Christ grants Satan permission to try Psyche, and Persecution — recalling Spenser's Duessa — arrives in Britain with a splendid train of allegorical associates. Psyche's friend Uranius is martyred, and she is thrown into a prison from which she is rescued by Phylax.
Herbert E. Cory: "After one more vain attempt Satan resorts to a supreme trial. 'Thus came the monster to his dearest Place | On Earth, a Palace wondrous large and high, | Which on seav'n Mountains' heads enthroned was.' Here our fantastic poet attacks religious persecution in the manner of Phineas Fletcher's onslaught on Catholicism in The Appolyonists and even more closely in imitation of Spenser's House of Pride. The exterior walls are of dead men's bones surrounded by a ditch filled with innocent bloody Satan finds the castle's queen, Persecution, and embraces her with great joy. She promises to proclaim pardon to all who will repent Christianity and come to her. Her departure with her hosts is described in close imitation of Spenser's great pageant of the Seven Deadly Sins. It is the first Spenserian attempt to reproduce the master's great picture of his abstractions of evil in motley procession, mounted on the backs of uncouth beasts.... On the brazen chariot sat the dreadful queen as, in Spenser, Pride sat in her car drawn by the six unequal beasts of the other Sins.... Her infernal brood followed her: Ravishment, riding upon a goat, Heresy on a Hydra, and many others" "Spenser, the Fletchers, and Milton" UCPMP 2 (1912) 339-40.
Still Satan wars on Psyche's Constancy;
Both by his own and Persecution's Hand;
But most impregnably resolved She
Their Mines and Onslates doubts not to withstand;
Until her Guardian by a blessed Cheat
Enforc'd her to a glorious Retreat.
Their Nest though Joys, and Loves, and Blisses make,
In Peace's bosom; oftentimes beneath
That Surface of Security a Snake
His unsuspected Venome sheltereth:
For 'tis an everlasting Statute, that
No genuine Rest can here below be got.
Else Glory's Favorite, admired He
Who reign'd on Peace's, Plenty's, Wisdom's, throne,
Had compassed Content's serenity,
And in his Joys found Ease: but Solomon
Could neither with his Brain nor Treasure free
His great Self from Vexation's Vanity.
The Creatures courteous Faithlessness, who still
Shrink from our grasping hands and cheat our Hope;
Admonish our Desires themselves to fill
At those pure springs of fulness, which stand ope
In Heav'n alone, and never fancy here
Complete Delights and Satisfaction's Sphere.
This makes courageous hardy Exercize
Dearer to Virtue than is lazy Quiet;
Hence she so highly Patience learns to prize,
And constantly her self with Suffrings diet;
That this sharp sauce may wholesomly repress
Of Peace's Sweets and Fat, the Fulsomness.
Affliction is the only School where she
Is Magnaminity's brave Lessons taught:
The Theatre on which her Gallantry
Before the royal Eyes of Heav'n is brought;
Where of her Acting both the Angels, and
The Angels' Sovereign Spectators stand.
Full well she knows that stealing Rust will creep
Upon the briskest Sword, if lazily
In his blind quiet sheath he lies asleep,
And be not rubb'd, nor chaf'd, nor vexed by
Harsh scouring, churlish whetting, or kept bright
By its perpetual bus'ness in the Fight.
That never Horse was made of so much fire,
Nor temper'd for so proud impatient speed,
Though Pegasus had been his sprightful Sire,
Or Titan's fiercest heav'n-devouring Steed,
But if he stirr'd not from his fat and lusty
Manger and Rack, would soon prove lame and resty.
That purest Air, if in Tranquillity
It loiters in the Sun, will putrid grow:
But when 'tis startled and afflicted by
Thunder and Lightning: when it feels the blow
Of boistrous winds; its drowsy dull Disease
Wakes at the frightful News, and vanishes.
That sluggish Lakes which alway sleeping lie
Upon their easy beds of Mud, beget
Of Toads and Stinks a nasty Progeny:
But those brisk busy Rills, which, though beset
With craggy Hindrances, still struggle through,
Preserve their Worth, and clean and limpid flow.
That never Soil was so ingenuous yet,
But, if not duly worried, digg'd and plow'd,
Harrow'd and torn, and forced to be fit
By such sharp usage; with a rampant Croud
Of useless Thorns and Thistles would defeat
All hopes of honest advantageous Wheat.
That never Tree was known so thrifty, as
To spare his juice and husband it aright;
But on loose idle Suckers would misplace
The careless Bounty of his verdant Might;
Until the disciplining Pruner's Hook
Lopp'd of those Wantons, and reform'd the Stock.
