Psyche wonder'd whither they would fly,
She found her self rapt to a gentle Sphere:
No saucy Wind durst ever press so high,
Or blow up any Tempest's tumults there.
The only Gales which in this Orb did move
Were pure delicious Breaths of Heav'n and Love.
The only Clouds which greeted there her eye,
Thick Volumes of religious Incense were;
The only Noise which rolled through that Sky
Were holy Echoes welcoming her ear
With soft Rebounds of those rich Anthems which
The throats and hearts of Saints divinely stretch.
She mused much what privileg'd Creatures were
Inhabitants in that calm Sea of Bliss:
When lo, a troop of glistering Towers drew near
To meet her pressing Chariot's earnestness:
And straight a goodly Palace fill'd her eye
With large and high-erected Majesty.
Directly thither, for they knew the Way,
The Coursers speeded, neighing as they flew:
But Phylax pluck'd the Reins, to bid them stay
Their Course, when near the outer Gate they drew.
Then lighting, with his Virgin Pupil; He
Taught her to see indeed what she did see.
Never, Said He, my Dear, those Eyes of thine
Though they have travell'd through the World so far,
Were honored with Objects so divine
As these with which they now saluted are.
No Pile e'r swell'd to such bright Statelyness,
Nor sham'd all Princes proudest Courts, as this.
That pompous Fabrick which great David's Son
Erected for a greater King, was plain
And poor, if brought into comparison
With this Magnificence which here doth reign.
As shades the Substance; so did typick that
But blindly intimate this Temple's state.
The Gold which shin'd, the Stones which sparkled there,
Were all th' ignoble Sons of dirty Earth:
But these substantial Glories flaming here
From Heav'n's fair womb derive their splendid birth.
Nor was the Work atchiev'd by mortal Hand,
Which firm as Immortality doth stand.
Had'st thou my wings, and through the Spheres could'st flie,
Heav'n's most Imperial Palace there to read;
That Spectacle would feast thy ravish'd Eye
But with an ampler Copy, wider spread
And fuller drawn; a Copy of what here
Is written in a smaller character.
Mark well its Situation: Caucasus,
The Alps, th Atlantick Mountains, Ararat,
Noble Olymphus, nobler Libanus,
Are in their proudest exaltations, not
Half so sublime as is this royal Hill,
Which almost in both Worlds at once doth dwell.
Its worthy Head to Heav'n next neighbour is;
Sure upon Hell its conquering Foot is set:
On Hell, which often has repin'd at this
Oppressing load, and often strove to get
Its neck at liberty; but still in vain
The Powers of all that vexed Pit did strain.
For lo, the Mountain's all one solid Rock
Compacted in the strength of Unity:
Though Hills of brass should yield unto the shock
Of Violence; though Earth's vast Mass should be
From its profound Foundation shoulder'd; still
All Force must melt before this steady Pile
So stands the craggy Promontory sure,
With head triumphing o'r the frustrate Storm,
When all the Winds against its Site conjure,
And thousand Waves with high-swoll'n fury arm:
It stands, and sees the Blasts blown out of breath,
And all the Billows shattered beneath.
But mark the Fabrick of this outer Gate:
Has thy Experience e'r observ'd a more
Unlikely Passage to a Court of State?
Strong those Materials are; but yet the Door
Is built so low, and so extremely narrow,
That Worms, not Men, seem fit to scramble thorough.
And Worms indeed the Passengers must be,
Poor, thin, and humble Things, which enter here.
Big puffing Pride presumes in vain that She
Shall through this Portal cloud; or worldly Care
(Swell'd with Incumbrances, and lagg'd with Sin,)
At this small mystick Needless Eye thrust in.
They whose unhappy Bosoms stuff'd with Gold,
Whilst all their Bags lie heaped in their heart;
They who in Fat and Ease themselves infold,
And never were pinch'd up by any Smart:
Too burly are to enter here, and fit
Through Hell's wide-gaping Jaws alone to get.
And so is He whose boldly-busy Brain,
Grown tumid with a thousand Niceties
Of blind yet prying Wisdom, doth disdain
Plain simple faith; and by the Tympanies
Of strange, corrupt, hydropick Disputations
Each smallest Point into a Mountain fashions.
All secular Impostumes, which arise
From any Humor's Superfluity,
From ranging Lusts, from bubling Vanities
From inward or from outward Luxury;
Must at this lowly Passage never hope
To find a Pass; for still they dam it up.
This said; He led the Virgin to the Gate;
Where, though she shrunk and closely gathered up
Her self within her self; yet still so great
She found her bulk, that she was fain to stoop
And croud, and struggle hard, e'r she could win
Tenuity enough to wrestle in.
But once got through; a spacious Court she saw
And yet well-near as strait as was the Door;
Such Difficulties all about it grew,
Such high, each stoney, craggy Paths, such store
Of troublesom Shrubs and Thorns; all which did threat
With Snares and Scratches her obstructed feet.
Yet by the Angel's prudent Conduct She
Rubb'd through, though at the cost of Sweat and Pains:
When lo, with recreating Suavity
A second Gate her Wonder entertains;
Gate as glorious and as venerable,
As was the other poor and despicable.
The Posts of milky Alabaster were
So was the Lintel; but the Leaf was all
Of purest Crystal, that the Commers near,
Before the Door was open set, might fall
In love with those interiour Beauties, which
Themselves through that clear Perspective did reach.
But Psyche here observ'd a serious Maid
Who kept the Keys of that transparent Gate,
Upon the ground disconsolately laid,
Like one who felt and wail'd the Wrath of Fate.
Her left hand bolster'd up her heavy head;
And on her heavier heart her right was spread.
Part of her Tresses Sorrow off had torn
And scatter'd at her feet: what did remain,
Neglect dishevel'd clotted and forlorn
About her ears: Her Forehead's native Plain
Self-hatred o'r and o'r had plowed, and
Deep were the furrows of that woful Land.
Her pensive Eyes so overladen were
With constant Clouds, that downward to the earth
They swaid her looks: the Weather ne'r was clear
With Her, but when one storm had broken forth
Another crouded on; or rather one
Continual Flood from both her Fountains ran.
The beauties of her Cheeks this wash'd away
And through their hills two sallow chapels cut
This marshal'd liquid Pearls in full array
Upon her Clothes, as sadly torn as wet:
This made the count'nance of the neighbour ground
Deep in th' exuberant brine of hers be drown'd.
Disgraced by a Kick of Indignation,
The foolish Furniture of Vanity
Kept distance from her naked Feet: the fashion
Of every Dress was spoild; the gallantry
Of all her Jewels, dust and mire did choke;
Spilt were her Red and White; her Mirrours broke.
Of woful Whips before her lay an heap
Red with the Vengeance on her Body she
Had sternly took: instead of needful sleep,
And proper Cordials, Austerity,
With pale-fac'd Watching, pensive Shame, and Fear,
And hollow-checked Fasts, besieged Her.
