Queen Psyche gives instructions to her powers of Reason and Will, and following a week of meditations, sacrifices her will to Christ. Satan appears before her, Duessa-like, disguised as Phylax, but Psyche quickly discerns the cheat.
Dead lo unworthy life, her self above
Her self; aspiring Psyche lifts, and in
Perfection's Sphere appoints those wheels to move
On which her Logos and her Thelema ran.
Then Satan she defies, though crafty He
Came clothed in Angelick Clarity.
Hard is thy hap, poor Virtue, who by All
Applauded art, yet truly Lov'd by Few;
Whilst lucky Vice, although both Great and Small
Brand her for Ugly, yet her horrid Hue
They hug so close, that 'tis no Hell can fright,
No Heav'n can woo them from that mad Delight.
With Most, Thou serv'st to trim Discourse, and paint
Praise-hunting Gestures and ambitious Looks;
But She, inshrined like the adored Saint,
Reigns in the Temple of the Soul: in Books
Thou dwellest, She in Lives; and though
Thou art Frequently Read, She's oftner got by heart.
Or if thy worth so fortunate can be
(For sometimes wondrous things will come to pass)
As to convince our Approbation, we
Afford thee still a warey shie Embrace:
Some piece of thee we venture on: but are
Jealous, in Goodness to proceed too far.
And witty too in Self delusion, we
Against high-strained Piety can plead;
Gravely pretending that Extremity,
Is Vice's Clime; that by the Catholick Creed
Of all the world it is acknowledg'd, that
The temperate Mean is always Virtue's seat.
Hence comes the Race of mungrel Goodness; hence
Faint Tepidness usurpeth Fervor's name:
Hence will the earthborn Meteor needs commence
In his gay glaring robes, sydereal Flame:
Hence foolish Man, if moderately Evil,
Dreams he's a Saint because he's not a Devil.
Rare souls are they, who still forgetting what
Behind them conquer'd lies; with restless heat
Reach at new Laurels, and adventure at
Whate'r inviteth Gallantry to sweat;
Who, like our Psyche, scorn their course to stop,
Till they have doubled fair Perfection's Top.
For as the generous Spark is not content
With having climb'd the Air's first stage, since by
The spurring fervor of its natural Bent
Above the third it aims; and needs must die,
Unless it may its high Design atchieve,
And in Fire's elemental bosom live:
So Psyche, who to Excellence's sphere
Steer'd her brave Course, now for a second flight
Her Wings and Resolution did prepare;
Knowing a Third remained still, which might
Her former Venture frustrate; if in this
She coward turn'd, and bow'd to Weariness.
In meekly-daring Zeal, she vow'd to try
The utmost of her strength: and fear'd not what
Mishap might intercept her Bravery:
Though Chance's Wheel in her band rolled not,
In God's it did; And upon This will I
Since he has giv'n me leave, said she, rely.
As sure I am that he can bear me up,
As that, left to my self, I down shall tumble:
Nor can I fail to reach the glorious Top
Of my inflam'd Ambition, whilst I humble
My climbing heart: no longer will I, though
On Earth I live, a Dweller be below.
Logos forthwith appearing at her Call,
With fixed count'nance thus she him bespake:
Thou seest with what exact Obedience all
My vulgar Subjects on their shoulders take
My heavyest yokes; and far, far be it Thou
Who greater art, less Loyalty should'st show.
If common Herbs and Grass can learn to give
Faithful Attendance on their Lord the Sun;
What Candor can the Marigold reprieve
From Censure's shameful Lash, if she alone
Whom Nature joins so near to Him, denies
Her higher Duties' kindly sacrifice?
Could thy best Hopes have ever thought that my
Wild suburb Servants would have found such dear
Content in those sad Loads, whose Novelty
Quite slew at first their jealous hearts with fear?
Yet now Tranquillity and Joy and Bliss
The fruit of my severe Injunctions is.
To brutish Dulness being near of kin,
Their ears disrelish'd Reason's sweetest Plea
And hard it was for heavy them to win
Upon their carnal selves, and bow to Me.
But should'st thou linger so, it monstrous were,
And would with thine own Essence interfere.
Remember but thy noble strength, and dare
To be thy self: no Arrow with such speed
Snatcheth its shortest journey through the Air;
No lightning with such nimble wings can spread
Its self from East to West; as thou canst fly
Ev'n to the crest of all Sublimity.
Abuse not then that brave Activity
By hankering and flagging here below:
Stout-winged Eagles ne'r were made to be
Consorts to flitting Dunghil flies. O how
Wilt Thou thine own worth answer, if thine aim
Thou tak'st beneath thy Self, and thy high Name?
Alas, these sublunary Gewgaws be
So full of Emptiness, that wretched they
Will shrink and crumble into Vanity
When thou begin'st to grasp them: never play
At such poor game, as will but mock thy Pains
So far are they from answering cost with gains.
Learning, which looks so big, and nods Disdain
On course illiterate Swains, could never yet
More than that self-tormenting Wit attain
Of understanding its own Want of Wit:
Whilst simple Souls are never vexed by
Those stinging Checks of learn'd Simplicity.
Yet no disdainful Knower e'r can gain
That Admiration which ambitious He
Hunts for with studious and palefac'd pain,
Unless his Auditors unlearned be.
Art wonders not at Art; 'tis Ignorance's
Staring applause which Learning's fame advances.
How lost are those poor Worms, who though they crawl
On Earth, will needs be traversing Heav'n's Hill:
Where whilst their dazel'd Eyes and Brains do roll,
The spheres with Birds and Beasts and Fish they fill;
And though they talk much of Seav'n others there,
Alas themselves the greatest Planets are.
Nature's Disciples, whose vast Library
In every mine, and every Garden grow,
Ne'r learnt for their own Health's security
Such sure Receipts as each brute Creature knows:
These know, They Guess, and make it plain appear
That Beasts Physicians, Men but Doctors are.
The busy Schools, what are they but perplext
And snarled Mazes, in whose wild Meander
With thousand craggy scrupulous By-paths vext
The everdoubting Student's forc'd to wander?
Learning her self's a Circle, and the Soul
Can find no Rest where she must always roul.