That if the goodliest Watch be not wound up;
In vain the curious Wheels are glib and fit,
Even and stout the String; in vain that shop
Of artificial life is clean and neat;
The Virtue of the Spring, alas, is drie,
The Hand turns only lame, the Quick doth die.
That finest Vestments, when they idle lie,
Would gather nasty Dust, and quickly breed
Of Moths, — a most ingrateful fretting frie—
Unless the earnest Wands and Brushes did
Rouse up their laziness, and whip away
Those busy bold Incroachers from their Prey.
That Mariners who in the easy Bay
Their Winter and their Summer fondly waste;
Would never learn to steer their Bark, till they
Were by some Tempest into Danger cast;
And had accustomed their venturous Minds
To ken the boisterous language of the Winds.
That Soldiers listed are in vain, and wear
Steel by their side, and Brass upon their head;
If they decline the pitched field, and fear
To face the shouting Fo, and battle bid,
To force Success, and bring away their skars
As Letters testimonial of their Wars.
And though no Life scarce any Title merits
But that of War; (so many Enemies
By his most wretched Birthright Man inherits,
Since rebel Adam taught the World to rise
Rebelliously against himself;) no state
More than the Christian, is besieg'd with Hate.
The Christian Life the surest Warfare is;
And though a thousand Victories it gains,
Yet on it still more and more Armies press,
More Care, more Sweat, more strugling still remains:
Though in an inward Calm Peace luls us, yet
External Tryals still will us beset.
Though all the headstrong Senses and the Passions
Be civilized Virtue's yoak to bear:
Though all the stickling peevish Insultatious
Of crossgrain'd Wilt and Reason, by the care
Of an untired Soul be tam'd, yet still
There is a World without to work her ill.
For by her Christian Course, against the Tide
Of all that world she rows; and therefore by
Eternal Opposition is try'd,
And hardned to victorious Constancy.
No way had She Magnanimous to seem
If she had floated down the willing stream.
But now her gallant Metal wetted is;
Her own luxuriant Twigs are prun'd away;
Her Clothes are brush'd from Moths and Dustiness;
Her soil is digg'd and dress'd; the lazy Bay
She changeth for the active manly Main;
And in pitch'd field her foes doth entertain.
Her Beasts are to their pace right strictly kept,
And daily ridden hard; her wholsome Air
By frequent Tempests of loud sighs is swept,
Tempests, which make her Bosom's region fair;
The Torrents of her Eyes continue clear
Because perpetually they flowing are.
Her Watch by constant Vigils up she winds,
And every Wheel in its due motion keeps:
By which unwearied Diligence she finds
How every Hour doth pass: yea though she sleeps,
Still her Devotion's waking spring persists,
And towards Heav'n she moves ev'n whilst she rests.
Thus though Affliction's looks be sad and sour,
Her Heart is kind, and she the best of friends;
Whilst Ease her Poisons gently plots to pour,
Her Antidotes She most severely blends;
Her Physick, smart and searching Corsives be,
But their Conclusion's always Lenity.
And Psyche, since she's to her Spouse as dear
As is the blessed Apple of his Eye,
Abandon'd to Affliction's full carreer
Must now be left; that as Sol's Majesty
From blackest Clouds breaks out with fairest Rays,
So might her Virtue pluck from Briars Bays.
When Satan for his late Repulse could find
No comfort in his spightful Tyranny
Over his damned Slaves; his frightful Mind
Boil'd with such hot Impatience, that He
Into the Air's cool region again
Flung up himself with terrible Disdain.
Where, as he champ'd his meditating Rage,
He chanc'd a winged Squadron to espy,
Returning home in beauteous equipage,
Having dispatched each his Embassy,
With which they had been delegated hither
From Heav'n, to fit our Earth to mount up thither.
This prompted him to brew a new Device:
With cunning speed he play'd the Thief again,
And having stoll'n a Tire of Gallantries,
After the Angel-troops posted amain;
Trimming his cursed feature as he flew,
Till like a Bird of that fair Brood he grew.
Something behind he lagg'd, least piercing
They His impudent Imposture should descry,
And intercept his Project by the way
In just Disdain of his foul Company.
So at wise distance sneaks the Traitor, when
True-hearted Peers to Court he follows in.
But fluttering through the spheres, his lips he bit
To see the famous fatal Tract whereby
He once was tumbled headlong down; and yet
Though they with fell Despite and Blasphemy
Were big, he durst not ope them, knowing well
Heav'n ill would bear the Dialect of Hell.
Arrived at the everlasting Gate,
Into th' imperial Palace of their King,
The well-known Angels in triumphant state
Their entrance made: but Satan's foreign Wing
Shiver'd for fear; so did the Vizard he
Had clapp'd upon his Guilt's Deformity.