For grateful Powders to perfume her Head,
Cold contemptible Ashes there were strown;
Which an untimely hoary Winter spread
Upon her Locks, and preach'd to Her her own
Beginning and her End, that certain Dust
From whence she came, and unto which she must.
As Psyche ponder'd who this Maid should be
Which like a vanquish'd Prey to Grief did lie;
Howe'r She looks, said Phylax, this is She
Whom only Heav'n intrusteth with the Key
Of this vast Palace: She whose piteous Look,
Hath writ her Worth so high in God's own book.
Her Name is Penance; and with her must All
Whose brave ambition here would get access,
Into familiar meek acquaintance fall,
And love her painful Life and Wretchedness.
Though her embraces comfortless may seem,
And cold, yet heav'nly Fervors glow in them.
Delightful Ease lies nestling in her Smart,
Security inhabits in her Fears,
Content keeps house in her disconsolate heart,
Pure Solace bathes it self in all her Tears,
And in the frowning furrows of her Sadness
Are sown the seeds of everlasting Gladness.
This Word threw Psyche on her humble knee
To beg the favour of that mournful Maid;
Who rais'd her self with ready courtesy,
And for no stately-long Intreaty staid:
Welcome, she cry'd, and seal'd it with a Kiss,
And in her sober arms she hug'd her thrice.
She hug'd her thrice; and every time she shot
Into her Soul Grief's wholesome influence;
Whereby intire possession she got
Of all her Thoughts, and left her there no sense
Or rellish of terrest[r]ial Delight,
But fitted her to see this heav'nly sight.
Which done; upon her penitent head she spred
Part of her Tears, and of her Ashes part:
Then to the Door she Her right kindly led,
Which as she gently touch'd, did open start.
Straitway a Gale of holy Pleasures flew
Forth at the Gate, and full on Psyche blew.
Thus entred in, she there espies a Well
Of clearer crystal far than was that Door:
And here, all Purities, said Phylax, dwell;
Of limpid Life here lives the endless Store;
These Streams alone can conquer those deep Stains
Of which the tainted Universe complains.
No foolish wanton Nymphs are dabling here;
But Graces genuine, and numberless,
And all divine, who sutably do cheer
Their pious Guests, and bathe their souls in Bliss.
Fain'd Venus from her native Sea did rise
Less fair than Those this Fountain purifies.
For this is Baptism's sacred Laver, where
All They must wash the other World away
Who enter this new Life's celestial sphere,
And of Night's Brats turn Children of the Day.
Far hence profane unwashen feet must be;
This holy ground belongs to Sanctity.
But of such everlasting Virtue is
This heav'nly Liquor, that one Drenching will
Suffice; and 'tis presumptuous Lavishness
A second time its noble Drops to spill:
For since Life's purest Day hence takes its Morn,
What He can twice into one Life be born?
Though thine unhappy Albion will breed
Such Imps of Contradiction, as will row
Against great Baptism's Stream, and forge a need
Of padling in their own new Waters: Thou
Shalt find thy single Washing is alone,
Sufficient Cleansing; and may'st now go on.
This said; he leads her forward through a Way
Pav'd with the soul of Sweetness, to the bright
Palace, which courted with a full display
Of all its parts her now approaching Sight:
Magnifick was its Aspect, and upon
The Rock look'd like another Mount of Stone.
A Mount of Marble, polished and white;
But with such Architecture varied,
That Majesty was temper'd with Delight.
Thus all the Countenance of Heav'n is spred
With Awe and Beauty, that Spectators may
To it at once both Love and Reverence pay.
What goodly Pillars, Arcs, and Walls, were there!
What Rows of Lights in equi-distant grace!
What learn'd Engravings lived every where
With Anticks peopling each convenient space!
With what brave strife did cunning Art contend
The rich Material's Lustre to transcend!
But they by twelve fair steps advanced now;
Enter'd the Hall, whose princely Bravery
So far outshin'd what they had seen below,
That sweetly it perplexed Psyche's eye
In walking through the several Wonders, which
Did every corner of the Room inrich.
The Floor with glittering Silver all was spred,
The Allmug Walls with royal Arras drest,
The Cedar Roof with Gold imbellished,
With glorious Paint the Windows: such a Feast
Of pompous sights she never saw before
Though she had view'd Agenor's splendid Store.
Yet this was but the handsome case and skin
Of what did more Majestick make the Place;
For nobly lost were all the Pillars in
Innumerable Spoils, which She who was
Queen of the Palace, in her Wars had won,
And fix'd them here, as Proofs what she had done.
Here by their Horns, Dilemmas hanging were,
And of big Syllogisms, the empty Skins.
Bold busy Wit, lay tame and quiet here
Here Rhetorick, with all her cunning Gins
Twisted about her neck; here all the Pride
Of secular Wisdom, was close Pris'ner ty'd.
Next those, that insolent Severity,
That humble Arrogance, which long did reign
In th' old admired Porch, hung dead and dry;
And chained Zeno knit his brows in vain
To see that Doctrine which so far prevail'd,
Up here by conquering Truth in triumph nail'd.
And yet some comfort 'twas, that He beheld
The Pythagorean Prudence hanging by;
And its great Master, though he ne'r would yield
It fit for Men with Flesh to satisfy
Their Hunger's Call, forc'd madly now to eat
Himself, and make his chained Arms his Meat.
Nor had the Epicurean Discipline
Better Success, for she was Captive here;
And both with Shame and Hunger taught to pine
And dearly pay for her luxuriant Cheer:
All lank and thin she hung, like nothing less
Than Magazine of swell'd Voluptuousness.
Th' Egyptian Learning, black as blackest Hell
Where it was bred and born, hung also here;
Nor could invent with all its Magick Skill
Any mysterious Charm or Character
It self from that Disgrace to conjure down,
But found Truth's Spells much stronger than her own.
By these, the Spoils snatch'd from the furthest Parts
Of strangest Indian Worlds, hung one by one;
The proud Gymnosophists and Brachman's Arts:
(For noble Bartholomew had thither run,
And Thomas too; and made their Journey be
Only the March of speedy Victory.)
So did the Persians' Astrologick Skill,
And what in Balaam's Midian School was taught:
A mighty Prize was this, the Flower of Hell,
With thousand Sects of various Learning fraught:
Yet none of these could calculate that They
Should unto Catholick Truth become a Prey.
Nor did the Academick Glory, 'scape,
Though sage grave Plato rais'd it fair and high;
For here it hung in contemptible shape,
Presenting more of reverend Foolery,
Than genuine Wisdom, and lamenting that
It reach'd so near to Truth, yet reach'd it not.