Had any Rest dwelt there, thou hadst not in
Ecclesia's glorious Hall beheld how all
The Patriarchs of Worldly Wit did grin
Upon the Chains which held their Pride in thrall;
And by sad Demonstration made them see
How hard they studied endless fools to be.
What gains reap'st thou thy self when thou didst sow
Thy pains on Nazerene or Cerinthian soil;
When coyly scorning Heav'n's Instruction, thou
Would'st with terrestrial Wisdom needs beguile
Thy better Knowledge? in thy Blush I see
Confession of that costly Vanity.
But ask thy Memory, and she will tell
Thee what thou undertook'st when thou wert freed
From fairtongu'd Heresy's foulhearted Hell:
Of all thy Self mad'st thou not then a Deed
To me? a Deed which still in force doth stand
For sure I am, I cancell'd not the Bond.
And now Performance I require, nor will
I bate a Tittle of the Obligation:
If this strict Course involv'd thee any ill,
I easly would admit thy Deprecation.
But Bound thou art to thine own Happiness,
And Heav'n forbid I thence should thee release.
No such Indulgence must I thee allow
As most malicious Tyranny would be:
Sooner among the clouds shall Dolphins row,
And Eagles flutter through the deepest Sea;
Then I will Accessary be to thy
Enslaving freedom and self-felony.
No; thy perpetual Task henceforth shall be
In Heav'n's soft air thy right-aim'd wings to stretch.
Say not, they are too short; for Constancy
Of Exercise will quickly make them reach,
And thee enable gallantly to rise
And soar amongst the Birds of Paradise.
Amongst those Birds who on the royal face
Of th' everhighnoon Sun of Majesty
In meek audacity devoutly gaze.
Reading his mighty Providential Eye,
And all those splendid Marvels his Dignation
Permitteth to created Contemplation.
Thy endless study thou shalt settle there:
But with this sober caution, that thine eye
Trust not its blear and feeble self too far,
But on that never-erring Glass rely
Which in Ecclesia's Court to thee was given:
Truth's Mirrour, and the Spectacles of Heaven.
There may'st thou meet a Feast, and only there,
Which all thy vast Capacity will fill:
There may'st thou riot in that sacred cheer,
Which would'st thou buy, the whole World could not sell;
That cheer, whose worth's above the World as far
As its Exuberance and Dwelling are.
Leaps not thy Soul at this? If any where
Thy search can once retrieve a worthier Prize
I'l not command thy strength to wrestle here:
But since all Treasures this alone outvies
I must not suffer Scorn to say of thee,
Logos could reason find a fool to be.
And that Anamnesis thine handmaid may
Advance thy brave Adventure, upon Her
My strict and peremptory charge I lay
To see no Trash pollute her Register:
For many a Toy which wears an harmless look,
May cunningly deflower her virgin Book.
Wild fancy would be tame; did she not find
A thousand Shapes of vain and useless Things
Wandring about the storehouse of the mind;
On whose soft backs she gets, and madly flings
About the region of the Brain; when sleep
In her blind arms doth Thee close pris'ner keep.
Those Arts unfortunately-pregnant Wits
Bring forth to wait on Curiosity;
That too-industrious Learning which forgets
Th' eternal Wisdom; that sage foolery
Which puffs up Pharisaick Hearts; that skill
Which with fine froth the Theatre doth fill;
Quaint Legends, fond Romances, wanton Songs:
With idelness's bus'ness, tickling News;
Which swarm so thick upon unwary Tongues,
And man's sole Treasure, precious Time, abuse;
Must not that Bosom clog and pester, where
Heav'n is desir'd to be a Sojourner.
No; Heav'n is large, and our poor Hearts are narrow;
Heav'n will our utmost Stowage fraught, and more.
The spacious breasts of Seraphs could we borrow,
Still in Capacity we should be poor;
Still would our Blisse's eb-defying Tide
Over our highest banks in triumph ride.
Those Notions which their bounden tribute pay
To Sanctity, I will not her forbid:
But yet her Zeal's prime care shall be, to lay
Up store of that pure Heav'n-descended Bread:
Which Manna's famous bounty doth outgive,
And teach frail Men eternal Lives to live.
That Bread which flourish'd from the Month of Bliss,
God's sacred Word consign'd in Scripture; where
Wisdom's best Jewels, and the rich excess
Of deepest Learning, all inshrined are:
That living Mine of Oracles, that spring
Of every sober heart-contenting thing.
Such precious Eloquence ne'r built its hive
On any Roman or Athenian Tongue,
As in this honey-shaming Book doth live:
Such rare ecstatick Sweets were never rung
From humane Poets' love-oppressed Soul,
As in each leaf and line their currents roul.
For what is every leaf, and every line,
But several Chanels through whose bosom glides
The soft and supple Soul of most divine
Most satisfying Truth which welcome bids
All holy Guests, and with unwearied Store
Of royal Pleasures flow for evermore.
Her prudent Bottles must at every one
Of these dear Streams be taught to drink: yet she
Shall with most constant ardent study run
To David's blessed Well; where Suavity
In three times fifty Springs is bubling up,
And liquid Heav'n to thirsty Souls set ope.
Then in the Song of Songs (that is, of Love,
Who there in sacred Wantonness doth play,
Streining his strong inamor'd Notes above
The loftiest spheres most sublimated lay,)
Her pious Revels she may freely make,
And choise of Solomon's best Riches take.
But from the Evangelick fountains she
The readyest floods of Holyness shall draw;
Floods, in whose more than crystal Clarity
Innumerable virgin Graces row;
Floods were Humility, who only hath
All Virtues for her handmaids, joys to bathe.
All Mysteries array'd in Sweetness there,
And Life's own Life, she shall not fail to see:
There God's own Motions in an human sphere
Accommodated to her Weakness, she
Shall safely read; and from the dropping Lip
Of Jesus, how much more than Nectar sip.
And thus laid in; thy Stock so great will be
As well may laugh at any fear of driving
that generous Trade of busy Piety,
And any Doubt of answerable Thriving,
'Tis rotten Wealth makes Bankrupts such, but thine
Estate shall be immortal and divine.