For from the Luster of his Maker's eyes
Such Dread flashed on his, that swarthy He,
Who had been us'd to Night's black Prodigies,
Was dazel'd at the naked Majesty
Of more than day: Three times he winck'd, and then
With both his hands his spurious eyes did screen.
Such fright the sooty Bats is wont to seize
When Highnoon's darts of splendor shoot them through:
The woful Ghosts who in sad shadows please
Their gloomy Thoughts, thus terrified grow,
If in the East the curtains ope are thrown,
And up Aurora get e'r they be down.
The blessed Spectacles which here he saw
Were sharper Torments than he felt at home;
No Glories' sparkling streams could near him flow,
But burnt him more than his own fiery Doom:
Each holy Joy a Torture was, and He
Fry'd in the midst of this felicity.
He fry'd and flam'd, and strait his look's spruce Craft,
His forged Plumes, his curled Grove of Hair,
His dainty Coat, and all his gorgeous Theft
A sacrifice unto the lightning were
Of Jesus's Eyes; and in his naked Dress
He now appear'd of helish Ugliness.
The Angels started at the hideous sight,
And standing at a distance round about,
Gaz'd on the Portent; who with all the might
Of Impudence, although a while he fought,
Could not against his guilty shame prevail;
Down hung his Head, his Tallons, and his Tail.
Thus when the conscious Traitor's hateful face
Is in the presence of the Prince descry'd,
And persecuted by the joint Disgrace
Of all the loyal Court; against that Tide
Of Ignominy he in vain contends;
Such Horror all his Stubborness transcends.
As Jesus saw the fiend, abashed so,
He charg'd him to confess from whence he came:
Nor durst the thus commanded Monster, though
Lyes were his only Trade, a fiction frame:
Yet loth to loose the credit of his Pride,
With dogged sullenness he thus reply'd.
Whence can I come, but from Beneath? unless
You know some higher place than this your Heav'n?
This Heav'n, from whence by you, I must confess,
(But let All judge how justly) I was driven.
From visiting the Earth I come, where I
Have far more Subjects than your Deity.
But mine, said Jesus, (for he scorn'd to chide
The stomachful fiend, since ever-damned
He Finds equal Torment for his endless Pride,)
Although so few, yet highly Precious be.
Vain multitudes to Thee their homage pay:
Mine not by Number, but by Weight I weigh.
By Virtue's Weight; for that alone can show
The worth of Gems: and such my Servants be.
Who though a while Inhabitants below,
Yet are an Heav'n-descended Progeny;
Whose genuine Raies assert their noble birth,
And in their Dust prove something more than Earth.
Let one Example speak the praise of All;
My handmaid Psyche Hath thy prying Eye
Which scoureth round about the terrene Ball,
Full notice taken of her Piety?
And how none live in all that World, who be
Higher above it, than is lowly she?
Is not her Soul intirely fixed here,
Preoccupating Heav'n and endless Bliss?
Nor Earth nor Hell can strike her thoughts with fear,
But He alone who her Creator is;
Of Him she always stands in dainty awe,
For still she loves as much as dreads his Law.
But wheresoe'r she reads the open face,
Or can discover but the Limbs or Claws
Of ugly Sin, she flies the dangerous Place,
And into straitest hardest shifts withdraws;
Rather than hazard to be overrun
With pleasure-promising Destruction.
Is not the temper of her warey Heart,
Admonished by wise instinct, afraid
Of every Bait, which by the subtlest Art
Of spight and Wickedness for her is laid?
Or is there any Hag which she doth more
Than Thee, ev'n in thy fairest Looks abhor?
Stung by these words, with strong intestine Pain,
The Monster felt his heartstrings stretch'd and torn;
Yet that he might not bear these Pangs in vain,
But on his God his Stomach's Vomit turn;
He rear'd his face of everlasting Brass,
And what he spake, of that bold metal was.
Is not your mighty providential Arm
Become that paltry Wench's hedge, said he,
Infallibly to shut out fear and harm,
And make her Pris'ner to Security?
Is not brave Phylax forc'd to be her Squire,
And dance attendance on that Brat's desire?
On all her Errands runs not servile He?
Has he not trotted from the farthest West,
In duty to her Curiosity,
Into the fondly-venerable East?
Where like a silly Pilgrim up and down,
Forsooth, the Angel jogg'd from Town to Town.
Nay and your Daughter Charis too (yet who
Would think her so, who her Imployment sees?)
As though in Heav'n she nothing had to do,
Degraded is to Earth, and charg'd to please
This Imp of Dust, on whom her noble store
Of Sweets, to win the Urcheon, she must pour.