Next this, the Oracles of the Stagarite,
(That God of logical and wrangling Brains,)
Hung all in scorned miserable plight,
Unable to Confute their conquering Chains;
And wish'd that they their Master's fate had seen,
And drowned with him in Euripus been.
Yea ev'n the Skeptick Protean Cunning too,
For all her wiley wiles, was taken here;
And now convinced by her certain Wo
Confess'd some Truth could naked be and clear:
And into palpable assurance grew
That her Captivity at least was True.
In one side of the Hall these marshall'd were;
Nor did the other with less Spoils abound:
For all the Sadducaean Points hung there,
Too late bewailing what too late they found,
That they from thence should no Redemption have,
Who held no Resurrection from the Grave.
And in the same condition hanging was
Stubborn Herodianism, but buckled now;
Finding that Help to its distressed Cause
Its dead and rotten God could not allow;
That Herod proved no such kind of Thing
As Christ, of Glory and of Power King.
Essaean Prudence too was fain to hear
Her Fate, and share in this Captivity;
Though all her Ways, and Grounds, and Doctrins were
Of nearest kin to Truth: yet seeing She
Made least resistance, Justice gave command
She should be tyed in the gentler Band.
But puff'd with zealous Ignorance and Pride,
The Pharisaick Discipline held out
In flat defiance: bravingly she try'd
Her fancied strength, and obstinately fought.
And much she might have done, had Truth not been
Aided by Heav'n to bring her Pris'ner in.
Yet after Her, innumerable Swarms
Of peevish restless Vermin undertook
The War again; and being once in arms
From sucking sneaking Schisms, they boldly broke
Into the monstrous amplitude of those
Black Heresies whose depth Hell only knows.
The Authors lately in their native Pit
Psyche beheld, and here their Brood she sees;
The hideous Portents of malitious Wit
And piety-pretending Villanies;
Which now perforce their open Shame confess.
All hanging in their odious Nakedness.
They Naked hung; yet clothed in their gore;
Which livery too they gave the neighbour Wall
Whilst they with rage their viperous Members tore
And upon one another spit their Gall;
Stark mad their huge and warlike selves to see
The Subjects of eternal Triumph be.
But one strange Spoil (though but prophetick yet)
More eminent and ugly than the rest
Upon a special Pillar, high was set;
The Presbyterian God, demurely drest
In solemn Weeds, spun all of Publick Weal,
Pure Christian Liberty, reforming Zeal.
His name was Covenant; and the Sacrifice
He gormandiz'd, more vast then that of Bel,
Or of the Dragon; for no smaller prize
Than Church and State would serve his paunch to fill:
For which huge feast he had as long a Grace,
And this ycleep'd the Directory was.
But stretch'd at length by this enormous Diet
The wretched Idol's maw in sunder burst:
Forthwith the Issue of his boundless Riot
Flow'd out in millions of Sects, which curst
Their monstrous Parent, and are here with meet
Decorum rank'd and fetter'd at his feet.
These Trophies right heroick were: but yet
The upper end of this illustrious Hall
With gallanter Memorials was beset:
For all about the fair and lofty Wall
Hung goodly Tables, offring to the Eye
A full account of larger Victory.
The first display'd subdued Asia's face,
Where Conquest at Jerusalem begun
Her noble Progress, rending ope her ways
Quite through the heart of every Region;
Nor stay'd her Chariot, until it met
The rising Sun, and fairer shew'd than it.
The second, generous Europe did present,
The Queen of Arms and Arts, and yet too weak
And silly, to confute or stop the Dint
Of Christian Vigor, which undaunted brake
Through all her Quarters, till both Rome and Greece
Yielded, and su'd for Evangelick Peace.
Hot sandy Africk boiled in the Third,
Where all its Monsters gentle grew and tame;
Not frighted by the Lightning of the Sword
But mollify'd by Christ's sweet-thrilling Name,
Which won (though with an Eunuch it began,)
At length the mightyest and compleatest Man.
The fourth, by Prophesy was painted which
Decyphered a strange untutored World,
In golden Mines and Veins of Silver rich,
But poor in all the best of Wealth, and hurl'd
Quite on the Backside of these Climes which then
Were known to this our Universe's Men.
Yet was the Church assur'd that She should through
The vast Atlantick reach her conquering Arm;
And on the Western Ev'n her East bestow,
Which Pagan Cold with Christian Heats might warm:
She was assur'd, her Baptism's Streams upon
The wealthy Shore of noble Plate should run.
As Psyche paid her Admiration to
These Marvels, through whose stories one by one
Phylax' expounding Tongue vouchsaf'd to go;
Far goodlyer Sights, said he, this Mansion
Do's yet afford: These but the Preface be
(And poor enough) to what thou now shalt see.
Then up a spacious Ascent He brings
Her to the Presence-chamber of the Queen.
O what celestial, what matchless Things
Were sparkling in this holy Glorie's Scene!
Which whilst the Angel read to Psyche, He
Was ravished well near as much as She.
This precious Pavement first observe, said He;
Thy foot ne'r trampled on such Worth as this.
The floor's no less than pure Humility,
As smooth as Politure's own dainty Dress
Yet softer than those Carpets are whose sweet
And silken Kisses flatter Princes' feet.
The Walls are built of neither Wood nor Stone.
No nor of Brass, of Silver, or of Gold,
Or any Substance which Duration
Can make decrepit as it groweth old:
O no! these pure Materials are such
As wretched Weakness must not dare to touch:
Of genuine Strength and of Security
They temper'd are, and correspondence keep
With their foundations which fixed lie
Upon a Rock that scorns the raging Deep,
As Those, the Pow'rs beneath; so These disdain
All them above which in the Air do reign.
These Walls; which gloriously clothed are
With all the Gospel Wardrobe: there thy spouse
Is Born; to Egypt there he flies; and there
He is Baptized: there his Power flows
In miracle's full Deluge; there he hath
His Cross; and there to life is drawn his Death.
The Roof, whose patent Arch and azure Hue
Like Heav'n's Epitomy above us flows;
With no hypocrisy deludes our View,
Being conscious of more Value than it shows.
Well may it dazel thy poor mortal sense,
For 'tis no less than God's own Providence.
Those middle Pillars which so stoutly set
Their lusty shoulders under it, are cast
Of sound substantial faith; though Rocks should split;
Though Earth's vast Groundsels which are ramm'd so fast
About the Center should in pieces fly;
These still will hold their own Solidity.
That strange solidity, whose mystick Root
Quite cross to all the World is taught to grow;
For its profoundly paradoxick foot
Implanted is above and not below;
Whilst by Love's all-uniting-strengthning Art
The Roof it self the Pillars doth support.
Those Spacious Windows, which like limpid Eyes
Adorn this Chamber's face, are not of Glass,
(The brittle Emblem of fair Vanities,)
But firmest Hope; through which the Soul doth pass,
And climb aforehand to those Joys above
Which have monopoliz'd her loyal love.