Here Psyche ceas'd. But Logos scratch'd his head,
And muster'd up his contradicting Wit:
Yet her Proposal when he pondered,
And what strong Reasons back'd and flanker'd it;
Finding all Pleas forestall'd, he bow'd in mute
Obedience to what he could not confute.
She, glad on any terms that Logos had
Buckled his shoulders to this noble yoke;
In all his Task a decent method made,
That Time it self might call him to his book;
And turn his leaves and shew him every day
What lesson ready for his study lay.
For sad Experience oft had shewed her
That best Imployments, if not ranked in
A constant Equipage, would enterfere,
And one another's Progress undermine:
That Order is the soul of Bus'ness, and
Supports the Work both of the Brain and Hand.
A glorious Week of Attributes she chose
Among the Deitie's most boundless Treasures;
And press her Sev'n Days to attend them close
Each at his proper cue: Time's constant measures
She meant to count, not by the posting Sun,
But her own Contemplation's Motion.
The Morn which to the World set Sunday ope,
(That Sun's fair Day which did at Salem rise,)
Awak'd her not, but found her ready up
And busy at her work: the reverent eyes
Of Logos wide were ope, and earnestly
Fix'd on the Godhead's wondrous Unity.
Nothing is lac'd so strictly-strait into
It self, as this immeasurable Nature;
That Singularity which seemeth so
Close girt to every Individual Creature;
Hangs loose about them, if they judged be
By this sole Rule of pure Simplicity.
A dull Passivity doth sneaking lie
About the center of the Seraphs' hearts,
Checking those Flames of their Activity
Which seem all spirit: and wheresoever Parts
Can be descry'd, though ne'r so close they run,
Yet still the whole's not absolutely One.
O no! should God dissolve those secret Glues
Which in their strait and spruce subsistence knit
The purest Angels' Natures; that which shews
So strangely single, would in sunder split;
Their wings would moult and melt, their flames would die,
And they themselves from their own selves would fly.
Ev'n Unity it self had never grown
It self, if not shrunk up and model'd by
This Prototype: that Unity, which thrown
About this world, girts up all things which lie
Under the foot of that eternal Throne
On which he reigns, who is supremely One.
Yet not more truly One, than strangely Three,
But knit up in a most mysterious Knot
Of simple singular Triplicity:
Which Psyche, though she comprehended not,
Yet with admiring eyes she dwelt upon,
As Eagles on the Light, the Flame, the Sun.
There she beheld, how infinitely Bold,
And equally Besotted was their sin,
Who in their wild Religion's List inroll'd
A Croud of Gods: she now could easlier win
Upon her Faith, to think that there were none
At all, than yield there could be more than One.
O how she praised and ador'd that high
And burning Jealousy, which though she saw
Flaming with most indignant Ardency
Upon the forehead of the ancient Law;
Till now she knew not so profoundly why
Heav'n most abhor'd Polytheous Piety.
But then embrav'd by meek heroick heat
Nearer and nearer to this Knot she drew;
And prostrate at her mighty Maker's feet
This panting Cry upon his footstool threw:
Great Lord, why may not I with Thee be One,
Though not by Unity, yet by Union!
O, I am now a thousand Things a day!
But were I once to Thee intirely join'd;
No Objects should thy Psyche steal away,
Nor into their vain selves transform my mind:
Thy self, and mine I should behold in Thee,
And all things else I could desire to see.
So I no longer should this moment be
All Hope, and nothing else but Fear the next:
So by no Checker of pure Clarity,
And gloomy Doubting, should I still be vext:
So to it self my Life no more shall give
The Lye, nor I be Dying while I Live.
The next Day's Dawn her meditations drew
On her adored Master's Truth to feed;
Truth so supreme and infinitely true,
As Seas of boundless satisfaction shed
Upon her Intellect; whose daintiest Feast
By Truth alone is furnished and drest.
Solid substantial Treasures here she saw,
To which all other Beings, shadows are;
And found compulsive Reason to avow
This maxim which astounds a natural ear;
That God is in such sovereign Certainty
Himself, that Nothing truely is, but He.
The Universe's Fulness being founded
On Emptiness's self, it cannot be
More real than its Bottom: what is grounded
On frothy Bubbles, sticks to Vanity
Close by the roots: and seeing All Things came
From Nothing's womb, they must be like their Dame.
Hence, when a quickpac'd Intellect doth trace
The lines of any Creature's Essence, though
At first it meets with what presents a face
Of solid Something; it will quickly grow
To its vain journey's end; and stopped be
By huge Abysses of Vacuity.
But when it launcheth forth into the Sea
Of increased Nature, it can sail
Through true and genuine substantiality
Which never will its contemplation fail
By terminating Want's ignoble shore,
But lets it drive its Course for evermore.
And in this blessed Ocean Psyche met
Such vast Reality, that in disdain
She call'd the World, and all that swell'd in it,
A mighty lye, dress'd up and trim'd with vain
Embellishments; whose outside flatteries
Make blear-ey'd credulous fools Delusion's prize.
Yet far more Sweets her Third Day did afford;
For then her Speculation fix'd its Eye
Upon the royal Goodness of her Lord,
The fountain of unbounded Suavity;
A fountain which it self at home doth fill,
And through the Universe its Influence thrill.
For as the Sun on every Star doth poure
The Bounty of his inexhausted beams;
Inriching them with his illustrious store,
Who else could ne'r have kindled their own flames:
So all the Raies of Goodness which are read
In Creatures' eyes, are but the Sparks of God.
Meer Sparks indeed, who of their Weakness by
Their twinckling Tremor plain confession make:
But God's supreme original Bonity
Doth from its Home its vast demensions take:
It lives, and flames in his most boundless Breast,
And fills with sweetest fulness all its Nest.
Here Thelema leap'd in, and clearly found
That God alone was absolutely Good:
Fain, fain she would her ravish'd self have drown'd
In this delicious Attribute's dear flood;
But Psyche rein'd her Zeal; whose life she meant
Should in another sacrifice be spent.
Her fourth Day's task was wondrous hard and high;
For now her thoughts adventured to look
Upon the Volumes of Immensity,
The seal'd though ope, the plain though mystick Book
Of her grand Lord's Extent: a Book which made
The World to less than its first Nothing fade.