A worthy Purchase you have got; but I
For my part, would not buy a Worm so dear.
If wretched Psyche's price must be so high,
Surely you need no rival Chapmen fear:
Only by this proportion I would know
What rate you would for Me, for Me, allow.
Me, whose sublime, and therefore envied Nature
Hath no cognation to ignoble Dust:
Me, whose sole blemish is the Name of Creature,
Which yet is not my Fault: Me, whom you must
Confess to be the Crest of your Creation,
However plunder'd of my native Station.
But as for Her, might I have leave to try,
I soon would shew you of what brittle Clay
She moulded is: would Phylax not deny
To let me on her naked shoulder lay
This Hand of mine, no Touchstone you should see
Was ever nimbler at Discovery.
For on your pamper'd Darling should Distresses
With full and free Commission domineer;
That Tongue which now your Praises Pageant dresses
(For to the Task 'tis hir'd, and hir'd full dear)
Would change its Tune, and on your Godship spit
More Curses than my Self e'r spew'd on it.
If Psyche's bosom harbours any Breed
Of such profound Ingratitude, replied
Almighty Jesus, 'tis no more than need
The ugly Embryos be in time descried.
Go, use thy Skill; full Power to thee I give:
No Phylax shall against thy Project strive.
Yet must thy Tether not extend so far
As to her Life: her Life belongs to me:
For in my Hand th' authentick Volumes care
Of mortal and immortal Destiny,
Nor could'st thou make th' experiment, unless
She lives, to belch out her Unthankfulness.
As when the Lyon's loos'd to tear his Prey,
With furious Joy he shakes his dreadful Crest
He mounts his surly Tail, and rends his way
Into the Theatre: so Satan prest
Back through the Spheres, and thought his Shame was cheap
He suffer'd there, since he his End did reap.
For his mad Spight's irrefragable Pride
Would not permit him mannerly to part:
He neither bow'd, nor bent, nor signify'd
The least of Thanks for gaining what his heart
Did most desire; but thought he needed not
Take other leave, who leave to rage had got.
As down through Heav'n he rush'd, he proudly threw
Scorn on the Stars which he could not possess:
Then through the Air imperiously he flew,
And by his looks proclaim'd that Realm was his;
The blackest Clouds which floated there, made haste
To clear the way, till blacker He was past.
His swarthy Wings lash'd that soft Element
With violent speed, and made it roar aloud:
No wind did ever with such furious Bent
Or hideous Noise, through those mild Regions croud;
No Bolt of Thunder ever rent its path
With such precipitant tumultuous wrath.
Though once he hop'd he might have reach'd his Aim
By those fell Agents he dispatch'd from Hell:
Yet since without their Errand home they came,
To this curs'd bus'ness he in person fell;
Resolv'd whatever Labour or Disgrace
It cost him, Psyche should not 'scape his chase.
Thus came the Monster to his dearest Place
On Earth, a Palace wondrous large and high,
Which on seav'n Mountains' heads enthroned was,
All which it higher rais'd with Majesty;
Thus by its seav'nfold Tumor copying
The number of the Horns which crown'd its King.
Of dead Men's Bones were all th' exterior Walls
Rais'd to a fair but formidable height;
In answer to which strange Materials
A Graff of dreadful depth and breath did wait
Upon the Works, fill'd with a piteous flood
Of innocently-pure and holy Blood.
Those awful Birds whose Joy is ravenous War,
Strong-tallon'd Eagles, perch'd upon the head
Of every Turret, took their prospect far
And wide about the World; and questioned
Each Wind that travel'd by, to know if they
Could tell them News of any bloody Prey.
The inner Bulwarks rais'd of shining Brass,
With Firmitude and Pride were buttressed.
The Gate of polish'd Steel, wide open was
To entertain those Throngs, who offered
Their slavish Necks, to take the yoke, with which
That City's Tyrant did the World bewitch.
For She had wisely order'd it to be
Gilded with Liberty's inchanting Name:
Whence cheated Nations, who before were Free
Into her flattering Chains for Freedom came.
Thus her strange Conquests overtook the Sun,
Who Rose and Set in her Dominion.
But thick within the Line, erected were
Innumerable Prisons, plated round
With massy Iron and with zealous Fear:
And in those Forts of Barbarism, profound
And mirey Dungeons, where contagious stink,
Cold, Anguish, Horror, had their dismal sink.
In these, press'd down with Chains of fretting Brass
Ten thousand innocent Lambs did bleating lie
Whose Groans, reported by the hollow Place,
Summon'd Compassion from the Passers by;
Whom they, alas, no less relentless found
Than was the Brass which them to Sorrow bound.