That golden Chimney, and the fire which there
With unconsuming Sweetness flames so high,
The Shop and fervent Operations are
Of strong and never-idle Charity;
Whose soft Extremities of fostering Heat
As Pulses in true Christian bosoms beat.
But this resplendent Mount of Majesty
Which crowns the Navel of the Chamber, this
Large Diamond Throne, whose Glories far outvy
The rays of Solomon's, erected is
For Her whose Beauties make the Seat appear
But poor and dim when it supporteth Her.
Just as he spake, from her retiring Room,
Attended by her most imperial Train,
To that her Throne the Queen her self did come,
And justify the Angers word: in vain
The Diamond strove, for all its Sparks gave way
To Her's, as Stars to Phebus and his Day.
No sooner set, but She to reading fell
Out of a golden Scrol those sacred Laws
Which from her sovereign Assent and Seal
Look'd for their life and Soul. This lucky Pause
Warn'd Psyche too to read, who for her Book
Could choose no other but this Monarch's Look.
A Look in which such blessed Gallantry
Its triumph held, that Psyche judged Her
No daughter of Mortality to be,
But sprung from Race divine: nor did she fear
Idolatry in worshiping a face
In which all Heav'n, and more, compacted was.
But as her knees were melting to the floor,
Phylax commands her first to satisfy
Her eye's profoundest hunger with that store
Of royal Chear, whose superfluity
Was so excessive: and thou then, said He,
Shalt know who is this Queen of Sweets, from me.
Thou then shalt know, when by due Observation
Thou of her sovereign Worth instructed art
That so thy well-confirmed Admiration
May soberly perform its Dutie's part,
And blot out that rash Zeal, whose hasty fire
Inflam'd thy Soul Pseudagius to admire.
This Precept She obey'd: but as a Child
Into a Prince's Garden brought, which he
Sees with innumerable Beauties fill'd;
Yields up himself to dainty Ecstasy,
Not knowing where he should begin to gather,
Being woo'd by every flower from one another:
So in delicious Confusion She
Among the Graces of this Empress lost
Her wandring self, nor could resolved be
Which Part deserv'd her Admiration most:
She look'd to find one better than the rest,
But look'd in vain, for every one was Best.
Down from the Head of this accomplish'd Queen
To her fair foot, there was no room for Blame:
Sooner shall Pitch in Venus's Rayes be seen
Sooner shall Glory's face be damp'd with Shame;
Sooner shall Crystal guilty be of Blots,
Than purer She can be accus'd of spots.
As through the roseal casements of the East
Aurora looks, when fresh come out of bed;
So is her briskly-blooming Aspect drest
With all the Delicates of blushing Red:
Yet though these streams of Blushes overflow,
Firm truce maintain they with their neighbour Snow.
As modest Phebe in th' unclouded sphere
Smiles with chaste beauty, so do's chaster She:
Nay more than so; for virgin Mildness here
Is married to Titan's Majesty:
The Moon's sweet silver, and his stately Gold
Are in this face's Orb together roll'd.
Yet such its temper is, that if bold Eyes
Its Sweetness dare; such Terrors flame in it
As from a martiall'd Army's front surprize
Cold-hearted Cowards, when the Standards get
Their cue to poure ther awful Colours through
The Air, and stately Banners open flow.
This makes the Ladies' precious features be
As pleasant as the gracefullest Excess
Of Tirzah's Beauties; and her Bravery
As rich as Salem's was in Portlyness,
When her best Excellence had crown'd her Queen
Of whatsoe'r below the Sun was seen.
But as th' illustrious Tree of Victory,
The verdant Palm, lifts her triumphant head
Above the vulgar shrubs: so glorious She
Her princely stature. And 'tis fairly read
In all her Hall's bright Characters, how near
Of kin the Palm and She by conquests are.
Carmel, which looks from his exalted seat
With state upon the Vales that creep beneath,
And is so strong in high-grown Woods, so sweet
In fragrant Pastures, fairly copieth
Her goodly Head, that living Coronet
Enobling all the Members under it.
As from steep Gilead the milky flocks
Of climbing Goats right gracefully appear;
Such is the prospect of her flaxen Locks
Whose merry Curles like Kids all sporting are;
And by their sport, though feeble Chains they be,
Do captive take the King of Majesty.
Beneath the curious Arbour of her Hair
Half-hid, half-ope her sacred Temples lie,
Which like a rich Pomgranat lovely are,
And lovelyer by that open secresie,
For what is naked speaks for what is hid;
Whence more Desire is in Spectators bred.
He who by fair Bethrabbim Gate hath seen
The Pools of Heshbon even with the brim,
Where living Smiles inhabit, where serene
And genuine Purities delight to Swim;
Where both the Stars by night, and Sun by day
As in a softer Heav'n delight to play:
The Emblem of her Eyes hath He beheld
Her Eyes, the smiling Mirrours whence those beams
Which dart forth Loves and Joyes, which sweetly gild
Spectators' hearts, poure out their gracious streams;
Her Eyes, the sparkling Nests of brightest Bliss,
The purest Springs of mystick Paradise.
That white and stately Tower of Marble which
Down from its Lebanon its looks extends
As far's Damascus; did aforehand preach
That princely Beauty which her Nose commends;
Whose alabaster Prominence doth grace
And fortify the region of her face.
Her Lips, of Scarlat are a fine-spun Thred;
Yet not so fine or delicate as is
The rare Effusion which through them is shed
When that sweet fount of Eloquence doth bless
Admiring Auditors, when vocal Gold
And Honey from th' enclosed Tongue is roll'd.
No Sheep, new-shorn and even, and washed white,
And marching home in decent order; can
Tickle Beholders eyes with more delight,
Than her two Ranges of fair Ivory, when
A Smile, or some such sweet occasion hath
Display'd the equal Orders of her Teeth.
As David's portly Tower, the dwelling-place
Of Comelyness and Strength; such is her Neck:
A thousand mighty shields that Fortress grace,
And this as many lovely Jewels deck,
Or rather decked are by hanging there;
Their wealthy Home for them can lustre spare.
Two tender Roes, the Sons of one spruce Dame
And of one Birth, which in a lily field
Are put to pasture: in another name
Are her two Breasts, with polish'd softness swell'd,
Which in her Bosom's fragrant garden feed
Where whitest Sweetness takes delight to breed.
Her royal Robe is all of purest Silk;
In softness parallel to her own Skin,
In spotless Whiteness, to her precious Milk.
A cunning needle over it had run,
And scatter'd pritty Hills and Valleys, where
Neat flocks of Lambs feeding and sporting were.
But as when April's gentle Breath doth wake
The floury Eyes of Lebanon, or plays
Against his balmey Boughs, the Odours take
The soft alarm, and their sweet Powers raise:
So this rich Vesture's Smell replies to all
The Complements of every fanning Gale.