But as her Contemplations wander'd here,
The further they went on, the further they
Were from the end of their most endless sphere,
Loosing themselves in their increasing Way:
Yet Psyche felt her heart take dear delight
Thus to be lost from morning unto night.
Oh did she cry, what though by loosing, I
Am fain to find; by being Blind, to see?
What though I cannot Comprehend, but by
Granting my want of due Capacity?
I am content, my God, since I by this
Negation thy greatness best confess.
I see thou art Immense and Infinite,
And therefore See thee not; yet see thee more
By this unable and denying Sight,
Than they whose saucy Eyes dare by the poor
Comparison of whatsoe'r it be
Express the Measure of thy Deity.
But since thou art so vast, O mighty Lord,
Whence is't, that Man's scant narrow Heart to Thee
An acceptable Dwelling can afford!
How is it, that thy Love's Immensity
Shrinks up thy Nature's! which is yet as great
As 'twas before, ev'n in this Little seat.
And O, may Psyche's Breast become the Scene
Of this dear Wonder! thy Infinitude
Can no where find a Mansion so mean,
So low, so disproportion'd to include
What knows no bounds: O then inhabit me,
And so shall I be sure to dwell in thee.
The fifth Day summon'd all her Might, to view
That matchless Power of pure Divinity.
Strait in her face the whole Creation flew
With witness of its Author's Strength, which she
Read from the fairest Heav'n's sublimest Crest
Down to the gloomy Center's lowest Nest.
Yet though the universal fabrick were
The full Expansion of Magnificence;
She often chose the smallest Character
Of close short-writ Epitomies; and thence
Observ'd God's finger-work in smallest flies,
As great as was his Arm's in widest Skies.
But Man took up her deepest Admiration:
Man that rich Extract of all things beside,
That wonderous Juncture of the whole Creation,
By which the Heav'n to Earth is strangely ty'd;
Yea more than so, for God unto the Creature
Is married by none but Human Nature.
Such comely Architecture, such Concent
Of fair Proportions, such Variety
Of well-agreeing Rooms, such Ornament
Of Softness, Politure and Colour, she
Observed here, as fully taught her why
Man was enthron'd in Nature's Sovereignty.
Yet not content thus at the second hand
To feast her hungry Meditations; she
Gallantly made a further Venture, and
Gaz'd on her Maker's naked Potency;
Where she discover'd strength enough to build
More Worlds than Atoms she in this beheld.
Nor Bounds nor Bars she saw, which could forbid
The Pleasure of his Hand, but only those
Which Contradiction had established:
Yet serv'd not they his Power to inclose,
But to demonstrate that his noble Might
Could nothing do but what was true and right.
O how she pitied those gay Princes, who
Upon exterior helps misplace the Name
Of Strength: and dread not what all foes can do,
If they have once prevail'd with vaunting fame
To publish to the World their numerous force
Of Castles, Ships, Arms, Money, Men, and Horse.
For what are those swollen words to any King,
Whose Arm's as short, whose sinews are as weak
As those of his mean Peasants; who can bring
No Legions into the field, nor wreak
His challeng'd fury on his ready Fo,
If his be not his Subjects' Pleasure too?
Can his sole Word the battle fight, and wrest
The Laurel from the strugling Enemies?
O no! his Power doth more in Others rest
Than in Himself; and if by Mutiny's
Unhappy spark, Rebellion's flame burst out,
By his own forces his defeat is wrought.
But Psyche saw how her Creator's Might
Fast to his proper Will alone was chain'd;
Omnipotence, whene'r he pleased to fight
Led up his Van, for in his Hand it reign'd;
In that vast hand which doth support and stay
All other Arms from mouldering away.
Yet though thus Potent, He is also Mild,
And she as such the Sixth Day him admired:
She sadly weighed, how all Ages held
One Principle of Boldness, and conspired
Against their Patient God, as if his strong
Right-hand were bound because He held his Tongue.
Amaz'd she stood, to mark how He kept under
Incensed Justice, who would fain have thrown
His ready Vengeance dress'd in dreadful Thunder,
In Wars, Plagues, Deluges, Drought, Famin, down
Upon the wretched heads and hearts of those
Who durst in spight of Mercy, be his foes.
Indeed she saw that Mercy fix her eye
Upon the Rainbow; where she sweetly read
An Obligation of her Lenity,
Though Hell-encourag'd Sin bore up its head
As high as Heav'n: yet by her own consent,
Yea and desire, that signal Bow was bent.
The Bow was bent; yet not to shoot, but show
How Mercy bound her self to do her best
The world to shelter from a second Blow,
Which from the first her only Hand releast.
Else had the Deluge not repented, and
To Earth made restitution of dry Land.
Else had the vaster flood of fire e'r now
Broke from the banks of Fate, and over run
Not only Nature's Colonies below
But all the fairly-spread Plantation
Of highest Stars, and this condemned World
Into its final funeral Ashes hurl'd.
This Speculation inform'd her how
Much more heroick is the Victory,
When Sweetness wreaths the Bay aboout the brow,
Than when plain force snatches it thither: He
In whom are both supreme, takes more delight
In conquering by his Mercy, than his Might.
And O may I, said she, (when Night at length
Warn'd this her Meditation to conclude,)
Not by the dint of thy enraged Strength,
Dear Lord, but by thy Mercy be subdu'd!
If on a Worm thy Power thou wilt try
O let it be the Might of Lenity!
But then each Seav'nth Day brings her thoughts their Cue,
The Wonders of his Glory to behold,
Which from the six preceding did accrew,
And Brightness's Excess about him roll'd:
Wonders which gave Heav'n's Quire their Task to sing
Eternal Hallelujahs to their King.
And ravish'd here with mighty Joy and Love,
She took with entheous Them her part of Praise;
With utmost Zeal's intension she strove
Her Acclamations to their Key to raise:
And though she could not Sing so high nor clear
Her hearty Musick pleas'd Heav'n's candid ear.
She Thought, and Sung, and then she thought again
For still new floods came rushing in upon her:
God's other Attributes' illustrious Train
Themselves in homage pay unto his Honor;
In whose incomparable Vastness they
Can all their now Infinitudes display.