For they designed for the Shambles were
To feast the Tyrant's greedy Cruelty;
Who could be gratified with no Fare
But such Delights of salvage Luxury:
Though sweetest Dainties woo'd her morning Taste
She with an hundred Lives would break her Fast.
Vast were the Treasures of her house; yet she
Solac'd her Fancy in no Furniture
But choicest Tools of Inhumanity,
Which might her bloody Ends to her assure.
This stuff'd her Court with direful Engins; this
Made every Room an Armory profess.
Swords, Daggers, Bodkins, bearded Arrows, Spears,
Nails, Pinsers, Crosses, Gibbets, Hurdles, Ropes,
Tallons of Griffens, Paws and Teeth of Bears,
Tigres' and Lyons' Mouths, hot iron Hoops,
Racks, Wheels, Strappados, brazen Cauldrons, which
Boiled with oil, huge Tuns, which flam'd with pitch.
These, and more dangerous Weapons yet were there;
Fairfaced Promises, but lin'd with Spight;
High royal outside Courtesies, but mere
Traps and Conspiracies which with Delight
To heedless Men the worst of Poisons give,
And stealing to their hearts slay them alive.
Satan arrived here, strait enter'd in;
(For well he knew the Place, and well was known;)
The fawning Courtiers all were proud to win
His gracious Look, and in his way fell down
To beg his Blessing and to kiss his feet,
As on he press'd their Sovereign to greet.
She then (for long within she could not stay)
Preparing was her Chariot to take,
And her loud Stomach's sharp Commands obey:
But spying Belzelub, she started back,
Surpris'd with reverential Dread to see
The sudden Presence of her Deity.
Then down she fell, and pray'd Him to ascend
Her Throne Imperial, which was standing there;
And thence his Pleasure to his Worm commend,
Ready with all Humility to hear
What bow'd her God so low, as thus to come
In person to his worthless Vassal's Home.
But kindly taking up his loyal Creature,
He in his scaley Arms did her embrace;
Inamor'd of her correspondent Feature,
Which render'd him his own infernal Face,
Three times he kiss'd and hugg'd her close, and round
About her waste his royal Tail he wound.
And, I have no such leisure now, said He,
To climb thy Throne, who must secure mine own;
I have discover'd in my Brittany
The Seeds of dangerous Rebellion sown;
Which to an harvest, if it thriveth, may
Disturb mine Empire, and thine oversway.
The Christian spreading Canker there hath got
Deep footing in the hearts of heedless Men;
Who to the poor mechanick God are not
Asham'd to pay their holiest Homage, when
With Credit they might it to Me prefer
Who am, I trow, more than a Carpenter.
Me thinks my Scepter should as noble be
As Ax or Mallet; and as brave my Train
Of heav'n-descended Sparks, the gallantry
Of whose high Souls, did God's own Yoke disdain;
As those who from their dirty Fishing Boat
Into the threadbare Court of Jesus got.
It cannot be deny'd but mighty I
Had a Mischance of old; and I confess
My foot once slip'd; yet still my Majesty
Above Reproach's wretched triumph is.
My Honor suffer'd not in that my Loss,
And though I fell, I fell not to a Cross.
They use to cast it in our teeth, that We
By blackest Powers of Spells and Incantations
Both founded and advanc'd our Monarchy:
As if there were not stranger Conjurations
In this besetting Witchery, which can
Make worse than Beasts of Reasonable Man.
For, Brutes to brutish can the silliest Flock
Afford, who would themselves with Him intrust
Who runs away to Heav'n; and bids them look
For Wrongs and Crosses, which indure they must
For his dear Sake? right dear indeed, if they
Their Lives must to his cruel Precept pay.
Strange sheep were they which thus would fooled be,
And for their Loyalty to Him alone
Be quite abandon'd, and relinquish'd free
To thousand Wolves' and Bears' Incursion:
Nay Sheep would never turn so sheepish; yet
Men to this Paradox themselves submit.
Grant Heav'n be in reversion their own;
What shall the Fondlings gain by dwelling there,
Who must eternally be crouching down,
And paying Praise's Tribute to His ear,
Who will requite them with a Chain, which shall
Bind ev'n their Wills in everlasting Thrall!
Were not their Souls more generous, if they
The gallant Freedom of our Hell would choose;
Which scorneth that ignoble Word Obey,
And lets full Blasphemy for ever loose?
Faint-hearted Fools, who needs will Vassals be
For fear least I should make them truly Free.
Thou see'st this Crime is Crying, and for high
Revenge beats loud upon my royal Ear.