To either Hand belongs a Massy Key
The royal Scepters She was born to sway:
The one of beaten burnish'd Gold, which She
Hugs in her Right: for through Heav'n's narrow Way
Though many struggle, none can enter at
That Port of Bliss, if this locks up the Gate.
But her Sinister one of Iron is:
A swarthy fatal Key which keeps the door
Of everlasting Torment's foul Abyss,
Where anathematized Miscreants roar.
Proud Belzebub, although he Sovereign be
Of Hell, possesseth not his Kingdom's Key.
No; this is Her Prerogative alone
Who Arbitratrix sits of Heav'n and Hell:
And though her gentle Soul delights in none
But her mild Bliss-unlocking key; yet still
She maketh her abused Sweetness just
Against rebellious unrepentant Dust.
The Diadems of garish Gold and Gems
She to the heads of mortal Princes leaves;
That Heav'nly flame which round her Temples streams.
A richer Crown of living Glory weaves;
Which Mitre-like, and like the mystick guise
Of Cloven Tongues of sprightful fire doth rise.
But for a Canopie to shade her head;
No Babylonian Embroidery,
No Tyrian, nor Phrygian Texture's spread,
No artificial Help of Majesty,
No State which lasts no longer than 'tis stay'd
And fastned up by Cords' and Pillars' aid.
A Dove, not hatch'd in sublunary Nest,
Nor hatch'd at all, but of eternal Breed,
Weigh'd on his equal Wings, displays her Crest
At near but comely distance o'r her head:
Where by his splendid widespread feathers He
Is both her Glory and Security.
This was the Queen; on whom as Psyche gazed;
The reason why, my Dear, said Phylax, so
At her high Gallantry thou stand'st amazed, Is,
That thou know'st not yet her Name, nor who
Hath her espous'd. O pitty then, cry'd She,
Sweet Tutor, this my Ignorance and Me.
He, by a speaking Smile at first, then by
This smiling Speech, his pupil satisfy'd:
That Queen, Ecclesia is, and to the high
And mighty King of Kings the sovereign Bride:
Poor of her self, and sprung from Mortal race
But thus advanced by His bounteous Grace.
Those Princes who descended are of Clay,
Are fain to make a tedious search to find
Ladies whose florid features answer may
The brisk Ideas of their youthful Mind;
Nay for a Dowry oft they hunt, that so
The Maid and Money they may marry too.
But it becomes Heav'n's Emperor to make,
Not seek a Spouse which may his fancy please;
Nor can it with his Greatness stand to take
A Portion with his Bride, who Owner is
Of more than thine, or Phebus's larger eye
Could in his furthest Travels e'r descry.
Both Thou, and every pious Soul beside,
As Spouses by his Favour owned are:
But She alone is his Imperial Bride,
His Heart's own Heart, his most indeared Dear.
One Lady thus to glorious Solomon
Amongst his Thousand was his Only One.
Before, alas, She black and crooked was,
The nasty Sink of all Deformities:
Such heaps of odious Blains and Boils; a Mass
Of such Distortions; such rank Heresies
Of Form and Feature; could not any where
Be found in one Colluvies, as in Her.
Indeed when first She in her Filth was born
No friendly Hand took care to Wash her clean,
Or cut her Navel: helpless and forlorn
In her foul blood she lay, till He sent in
His yearning Providence, relief to give,
Which on Death's brink commanded her to Live.
She Livid: but so as still her Life confest
By its Procession, what its Entrance was:
Yet when all other Lovers did detest
The thought of her most ugly-vile embrace;
In Jesus steps, and cries, why may not She
Grow beautious by my superfluity?
Then from the Mine of his exuberant Graces
Ten thousand rich and radiant Things he takes;
Which all about the wondering Maid he places,
And of a Worm this Queen of Glory makes;
That chosen she might be embellished
Proportionably to his royal Bed.
And that she also might attended be
With fair and sutable Retinues to
Her radiant Self; that Train magnifick He
Both furnish'd and maintaineth for her: lo
With what press forwardness they waiting are
About her sparkling Throne, and brighter Her.
The formost Squadron is of threescore Queens,
Who yet can from her Service, Honor take:
The next's of fourescore goodly Concubines;
But they who those exterior Ranges make,
Where in a number numberless they flow,
Are Virgins all, both white and chaste as Snow.
These were the minor single Churches, spread
So thick in every Gospel-conquer'd Place;
Which still their Strength and their Dependence had
From this most Catholick Majesty, which was
Diffus'd as wide's all they, and never found
That Land or Sea which could its Progress bound.
These every Morn, and every Evening raise
Their homage in religious Anthems high;
Paying their Admiration and Praise
To Her the Monarch of all Piety:
And happy Tributaries too are they
Who always Gainers are by what they pay.
But mark that Company whose station is
Before the Throne; true Maids of Honor, whose
Sweet privilege it is this Queen to Dress:
Their hands alone have her adorn'd with those
Embellishments, which round about her shine,
And make that fairer look which was Divine.
That slender strait-lac'd Maid, is Unity,
Who buckles on (for that's her proper part)
That golden Girdle which so decently
Huggeth her Sovereign's Loins and with what art
Her noble Duty she performs, thou may'st
Read in the Queen's epitomized Waste.
That sober Matron, in whose stayed Eye,
And venerable Face, so fair are writ
The awful Lines of Heaven, is Sanctity:
Who reverently before the Queen doth Set
Her faithful self, and serves her for a Glass
By which to guide and order all her Dress.
The Next, whose Soft and yielding Looks confess
The temper of her heart, is Patience:
Her Empress she bedecks with Tenderness
And makes her slow and loth to take offence;
That all her Subjects by her Softness may
Be charm'd, so kind a Princess to obey.
But Magnanimity, that highlook'd She,
Embraves that Mildness with right active Fire;
This that Virago is, who scorns to see
Any Exploit of Gallantry outvie her.
Ecclesia's Brows with Stoutness she doth build,
And helps her both her mighty Keys to weild.
She whose wideopen Breasts so fairly swell,
And wears as large a Purse upon her side;
Who looks about to see where she may Spill
Her teeming Charity's never-ebbing Tide;
Is Bounty, Almner to the Queen, whom she
Likewise arrays with Grace and Courtesy.
That other, whose ev'n Look was never knit
Into a Frown, nor loos'd into a smile;
Whose right hand holds a Sword, whose left a fit
And equal Balance, Justice is, who still
As Cases come, her Ladle's eyes doth dress
With what is neither Wrath nor Friendlyness.
She whose sharp Eye looks all things through and through,
And sees both sides of double-faced Chance;
Who in Futurity's blind Sea can rowe,
And take a plenal Prospect by a Glance;
Is searching Wisdom, and do's every morn
Her Sovereign's Head most studiously adorn.