Whatever breaths, or lives, or owns the least
Share of Existence, constant Tribute brings
To this bright Treasury, as well's the best
And fairest Cherub: yea ev'n empty things,
Defects and Sins, though not by Doing, yet
By Suff'ring what they merit, render it.
And shall my duty faint and pining be,
When all the World besides so fruitfull is?
Forbid it mighty King of Souls, said she;
Let not thy Psyche's heart the glory miss
Of honoring Thee, yea though my Life it Cost
That Life's best Saved which for Thee is lost.
In these high Roads thus did her restless soul
Renew her fervent Journeys day by day:
And as the Sun perpetually doth roul
From East to West, yet still in Heav'n doth stay;
So loftier-moving she in God alone
Still found her happy self where-e'er she ran.
Thus having spent, or rather gain'd, some years,
She chang'd her task, but not her Industry:
For her meek Contemplation she prepares
To wait upon her Spouse's Majesty;
And those sweet Marvails of his Love to read
Which over her, and all the World, was spread.
And here with sympathetick Exultation
In amorous flames she strove her heart to melt;
For in the tract of every speculation
His Acts and Passions in her heart she felt,
Which always sad, or cheerly was, as she
His Sorrows or his Joys in thought did see.
A Pilgrimage much longer now she went,
And travell'd all the way with more divine
Delight, than when she from her Britain bent
Her zealous Course to holy Palestine:
Longer she dwelt on every Monument
Of what her Lord for her had done, or spent.
For then her Soul ran gazing to her Eye,
But now her Eye did to her Soul retreat:
And in that mystick Holy Land descry
Those Monuments all copied by the sweet
Art of Devotion, but exposed to
No dangerous Ambush of Cerinthian Fo.
A thousand times she sigh'd and wonder'd why
Brisk generous Spirits, who hunt for noble Stories
Through all Books else, should not be ravish'd by
The Lustre of the Evangelick Glories;
But more exactly strive to know the List
Of Cesar's Acts, than what was done by Christ.
But more she marvell'd how a Christian Heart,
Which scorn'd to give its blessed Name the Lye,
Could possibly forbear to snatch its part
In its Redemer's sacred History:
How Love could quit its loyal self, and yet
Not know whatever of its Spouse was writ.
Yet all this while on Logos's Wings she flew,
(Though Thelema sometimes would flutter by,)
And these were much too short and weak, she knew,
To tower and double that sublimity;
Which makes Perfection's third and highest story,
The Crown of Saints, and all the Angels' Glory.
On Thelema, to practice therefore now
Her Wit, she set, by charming Courtesy,
Contriving how her mighty Heart to bow,
And make it plyant to the Plot, which she
Had lay'd to Catch her into Bliss: and then
She gently grasp'd her hand, and thus began:
O Thou, the dearest of my Servants, who
Command'st the Keys of all that I possess;
Yea and of Me thy native Sovereign too,
Who have no power to stir abroad, unless
Thou op'st the door; how much I wish, that I
Had more to trust with thy Fidelity.
But since I neither am, nor have no more,
Let this suffice to bind thy heart to Me:
In gratitude Thou canst no less restore
Than press Compliance, though I ask of thee
Some hard and costly service, so to prove
The rate and value of my Steward's Love.
But I my proper Interest can bate,
And by my Subjects' Gains account mine own:
Whate'r Advantages inhance their State,
In my repute will higher build my Crown.
They are my Riches, nor can I be poor
So long as thriving They increase their store.
All my Desire's no more than this: That thou
Would'st venture highest Happiness to reap;
And now dull Sense and Passion valiant grow,
Now Logos daily up to heav'n doth leap;
Not flinch alone, nor be content to stay
In any lower Region than They.
Remember that thy Wings of Strength are made;
No flight's too high or long for metall'd Thee:
No hard Design e'r made thy Courage fade,
Unless thy Self did'st timorously agree
To thy Defeat: such thine Advantage is,
If Win thou Wilt, to Win thou canst not miss.
Jesus, the sovereign Lord of Thee and Me,
Will give thee leave to make himself thy Prey:
Reach then thine Arms of noble Love, that He
Imprisoned in thy Embraces, may
For ever make thee Free, and with the best
Of Heav'n fill up and deify thy breast.
If this Adventure thou esteem'st too high,
Throw down thy self before his blessed Feet;
He cannot let thee there despised lie,
But will thy Homage with Acceptance greet;
And for that Resignation of thine,
His gracious Self to Thee again Resign.
This gallant Challenge wrought so strong upon
The generous heart of Thelema, that She
The forward Proof of her Submission
Shot instantly from her low-banded Knee;
And Heav'n forbid, she cry'd, I should deny
Your Pleasure, or mine own Felicity.
Though not at Jesus's royal feet, (O no,
I am too vile to aim my Pride so high,)
Yet, Madam, all my Self at your's I throw
To be accepted, and disposed by
Your Love and Wisdom; use me as you please,
Lo I return you yours, and mine own Keys.
Triumphant Joy strait flam'd in Psyche's breast
The Virgin's ready Loyalty to see:
Whom she embraced thrice, and thrice she kist,
And sweetly forc'd to bate her humble knee.
Her welcome Keys she then to her own side
(Weeping and smiling) in a loveknot ty'd.
And now I feel my self a Queen, said she,
Queen of my Self: yet be assured Thou,
O faithful Maid, shalt find thy self more free
By this subjection, than when thou did'st bow
To thine own blind and rash Desires; which have
Made thee too oft to Vanity a Slave.
Exalted thus to her own Wishes' Crest,
Into her pious Oratory She
With Throngs of Vows impatiently prest,
To celebrate a new Solemnity:
An Holocaust she had to sacrifice,
For which her own stout Zeal the Fire supplies.
Did golden Mountains tempt her now to stay;
Did Millions of Worlds made up in one
Inestimable Bait, smile in her way,
And woo her but to let one Minute run
Before her work; not all th' inchanting force
Of those strong Complements could stop her Course.
No; she of joyous Love in travail is,
And feels the pangs of dainty Parturition
Till forth she brings her mighty Sacrifice,
'Tis not all Heav'n can ease her smart condition.