And should my Fury wake, and instantly
Those mad Apostates all in pieces tear;
Surely my Justice I could well acquit,
However envious Heav'n would rail at it.
But I (for this far more becomes a King)
A better rellish find in Lenity:
I know the Galileans' tongues do ring
With restless Clamors on my Tyranny:
Forgetting that their Lord has banish'd me
From Heav'n, against all Law and Equity.
Yet neither He nor They shall ever make
Brave Me their Baseness in its kind repay,
No: let them henceforth Demonstration take
With what intolerable Slander They
Lay to my charge all barbarous Cruelties:
Judge all the World, who Father is of lyes.
For I resolved am at first to try
What by my royal Mercy may be done:
Far rather would I win them thus, than by
Stern Vengeance drown them in Destruction.
The People's fault is not so foul, as His
Whose gospel Pipe has charm'd their Simpleness.
Snatch, therefore now thy necessary speed
To Britain, and divulge my Proclamation
Of Grace and Pardon unto every Head,
Which strait abjures that dangerous Innovation,
And penitent for his Christian Heresy,
With orthodox Devotion bows to Me.
To Me, who will their Loyalty requite
With golden Plenty and with pleasant Ease;
To Me, whose Laws are Statutes of Delight,
Not of unnatural Severities,
Of Watchings, Fastings, Sighs and Tears; O no!
What Mildness means I better know than so.
But if my princely Favor be despised,
Both Heav'n and Earth must needs my Rage approve.
Denounce all Vengeance that can be devised
By scorn'd and therefore most indignant Love:
Make all the stupid stubborn Rebels feel
That I can on their Earth display my Hell.
This said: the Feind with three short adorations
Of her dread Lord, her salvage Task embrac'd,
And loth that ceremonious Dilations
Should greater Duties stop, to Coach made haste.
Thus mounting at the Gate, they parted;
He Home to his Hell, and towards Britain She.
Forthwith, in terrible Magnificence,
An hundred Trumpets sent their Voice before,
To tell the People that their awful Prince
Her Progress now began: that stately Roar
Through every Street imperiously flew,
And warn'd all Eyes this mighty Sight to view.
When lo, the sweating Throngs her way bespread
With Admirations of her Pomp and Train,
Two Squires before the rest at distance rid,
Suspition and Envy: both did rein
Their fitting Steeds, the one a Fox, the other
A Wolf, and forc'd them on to march together.
The next was Blandishment, whose winning Face
Alone was open to the People's eye;
On whom she smil'd with amiable grace,
And cunningly maintain'd her goodly Lye:
For all her Harpy-bodie's monstrous Fashion
Lurk'd in her Trappings spruce Dissimulation.
Then follow'd Pride upon a surly Horse,
Whose stomach swell'd like Her's: fierce Sparkles broke
From his impatient Eyes; with martial force
He bent his Neck's large Bow; his Main he shook;
About he flung his Foam; and champ'd his Bit,
For both his Rider he disdain'd, and it.
But in her right band She a Banner held,
And fair display'd its bosom to the Wind:
Forthwith the Flag with stately Fulness swell'd
Wherein the Tyrant's golden Scutcheon shin'd,
A widespread Eagle, whose stout Pinions seem'd
To bear her up still as the Colours stream'd.
Then came the Coach, which two strange Monsters drew,
For one a dreadful Lybian Dragon was,
Who from his mouth did flaming Sulphure spew,
Empoisning all the Way he was to pass:
The other, an enormous Crocodile,
The most accursed Son of happy Nile.
On them, two fierce Postillions mounted were:
Intolerable headstrong Anger, who
Her Dragon's sides with restless Lashes tore,
Yet knew not why she him tormented so:
And Cruelty, whose heart was harder than
His knotty Crocodile's black iron skin.
Upon the Coachbox sate a Driver hight
Selfwil, a madbrain'd most outrageous He;
Who makes devouring Speed his sole Delight,
Though thousand Perils chide his Fervency
Never could Hills or Dales, or Sea or Land,
Or desperate Precipices, make him stand.
The Chariot's metal nothing was but Brass,
Bright burning Brass; of which each dismal side
With sharp and hungry Hooks thick platted was,
To mow down All it met: in this did ride
The dreadful Queen, a Queen of mighty Fame
Who hath not heard of Persecution's Name?
All Frowns which make stern Panthers' aspects be
Of ravenous Cruelty the hideous Book;
With indefatigable Industry
She had transcrib'd into her monstrous Look,
And strangely turn'd her vainly-humane Face
To Inhumanitie's most frightful Glass.
The mighty Plea of gracious Innocence
Proves weak and useless at her salvage Bar;
For causeless Spight, and bloody Violence
Her only Laws and only Pleasures are.