That amiable sweet-complexion'd Maid
Is Temperance, which keeps the Queen so fair:
In all Distempers She with ready Aid
Knows how her health and beauty to repair:
Her Body sound, her skin she maketh sleek;
She with warm Roses trims her lovely Cheek.
Those other Virtues too (for All are there,)
Attend their several Offices. But turn,
And mark that neighbour Combination, where
Far nobler Virgins wait; that thou may'st learn
By their rare Worth how glorious is She
Whose houshold Servants they are proud to be.
That martial She all over writ with Scars,
Laden with Palms, and clothed round in Blood,
Ecclesia's Champion is: ten thousand Wars
She waged hath, and valiantly withstood
The Outrages of Earth and Hell; her Name
Is Martyrdom: her Story, highest fame.
That plainlook'd Maid, whose course and simple Hue
May seem Discredit to this gorgeous Place,
Is Poverty; who though to outward view
She shines with no alluring courtly Grace,
Yet is within as truely bright and fair
As on their outside her Companions are.
For Jesus, who the heart of things doth see,
Was so inamor'd of her Beauties, that
He chose to dwell with Her alone when He
Entred upon His Theanthropick State:
And Her (so high He found her Worth) commended
To Queen Ecclesia when He hence Ascended.
The next, her Sister is, Obedience:
Thou never saw'st a Twig more apt to bow,
Nor Wax more pliant, whensoe'r her Prince
Summons her Duty into Action: though
A Will she once had of her own, yet She
Gave it her Queen, that so she might be Free.
For, prudent as she was, right well she knew
How edg'd a Tool is every Humane Will,
Oft making her enslaved Owners rue
Her desperate Freedom; whose carreer to quell
The safest way she found, was to submit
Her to a wiser Rein and stronger Bit.
Lo there Virginity her self: O who
Can count the Graces reigning in her eyes;
Or those which all about her body flow
In Love's and Pleasure's chaste Extremities!
Precious she is to Heav'n it self; for she
As truely is Angelical as We.
Indeed the old Acquaintance which we had
With her pure Softness, makes us what we are,
Upon our Wings her Hands their Whiteness spread;
'Tis she who frees us from vexatious care,
And gives us leave to be attendant on
The bus'ness of Heav'n's sovereign alone.
The Tenderness which smileth in her Face
Cohabits with heroick Bravery;
Which can ev'n from your mortal Weakness chase
Faint Nature's inbred Imbecility;
Incouraging dull Flesh it self to strain
And with pure Spirits equal pace maintain.
She, she it is, who scorneth to enjoy
A Dispensation from her Lord's advice;
Who chooseth not, to do all that she may,
But all she can; who generously flies
Soul-bigamy; who to her heart allows,
Since She's betroth'd to Christ, no other Spouse.
But there stand Ladies more illustrious yet,
Stars of the first and fairest Magnitude
To which this Universe is deep in debt
For that commanding Light whose dint subdu'd
The monstrous Night of Ignorance which had
All Nations its blinded Pris'ners made.
That awful Maid, Heav'n's glorious Amazon,
Before whose March the World made haste to bow,
And take the Evangelick Yoke upon
Its conquer'd neck; thou by her Looks may'st know:
O brave Apostleship, which hast outrun
The Course, outshin'd the Glories of the Sun!
The Lady Treasurer is She; into
The faithful hands of whose dispensing Care
Ecclesia's precious Store was put; that so
All pious Souls might be directed where
To find their holy Food, the heav'nly Word
And Sacraments of their most provident Lord.
Behind her standeth her apparent Heir,
Who, when to Heav'n she steps, her Office takes:
Yet, modest as she is, doth still forbear
The Glory her great Mother's Title speaks,
And meekly turns the Apostolical
Denomination to Episcopal.
But when the Tide of Converts flowed high,
Episcopacy happily was forc'd
To substitute that sacred Deputy
Part of the Charge to bear which She at first
Manag'd alone: behold the Virgin there
Priesthood's the Name she honored is to wear.
She, in whose startled Look and dazell'd Eye
Enthusiastick Characters appear,
Is sacredly-inspired Prophesy:
Earth's Monitor, Heav'n's Privy-counseller:
She, whose quicksighted Soul can Wonders see
A day, a year, an age before they be.
The next, is Doctrine; in whose lips there dwells
A spring of Honey sweeter than its Name;
Honey which never fulsome is, yet fills
The widest Souls; Honey which first did stream
In Heav'n's most happy Canaan, and thence
Remov'd to Earth's its blessed Influence.
The Sixth's, that mighty She, to whom the Prince
Of Wonders left the noble Legacy
Of his miraculous Power; which ever since
Hath flourish'd in her potent Arm: for She
Still triumphs over Nature's Laws, and still
Makes Mountains stoop to her imperious Will.
The Seav'nth's, the Mistress of profounder Art
Than in the brain of Aesculapius grew:
She calls no Roots nor Herbs to take her part;
Nor needs the virtuous souls of Plants to brew;
But by her Touch, or her commanding Breath
Knows how to slay both Sicknesses and Death.
The Eighth, whose ready and officious Eyes
Her Ministerial Aptitude declare,
Is She who on the sacred Mysteries
With reverent distance waits, and takes the care
Of Those who, did not pious Charity
Keep open house, would no where harbour'd be.
The Ninth, whose Stature rises high and fair,
So broad whose Shoulders, and whose Breast so wide
Whose Joints well-knit, whose Bones well-timber'd are,
But stronger far her Heart; is signify'd
By these sure Marks firm Government to be
The Pillar of Ecclesia's Policy.
See'st thou the Last? know Psyche, wondrous she
Can by no Token but her Tongue be known;
And yet her Tongue's strange Multiplicity
Looses her self again; for what's her own
Of all the Languages with which she flows,
(Each one so right she hits,) no Censor knows.
She in their proper Dialects can trade
With all the World, and Heav'n's Wares set to sale:
No Sound to Sense a Dress was ever made
But she with it can strait acquainted fall,
And best determin whether it doth sit
Upon that Sense's shoulders right and fit.
Unhappy Babel's Antidote is she,
And cures the Wound which there did Tongues divide:
All Languages in her sole Lips agree,
For to her single Tongue they All are ty'd;
So are their Virtues too, and Eloquence
Dwells there in all her Tunes of Excellence.
But now behold where at the Queen's right hand,
As best deserving that illustrious Place,
The Flower of all these Maiden Flowers doth stand,
The Gallantry ev'n of her Queen to grace:
A Virgin fairer than her native Nest
The silver Spheres, which by her Birth were blest.
Lo she from head to loot all Naked is
As are the Sun by day and Stars by night:
Her self She with her proper Beams doth dress
As they with their Attire of natural Light.