Speed, Speed alone could gratify her now:
Speed's wings she snatch'd, and to her bus'ness flew.
So fast she flew, that she outstript the Thought
Of all the World, which now she left behind her
No other Work but what she went about
Lay in her Fancie's shop: Self could not mind her
Of her own self; for, totally on fire,
She nothing was but what she did desire.
A Preface of a thousand Sighs and Tears
Before her brave Oblation she spread;
As many mystick Groans to Jesus's ears
Like Harbingers of her design she speed:
Then prostrate on the ground her Face she laid,
And of her humbler Heart the Altar made.
Upon this Altar, bound both hands and feet,
Her Thelema she for the Offring threw:
And, bend thy gracious Eye, she cry'd, thou sweet
Compassionate Lamb of Heav'n, to Me, who sue
For thy Acceptance of this Sacrifice,
Which at the footstool of thy Mercy lies.
Thy royal Bounty gave this Will to Me;
But I have long long found my self too weak
To manage such a great Estate: to Thee
I therefore render it. O gently take
It home again, and govern it for Me
The feeble Handmaid of thy Majesty.
Do with't whate'r thou wilt; so it be Thine
I care not what betide it; since I know
Thy Pleasure, like thy Self, must be Divine.
O see, see how it pants and heaves! if Thou
Wilt not accept it, let it lie, for me;
How can I love what is despis'd by Thee
Never did Lightning flashing from the skie
Rush down and flame to Earth with less delay,
Than did the Fervor of this Prayer flie,
And snatch from thence to Heav'n its sudden way;
Nor made it there a stop at any Sphere,
But scour'd through all and reached Jesus's ear.
Propitious He strait yielded his Consent,
And opening wide his blessed Arms, embraced
His Psyche's Offring with as high Content,
As if Himself had more than She been graced.
O King of sweetest Love, what Contemplation
Can stand enough amaz'd at thy Dignation!
But zealous she now striving up to send
Her Altar after her brave Sacrifice;
Perceiv'd a suddain Plenitude extend
Her bosom with such ravishing Rarities;
That she perplext with unknown sweets, admired
With what strange Paradise she was inspired
At length examining her incroaching Bliss,
Another Thelema in her heart she spyed;
But in so lovely and majestick Dress,
That whence she came she by her Looks descryed,
And most profoundly felt she could by none
Be sent, but by her heav'nly Spouse alone.
His Will it was, indeed: for noble He
Not to Return, more than he Takes, disdains;
In lieu of Psyche's Offring, instantly
This Present, which more precious Worth contains
Than Heav'n and Earth, from his own bosom's nest
He delicately shot into her breast.
This grasp'd her soul so fast, and knit it so
Intirely to her Spouse's heart, that She
Strait seemed to have nothing more to do
With Psyche's Interest, since potent He
Was seized of her; and of self bereft,
She now to Love's sole Tyranny was left.
Nor lost great Love his time, but domineer'd
In her subdued heart with full carreer;
And she as glad to be his Slave appear'd
As he rejoyced to triumph on Her.
For by his Conquests counted she her own,
Being by every Fall far higher thrown.
Thrown up to new strange stages of Delight,
And fresh Excess of those immortal Things
Which never were debas'd to mortal sight,
Nor stoop'd to please the Ears of proudest Kings:
Things which the largest heart of Man with vain
Indeavor pants and stretches to contain.
O no; spiritual mystick Joys, although
They in the Bosom's inmost Closet dwell,
Their Habitation's limits overflow,
And past the shores of Comprehension swell.
Lost in her Gains was Psyche, and by this
Riddle of Solace made her Prize's Prize.
And now her Soul, much like a weaned Child
Which wholly hangs upon his Nurse's Will,
It self not by it self did move and wield,
But absolutely resting on the Skill
And Care of her dear Lord who tutor'd it,
Was carried wheresoever He thought fit.
This made all Sweets and Dainties here below
(For with such Names our fond Mistaks will grace them)
Disrellish in her accurate Sense, and grow
Truly themselves: which was enough to chase them
From wise Acceptance; for their borrow'd shape
Is that alone which do's our love entrap.
On God her only Joys she chose to feast;
His Pleasure was her sole and precious Bliss;
Her heart's sage Palate found such savory Taste
In all His Statutes, that the Pleasantness
Both of the Honey and the Honey-comb
Lost in her approbation all their room.
What grated hardest on her Soul before,
Wrongs, Slanders, Pains, Distress, Calamities,
Mishaps, and Sickness tortur'd her no more;
For by her Spouse's beck she mov'd her eyes,
And still embrac'd as Best whatever
He Did either Order, or Permit, to be.
This kindled such a Bonfire of Delight
Throughout her breast, that had she been invited
For goodly Paradise to yield her Right
In this Possession, she would strait have slighted
The mighty lure, and triumph'd still to be
The Holocaust of Love's Extremity.
Yet was her Passion's wondrous Violence
Sweetned with such divine Serenity;
That with less undisturbed influence
The Sun's full Beams about the Welkin flie
To light the Day, than did these Flames of Love
Through all her Heart's calm quiet rigions move.
In dainty Silence she her Soul possest
With firm Adhesion to her secret Bliss;
Ev'n all her motions mingled were with Rest,
Because they still concentered with His;
Whose Actions, though all Infinite they be,
Their number up is ty'd in Unity.
Mean while the World, whom her Austerity
Could not but check and sting; by peevish scorn
Reveng'd themselves: for lo, said they, how she
By Melancholy's blackness grown forlorn,
Esteems her self as fair as if the best
Of heav'n's bright Beauties had her count'nance drest.
In proud Retirement her Content she mews,
And doggedly Reserv'd disdains to hold
Fair Correspondence, or as much as use
The Courtsy of her Friends: as if she could
Not keep the Statutes of her God, but by
Breaking the Laws of all Civility.
146. She from her self by wilful Robbery
Plunders those honest sweets which gracious Heav'n
To check Life's Tide of Infelicity
Hath into Moderation's bosom given;
And taxeth God's own Bounty, by Refusing
What Men cannot approve but by their Using.