Heav'n shield all pious Souls, and raise their fears
To generous Faith, where-ever She appears.
Her steely Coat's all smear'd with gore; her Hands
Gripe two imprison'd Twists of angry Snakes,
With which, though still her Coachman never stands,
Eternally she threshes him, and makes
His furious Speed more speedy grow, that she
Might at her Prey as soon's her Wishes be.
Thus whirl'd she through the Popular Rout, and flew
To her desired Isle the straitest way
Behind the Coach her larger Train she drew,
Right glad to tread her cruel steps; for they
Were All her own infernal genuine Brood
Whom she had nurs'd and fatten'd up with blood.
Upon a Goat, more stinking far than He,
Rode Ravishment who threw his licorish eyes,
And they bold wanton fire, on every She
Whom Beauty's Wealth commended for a Prize.
The Chariot's Haste he curs'd, and he alone,
From's Sin's fair fuel loth to part so soon.
Perch'd on a Vultur's back was Rapine, who
In length of Tallons did that Bird exceed;
Starv'd with Desire, though fat in Spoils, she so
Tormented was, that with more headlong Speed
She wish'd her Queen would march, that at the Feast
Of British Plunder she might be a Guest.
Upon an Ostrich, more unnatural
Than barbarous She, rode meagre Astorgy,
Vowing aloud to tear in sunder all
Those Cords with which true Love delights to tie
The Souls of Parents, and of Children; and
Shatter the links of every Nuptial Band.
High mounted on an Hydra, Heresy
With more and stranger heads than had her Steed;
Rejoyc'd in hope that now contagious She
Her Poison to another World should spread
And Albion's Sands, which bridled in the Sea,
Should by her stouter Tide o'rflowed be.
A black and grizly Dog bore Profanation:
Her who ne'r learnt Distinction of Place
Of Time, or Things; who never yet could fashion
A modest Look, or paint a Blush's Grace
Whose Rudeness no more reverence affords
To holy Altars, than to Dresser-boards.
Bold Sacrilege sate pertly on a Kite;
And though her Claws were burnt, and sing'd her Wings
E'r since the Altar might have taught her Wit,
(For vengeful Coals stuck to the sacred Things
Branding the saucy Thief,) yet shameless She
A-robbing Heav'n and God again would be.
Upon a Serpent bred in Hell beneath,
Which belch'd rank fire at every step he took,
Which reached Heav'n with his pestiferous breath,
Which fought with holy Incense by the smoke
Of his foul Throat; rode desperate Blasphemy,
And dared all the way Divinity.
But on an Heifer of Egyptian race,
Right proud of his renown'd Descent (for he
The Heir of Apis and of Isis was,)
Sate full as gross a Brute, Idolatry:
And yet Devoto's, grosser than her Beast
Or She, about her with their Offrings prest.
And this was Persecution's princely Train;
Which all the way she went, stroke mortal fright
Into the Countries, travelling in Pain,
As she in Triumph, till her rushing Flight
Her, and their Fears far out of sight had born
And bad them from their Dens and Caves return.
Poor Albion thrice started as she drew
Near to the shore, and would have further run
Into the Sea: but now the Tyrant flew
With cursed Joy and snatch'd possession
Of her unhappy Isle; where dreadful she
Took up her Quarters in a Colony.
A strange Amusement on all hearts did seize,
And each Man chew'd his own misgiving Thoughts:
None durst have courage by Discourse to ease
The heavy burden of his labouring Doubts.
'Twixt nearest Friend and Friend Suspicion thrust.
And Jealousy devour'd all dearest Trust.
When lo, She issued out her Proclamations
Of Pardon unto All who would come in:
But sour'd that Sweetness by stern Denuntiations
To those who still continued in their Sin;
Who wasted still their Piety upon
The Carpenter's poor Crucified Son.
She summon'd all the Isle to Reformation,
That mighty Jove, by whose high blessing She
Reign'd Empress of the World, in worthy fashion,
And like his sovereign Self, might worship'd be;
And mov'd to shower his fattest Favors down,
And Albion with Peace and Plenty crown.
For by her royal Declaration She
All Blastings, Mildews, Droughts, Plagues, Earthquakes, Wars,
Charg'd soly upon Christianity
Which impious Sect, said she, so boldly dares
The Wrath of all the Gods, that righteous They
On stubborn Earth must needs this Vengeance lay.
Forthwith, all Those whose bosoms tainted were
With rank Idolatry's mad Venom, grew
Luxuriously glad the News to hear;
And with immediate rampant Confluence flew
To do their homage, and their thanks prefer
Ev'n in the Name of succoured Jove to Her.