External Helps true Beauty never lacks;
'Tis Shame alone which Vestments useful makes.
Who ever thought the Rose or Lilly stood
Guilty of course unhandsom Nakedness,
Because they never put on borrowed Hood
Nor veiled up their native Sweetnesses?
For where shall Ornaments be found which may
Fairer, such Sons of Goodliness array?
Believe it Psyche, she doth but retain
Her Countrie's fashion: they whose Bliss it is
In Heav'n, the Realm of richest Pomp, to reign,
Profess no other kind of Dress but this;
They naked go of whatsoe'r might hinder
Or cloke the Grace of their arraying Splendor.
A Texture all of Glory, soft and white
As is her virgin Soul, surrounds her: when
Darkness can smutch the highnoon Face of Light,
When veins of Ink in floods of Milk can run;
Then may a Critick hope to spie in her
Pellucid Robe of Nakedness, a Blur.
That Nakedness, which though it breeds Desire,
In every Heart not stupify'd with stone,
It kindles none but sweet and spotless Fire;
In whose pure furnace brave Devotion
Learns with more sprightful fervency to glow,
And Chastity it self refin'd doth grow.
But O what Powers are flaming in her Face,
Pouring her Conquests upon every Eye!
The hardyest He that e'r on her did gaze,
Yielded and lov'd his sweet Captivity,
Error her self, though swell'd with Pride and Hell,
In her bright presence is content to kneel.
Her name is Truth; and what her Care and Charge
Judge by those Tokens which her Hands present;
Two Autographs: that in her Left, the large
And Old, but never-failing Testament:
That in her Right, the New: which could with none
Justly intrusted be, but Her alone.
For every Leaf of them a Mirrour is
In which she reads her own unspotted Face:
Each Line is taught sincerely to express
Some correspondent Lineament of Grace
In her sweet Body, whose all-lovely Looks
Are nothing but the Life of those dead Books.
Bold Heresy has often in that Glass
Presum'd to peep, and swore that there she spyed
The faithful shape of her own faithless face:
But yet the shameless Elf as often lyed.
That trusty Glass will no false Colours shew,
But unto Truth, and Truth alone; is true.
And though Rebellion too hereafter will
Be studying here, and prying how to find
The pourtraiture of her foul self; yet still
The Lustre of the noble Book will blind
Such saucy Readers, whose true Image is
Reflected only in Hell's black Abyss.
But mark what clings about the Virgin's breast;
A Knot of Things whose Splendor bids thine Eye
Be with a Glimpse content, and not contest
With what confounds bold Curiosity.
Faith's Mysteries they are, which by the bright
Excess of their own beams, are hid from sight.
In vain thou seek'st these flames to parallel
By any Raies which e'r amaz'd thine Eye:
Souls which in most heroick Worth excel
Cannot endure their naked Majesty;
But happy count themselves that they can see
These Mysteries ev'n through a Mystery.
And happy thou, my Psyche, who are hither
By Heav'n's indulgence and my conduct, brought;
If thou that Bliss neglected not to gather
Which now is ripe, and bids thy Heart not doubt
Here freely to inrich its Poverty
At highest heav'nlyest Wealth's own Treasury.
Thus Phylax spake: and Psyche all the while,
Viewing these several Glories of the Court,
Did with as many Satisfactions fill
Her wondring spirit, and her self transport
From this to that; till Truth's strange Contemplation
Monopolized all her Admiration.
For as the noble Eaglet perched high
In open prospect to the naked Sun,
Banquets and riots with her ravish'd Eye
In that bright Sea of Beauty, where alone
Her genuine Sight meets with its flaming Love,
And by his sovereign Beams its own doth prove:
So She with strong impatient Ardor here
Stood feeding upon Truth's all-glorious Face;
Where since she found most satiating Cheer,
She therefore still unsatiated was:
Till lost in amorous Greediness, she cries,
Sweet Guardian help me, or thy Psyche dies.
Phylax, who knew the soul of that Complaint,
(For on his own it beat) with tender Hand
Reliev'd his Pupil as he saw her faint;
And, Well, said he, thy Grief I understand:
Fear't not, though sharp, 'tis salutiferous;
Thy Joys had dy'd, hadst thou not Grieved thus.
The Pictures of thy late Acquaintance, and
Newly imbibed Doctrins, in the Eye
Of thy now self-revenged Conscience stand
Checking thy venturous Credulity,
Which durst embrace such Monsters, and dismiss
A Beauty so divinely bright as this.
Yet let not Sorrow quench thy Hopes, for She
All Injuries rejoyceth to forget:
She never laughed at the Misery
Of any Heart which would to Her submit:
Revenge indeed, but soft and sweet she takes;
Her Foes to Liberty she Captives makes.
This said: his Charge to that bright Maid he led;
Whom, by their old Acquaintance he desired
Her favour on this begging Soul to spread,
Who with her lustre was already fired.
Truth gently smiled at his sweet Request
And by her Looks her forwardness confest.
Forthwith, as humble Psyche trembling lay,
Pouring her tears and heart at her fair feet;
She mildly took her up, and gave her joy
That she was rescued thus from Error's Net.
That word she clos'd with an Embrace; and this
She more indeered by an Heav'nly Kiss.
As when the vernal life-enlivening Sun
Embraceth languid Earth with courteous Raies
Through her cold starved Veins fresh fire doth run;
New Life and Verdure smile in all her face,
Herby and floury Gallantry combine
Their fairest powers to make her mantle fine:
So Psyche hugg'd and warm'd intirely by
The Arms and Lips of Truth, soon felt her breast,
Before envellopp'd in Obscurity,
Now by a pure and precious Light possest:
She felt her inward Mystick Day arise,
Which gently flourish'd through her wondring eyes.
O mighty Truth! whose glorious Nakedness
The troublous burly furniture transcends
Of strongest arguments; whose winning Kiss
Presseth thy Conquests home; whose look commands
Success; whose brave Conclusions need not stay
Till tedious Premisses prepare the way.
Logos, who had so pert and busy been,
Was strangely startled at the sudden sight:
For to himself his Blindness now was seen,
So critical was this new-dawning Light:
He saw his Blindness, and in seeing this,
Descry'd withal a thousand Mysteries.
And that so clearly, that he fear'd no more
What Mists Authades in his way could throw;
Agyrtes Charms he scorned, which before
To Darkness's paths had power his feet to draw:
This happy Morn he bless'd and kissed, which
His eyes with Heav'n's true Prospect did inrich.
For here far more convincing Things he read
Than were his late adored Demonstrations.
No brisk Distinction now durst show her head,
Or hope to damp those glorious Probations
Which to Syneidesis her self so great
Appear'd, that unto them her seal she set.
Nor less on Thelema this Wonder wrought;
For with intire submission down she bow'd
Her high and mighty Neck, and low did lout
To what her sober Logos now allow'd.