Should any paltry Begger venture so
To serve her Ladyship, could she surmise
That both the thankless Gift, and Giver too
He scorned not? scarce would his humble Guise
Persuade her that his Stomach's inward Pride
Was by Devotion's Fervor Mortify'd.
Thus did the Ravens against the Swan Inveigh:
But now no seeds of Discontent remain'd
In Psyche's heart: she let them say their Say,
And from their Envy this new Laurel gain'd:
Her silent Patience answer'd all their Scorn,
And to her Crown their Calumnies did turn.
But as she reigned in this mystick Peace;
Her's, and all pious Souls' eternal Fo,
Counting his own Vexations by her Ease,
Tore his fell heart with studying what to do.
At length resolv'd, he hastes, the Uglyness
Of his Design, in Beauty's Mask to dress.
Time was, when He Precentor of that Quire
Which all the Spheres with Hallelujahs fill,
Arrayed was in glorious Attire,
Whose gallantry did then become him well:
But when he Discord sung, and Rebel turn'd
That Crime for him his hideous Blackness earn'd.
Yet he remembring his original guise,
And skill'd in cunningest Hypocrisy,
Patch'd up himself a Coat of gorgeous Lies,
And many a comely Trapping got; whereby,
Though He the Sovereign were of foulest Night,
He might an Angel seem of fairest Light.
His ragged Horns of steel he plucked in
And on his rusty brazen Count'nance spread
A soft, a ruddy, and welpolish'd skin;
His Front, with envious wrinckles furrowed,
He planed over, sweetning all his Face
With blooming Youthfulness, and smiling Grace.
Into a knot he gathered up his Tail,
And ty'd it at his back; of every Toe
And Finger carefully he cut the Nail;
And then his Hands and Feet he painted so
That what before was harsh and sooty, now
Usurped cleanly Daintiness's hue.
The glaring Pitch of his wide-flaming Eyes
To moderate and comely Beams he turned;
Beams which profess'd Cognation with the Skies,
And like the highest Stars' pure glances burned.
He borrowed both Arabia's Gales and Spice
His Breath's rank Sulphure to aromatize.
His bushy snarled Locks of fretful Snakes
He shaved off from his more angry Head;
By whose advice into the Tomb he breaks
Of an embalmed Virgin lately dead;
And stealing thence her fresh-perfumed Tresses
His Baldness he with Curles of Amber dresses.
An hundred Swans then having plundered
Their fairest and their softest feathers he
In two brave Combinations marshalled,
And measured and poised equally;
Which to his shoulders close he fitted, and
A pair of goodly Wings had at command.
A Robe he chose whose colour scorn'd the Milk,
And with his Wings did correspondence hold;
Its texture was of light and pliant silk
Belac'd and fring'd with oriental Gold:
That both its Pureness and its splendor might
Maintain, that down from Heav'n he took his flight.
Accouter'd thus; whilst Psyche wearied by
Her holy Vigils, yielded unto sleep;
Into her chamber softly stole the sly
Impostor, and found out a way to creep
Under the eyelids of her heart, where He
Himself presented in his Pageantry.
But when she started and awoke: fear not
Said cunning He, for Phylax is thy friend:
These Raies of mine did never Terror shoot,
But to thy Weakness Strength and Comfort lend:
And Heav'n forbid that I should prove unkind
Now thou my favor most deserv'st to find.
The gallantry of thy Devotion I
Come to applaud, and to increase its fire:
I grant thy zealous Wings have towred high,
But yet thy Spouse would have them labour higher,
And as immoderate in their Answer prove
As is the Challenge of his boundless Love.
Has not thy Soul now chose her worthy station
Far far above this groveling World below?
Has not the Virtue of thy last Oblation
Clasp'd thee close to thy God? how then canst thou
Any ignoble Solecism bear,
And make thy Motion lower than thy sphere?
The Watches frequent are and long, which thou
In dear attendance upon Him dost keep;
Yet oftner generous He, and longer too
To purchase Rest for thee did loose his sleep.
Be active now, remembring thou shalt have
Sufficient sleeping time in thy still grave.
Low hast thou pluck'd thy Bodie's plumes; but He
Was rent and torn and furrow'd up with lashes:
Shall not the Zeal of thy Austerity
Be legible in correspondent Gashes?
I know thou lovest not thy skin; but yet
'Twere not amiss thus much were writ on it.
Severe and resolute thy fastings be
If scanned by the faint World's vulgar fashion;
But forty Days He deign'd to fast for thee,
And now expects thy faithful Imitation:
As well he may, who an eternal feast
To quit a few days' fast, in Heav'n has drest.
Since then he means that thou with us shalt reign,
Betimes it will become thee to prepare
Thy self for our Society, and strein
Out all the dregs thou hast contracted here;
That raised to our Purity, thy Soul
May in Angelick Orbs for ever roul.
By Moses and Elias, who beheld
But at a distance Jesus's glimmering face,
Shall Psyche be in Abstinence excell'd?
Can she, on whom the Evangelick Grace
With such full lustre beats, by those whom blind
And shady Types envelop'd, be outshin'd?
O no; dear Pupil; since thy generous breast
Dar'd wish to be inflamed by that fire
Whose Aim's Perfection; let no lazy Rest
Beclog the Wings of thy sublime Desire.
What though thy death it hastens? Thou and I
To life's fair Realm shall but the sooner fly.
Thus sought the wily Tempter to invite
The Virgin to a fair-fac'd Precipice;
But as the Lamb's inspir'd by natural fright
To hate the Wolf, though in the honest fleece
Of mildest sheep he trim his spight's adventure,
And with the smoothest flattery complement her.
So Psyche's heart (for Heav'nly Charis there
Close in the center of her Soul did lie,)
Misgave her at the sight, and quak'd for fear
Of this strange Angel's uncooth Courtesy:
For all his dainty looks and skin, yet she
Assured was, it could not Phylax be.
None of those soft and blessed Heats she felt,
Which sweetly when her genuine Phylax spake
Did all her breast into Compliance melt,
And way for their own gentle Conquests make:
Besides, the Voice, though scrued to appear
Divine, seem'd something out of tune to Her.
Too high it seem'd, and of too fond a strein;
Still was her Spouse's musick wont to be:
Sweet Gospel notes, whose mildly-charming chain.