Those precious Gems she hugg'd within her heart,
Resolved never more with them to part.
With holy sprightful joy replenished was
Psyche, at this happy Change's sight:
All Catholick Verities at large were spread
In her bright soul, whence Scruples took their flight;
Resigning all that Region to be
Possest by Satisfaction's Clarity.
Ten thousand Thanks to courteous Truth she paid;
And would as many times have paid them o'r;
But Phylax her excess of Passion staid,
Telling her, she must now employ that store
She here had gain'd, where Need requir'd it, and
Turn Benefactrix to her native Land.
She rose: but at the Throne fell down again
To pay her homage to the Empress, who
Higher enthroned in her heart did reign:
Then with loth willingness she yields to go,
Having receiv'd a Benediction from
Ecclesia for her dear Viaticum.
But as she went, she bless'd the blessed Place:
And, O, How happy are the Souls, said she,
Who in this holy Court's illustrious Face
May be Attendants, and those Glories see
With constant freedom, which all Heav'n can dart
With one short glimpse on their Spectators' heart!
O happy they, who here secured are
Far far above unhappy Error's reach!
How vainly aimed I my zealous Care
To find the Holy Land in Canaan, which
Lost me my foolish self! henceforth to me
No Land but this alone shall Holy be.
O happy they who in this Hall may Live,
Perpetually those noble Spoils to read;
And Acclamations of Honor give
To Her who all these Monsters' blood hath shed:
To Her whom all the World must yield to be
As large as is it self, in Victory.
O happy they who have but leave to dwell
Here in this Preface to that larger Bliss!
This empty Porch alone doth far excel
The Fulness of all other Palaces: This
Is the Morning unto Glory's Day,
The Brink of Joy, the Top of Heav'n's highway.
O happy they, who in this beauteous Court
May wait upon the Porch, and feed their eyes,
And with their eyes their hearts, in any sort
Upon this House and Home of Mysteries!
This Neighbourhood to Bliss, would prove to me
A full Infeofment in Felicity.
O happy they, who may permitted be
Ev'n in this Realm of Thorns, these craggy Ways,
This Field of Hardship and Perplexity,
This Maze of Fears and Snares, to spend their days!
The Prospect to yon Palace would suffice
To bless and sweeten all Anxieties.
O happy they, who may remain with Thee,
Disconsolate Maid, though at this outmost Gate!
The Comfort but of such Vicinity
To those fair Towers, would easily abate
The trouble of thy sighs; and ne'r would I
Repent of Penance's sad Company.
With these sweet Plaints she measur'd her return,
Till to the waiting Chariot back she came.
And well was Phylax pleas'd to hear her mourn,
And by her sighs blow up the pious flame
Of her Affection to that holy place,
Which kindled was by Truth's divine embrace.
Then mounting up, and gently seating Her
At his right hand, his mighty Reins he shook;
And these could scarce before his Coursers stir,
For strait their leap into the Air they took;
Their ready Wings wide Oars displaying, through
The waves of that soft Ocean to row.
For deeply she remembring what Event
Plagu'd her affected stay in Palestine,
By dear-bought Wisdom learn'd to be content
To leave this reverend Place, though more divine
Temptations here invited her to stay;
Since wiser Phylax summon'd her away.
So when a Child, woo'd by the sporting flame,
Is once but scorch'd into a feeling sense
Of such fair-faced Danger; Fear and Shame
Subject him to his Nurse's Providence,
And make him any harmless Lustre shun
If but her Nod adviseth him to run.
But He, to entertain her by the way
With advantageous Discourse, begun
To reckon through what worthy Wonders
They In their long Pilgrimage's Tract had run.
For Repetition's trusty hand both saves
The old Impression, and a new one graves.
This rous'd her soul to recollect how she
Under the shield of Heav'n's especial Grace
Through thousand Dangers pass'd; though resolutely
Satan and all his Wit engaged was
In open field to cross, or undermine
By secret Wilyness her brave Design.
Afresh her Mind did feast on every sweet
And sacred Thing, which all the way she went
With rich Varieties her eyes had met:
So clearly did the Angel them present
In their distinct and proper colours, by
His Eloquence's prompt dexterity.
Thus in two Chariots she at once did ride:
But yet in this of his Discourse she flew
With swiftest speed, outrunning ev'n the tide
Of Time it self: for still her Joys were new
Cheating her Weariness as He along
Through all her Journeys travell'd with his Tongue.
Her Voice this tuned by her heart's soft strings
To honest Gratitude's ingenuous lays:
High was her Key, and delicate the Songs,
Composed to the sweetest Air of Praise:
For ever may these lips be seal'd, said She,
When they suppress the Thanks I owe to Thee.
To Thee, dear Pilot of my tender Bark,
Which many Rocks e'r this had dash'd in sunder;
Which oft had wander'd in the Deep and Dark:
Which many storms' proud feet had trampled under;
Which many Sands into its Grave long since
Had swallow'd: hadst not Thou been my Defence.
To Thee, whom no Contempt of mine could drive
To just Disdain of this vile Worm: To thee
By whose kind Care my better Life I live;
If yet I live at all, and rather be
Not dead and buried in those sins which I
Preferr'd before the Life of Piety.
Yet more I owe to Him (and more must pay)
By whose appointment Thou conductedst Me:
Be still my Guide, and in this loyal Way
Of Thanks, instruct me what those Thanks must be.
If they must be my Self, I ready am
This sacrifice to offer to His Name.
His Name, in whose dear Syllables alone
I read my self intirely such: for there,
There lives the Soul of that Redemption
Which snatch'd me from the desperate Bondage where
I lay abandon'd to the tyrannous Will
Of Pride, Rebellion, Heresy, and Hell.
His Name, in which the Praise and Adoration
Of His Seraphick and Cherubick Quire
Rejoyce to meet: His Name, of every Nation
The dearest Joy and sovereign Desire.
His Name, which o'r the World's subdued Pride
Doth in sublime but gracious triumph ride.
His Name, the only Musick which mine Ear
Can of no Jars accuse: that lovely Name
Which when Heav'n's most melodious Circles hear,
They throw aside their other songs, and frame
Their Tunes by Jesus's sweets. — Here off she broke,
Ravish'd and silenc'd by the Name she spoke.
And here the Steeds, who all this while had flown
With stout but silent fervor, neigh'd aloud;
Their Journey now was to its period grown,
And Albion her chalkey forehead show'd
Which with erected Ears, and shaked Mains
They doubled strait, and scoured o'r the Plains.
Forthwith all clouded in their smoaking foam
The Chariot they hurl'd to Psyche's door,
Where Phylax bid his Pupil Welcome home;
Which she did on her knee to him restore:
And then she prais'd the steeds unwearied Pains,
Stroking her thanks upon their ruffled Mains.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 2:124-42]