Drew by the strength of thrilling Suavity.
Nor knew she why He suddenly should raise
Into a Trumpet's Roar his gentle Layes.
Besides; had mighty He this Message sent,
She knew her Heart (which now did pant and move
By His sole motions,) must needs relent,
And by submission his Commands approve.
But now she by reluctant Nauseousness
Felt, whosoe'r it were, 'twas none of His.
Awaking therefore her wise Confidence,
And with three Invocations having sued
Her Saviour to engage in her Defence,
Upon her faithful forehead she renewed
His potent Sign; and then with courage cry'd,
In Light's fair looks why dost thou Darkness hide?
Fair is thy face's Preachment to mine Eye,
But yet thy Tongue's foul Language to mine Ear
Sounds nothing less than Phylax: wherefore hie
Thee hence, false feint, and seek thy booty where
A beauteous Count'nance, and a snowy Pair
Of wings, the full proof of an Angel are.
I know my Debt to my great Lord, is high;
Yet I no more can pay him then I have:
For his dear sake I more that once could Die.
Yet must I not Destroy what He do's save.
O no; Heav'n gives no such Advice, but Hell,
Our selves in meer Devotion to kill.
As when the Sun's stout beams burst out upon
A waxen Idol, straight its goodly face
Too weak to bear that glorious Dint, doth run
Away in droyling Drops, and fouls the place
Which it adorn'd: so Satan melted at
The fervent Answer noble Psyche shot.
Off drops his Coat, his Perriwig, his Wings,
His roseal Vizard, and his milky skin:
And in the room of those usurped Things
His proper shape of Horridness began
To clothe him round: at which indignant he,—
Least Psyche should triumph his shame to see,—
Tore his way down to Hell, in cursed Night
His baffled Head and his Disgrace to hide:
A thousand Stinks behind him at his flight
He left: and being tumbled home, he try'd
Upon the Souls which in his brimstone Lake
All yelling lay, his vexed spight to wreak.
But as the Victor, those quaint spoils admired
Which dropped from her beauteous-hideous Fo,
And with her Sacrifice of Thanks aspired
Unto the footstool of her Saviour, who
Had in that fight her faithful Champion been;
Her old unfeigned Phylax flutter'd in.
O how her heart leap'd at the welcome sight,
And thus broke from her lips! Thou, thou art He,
I knew thee at the dawning of thy light
In which no fauning lurks, nor fallacy:
Spare all Probations: Thou need'st not tell
Me who thou art; I know my Phylax well.
This said; her self before his feet she threw,
Which hugging fast, she welcom'd with a kiss.
He gave his Passion leave a while to shew
The meek impatience of this sweet Excess:
Then up he took her, and return'd upon
Her Lip, what that unto his feet had done.
And, Joy, said he, my valiant Dear, of thy
Victorious Encounter with thy Fo:
That goodly furniture of Treason I
As well as Thou who art the Victor, know:
I saw the pilfering Traytor when he pickt
It up, and when his ugly self he trickt.
Close at his heels I follow'd him when he
His forgery advanc'd, and hither flew:
I was spectator when he stormed thee,
And in Heav'n's Name his Hell against thee drew:
Unseen I saw the dangerous battle, and
By it I stood, but aided not thy Hand.
No; thy dear Spouse, who never can forget
His humble faithful Servants, that supply
Of Power provided, and conveyed it
By ever-ready Charis's ministry.
I claim no share; thy Thanks and Praises are
Intirely due to none but Him and Her.
Thou find'st how bountifully they repay
The loyalty of thy sublime Devotion;
And what thou gain'st by giving Thelema
To Him, who will not be in debt. Thy station
Is now secure, unless thou back shalt start,
And fondly home again recal thy Heart.
Surely thou never hadst so much thy Will
As since thou hadst it not: for all things now
Throughout the Universe thy mind fulfil,
And Nature's Laws to thy great Pleasure bow;
Because thy Pleasure's not thine own, but His
Who of Omnipotence the Sovereign is.
That dainty Peace thou valuedst so high,
Hath now its lodging taken in thy breast;
Nor could the Tempter's deepest Subtilty
Disturb thy Calm or undermine thy Rest,
Be then content for ever to possess
By holding fast thine hold, thine Happiness.
For if thou let it slip, and weary grow
Of blessed Ease, it soon will fly away:
No Certainly inhabits here below
In this unstable flitting World; and they
Alone dwell out of Change's reach, who are
Infeof'd above in endless Quiet's sphere.
Take heed no desperate Logick make thee be
Most dangerously secure: O never dream
That thou by God's Immutability
Unalterable prov'st; for still the same
Will He remain, though from this Bliss's brink
Thou start'st, and fall'st into Perdition's sink.
Tis true, those everlasting chains which tie
Heaven's Destinations to their Ends, excel
All Adamantine firmitude, and by
No opposition of Earth or Hell
Are forced to betray their hold: yet this
No ground of Confidence to Mortals is.
For those Decrees profoundly treasur'd are
In His dread bosom which no Angel's eye
Dares peep into. This maketh pious fear,
Religious Awe and holy Jealousy;
The only Anchors which Assurance can
Afford unto the tossed heart of Man.
And this to him Heav'n's favour is; least he
Should bold and careless grow, if once he saw
The Patent of his own felicity
Were sign'd and seal'd so sure, that by the Law
Of absolute Necessity, he through
All Tempests safely to his Port must row.
For then should he be but a thankless slave
To Bliss; whose Crown for none prepared is
But them who venture at it by the brave
Ambition of Humble Holiness:
Then if he lists, his mighty God might he
Disdain, and dare him with his own Decree.
O then With reverend Dread march on my Dear,
In this Design of thy high Virtue; and
Think it sufficient Happiness, if here
Thy Fear can Desperation countermand;
If thou by Trembling canst Victorious grow,
And meet thy Laurel with a sweating Brow.
As for these Spoils, the Trophies they shall be
Of what by Love's assistance thou best done:
These Memorandums of thy Victory
May keep awake thy wise Devotion:
Lo here I hang them up; and if again
The Serpent hither creep, shew him his skin.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 2:164-77]