Then They, who could have lov'd safe Piety
Yet durst no more than faint cold Virtue own;
They in whose Hearts the World and Self did lie
As well as Jesus; they who would have drawn
In th' Evangelick Yoke with patience, so
Mean while their secular Plough might also go;
They who conceiv'd, for Wives' and Children's sake
Depending soley on their Love and Care,
(So dreamt the faithless Fondlings) they might make
A little bold with God; and They who were
Flatter'd with hopes that Heav'n's propitious Eye
Would wink at what they held Necessity;
Came in the rear, like Men who scarcely came,
For not so much as half their Minds were there:
In Evening's guilty Vail they clok'd their Shame
Which honest Day's clear-judging eye did fear;
Whilst to escape the Tyrant's Condemnation
Themselves condemn their own Dissimulation.
But they whose Loyalty stood firm and sound,
They who to Love intirely were resigned,
Such potent Sweetness in his Service found
As scorn'd all Hate with bloody Power combin'd:
Such Sweetness as inforced to be sweet
That Gall which flow'd in Persecution's Threat.
Sooner will they be charmed by the Hiss
Of Dragons, into their fell Dens to go;
Than be persuaded to accept of this
So treacherous and destructive Pardon; No
Whate'r they loose, they from their Loss will reap
This noble Gain, that they themselves will keep.
Their Life, Limbs, Fame, Estate, and Liberty
They can more easily than their Conscience spare:
They nothing count their own, which cannot be
Without Impiety possest; and are
Content with any Thing but God to part,
Who only can secure them their own Heart.
Psyche was one, and not the meanest one
Of these brave Champions; who since Phylax had
By Heav'n's disposal left her now alone,
Her meek Addresses to Uranius made:
An holy Priest was He, and unto Her
An Oracle in any Doubt or Fear.
To You, said She, my reverend Father, I
Now Persecution's furious Storms arise
As to my wise and faithful Pilot flie;
Not to be steered where Calamities
May never reach my Vessel, but to know
The nearest way how I to them may row.
Forbid it genuine Love, that I should flie
The noblest Testimony I can give,
Of my O how deserved Loyalty
To my great Spouse, for whom alone I live:
For Him I live, and must that Truth deny
If in his Quarel I refuse to die.
For was not His ten thousand times more dear
And precious than my Life? yet generous He
His heart-blood's utmost Drop stuck not to spare
Ev'n for the worst of Worms, vile sinful Me:
Loud cries the Merit of this Blood, and I
Though oft I dy'd for Him, in debt should die.
And should I shrink from one poor Death, what Eye
Would not shoot Wrath at such Unthankfulness?
How should I hate my self, and strive to die
For shame of Fearing Death? yet I confess
This wretched Life's so mean a thing, that
We fly Martyrdom do Heav'n no courtesy.
Mine all the Gains will be: nor know I how
To 'scape this Profit; which could I but shun,
More Solace from my Death to me would flow,
And to the Stake I cheerlyer should run.
But since that may not be, since Bliss is still
To Suffrings ty'd, let Love enjoy his Will.
Let Love assert his own Magnificence,
And make us for our very Service be
Deeper in Debt; yet surely I will hence
Revenge me of his Liberality,
And do my best to run upon the score
With this great Creditor for evermore.
But grave Uranius, who was deeper read
I' th' cool sage Gospel Discipline, reply'd;
The fire by which those Flames of thine are bred
Is pure and genuine; but they blaze too wide:
Dear Daughter be content and think that I
Can wish and dare, as well as you, to Die.
Though I were courted by secure Delight
And Glory's Complement to live and breath:
My feeble Age would stronglier me invite
To take my rest in any Bed of Death:
But since no Baits allure me here to stay,
O how much worse than Death, is Death's Delay!
Yet must no headlong Haste of mine prevent
My Sovereign's Pleasure, who, for ought I know,
Desires Uranius should rest content
To wrestle still with Sorrows here below;
Still to be exil'd from the blessed Sight
Of His dear Eyes, and grovel here in Night.
Besides, if I before his Call should run,
This hot Impatience might outstrip his Grace:
And where should feeble I, thus left alone,
Find Courage to outlook the dreadful Face
Of Death, when dress'd in martial Array
He gives the Onset to my Dust and Clay?
Will any General thank that Captain who
Without Commission has presum'd to fight?
Into the Lists if any Pris'ner go
On Tigres or on Bears to try his might
Till thither forc'd; what Eye will grieve to see
His torn limbs pay for his Temerity?
Is't not enough, if when we challeng'd are,
We flinch not from maintaining, That his Name
Doth in our bosoms sit more near and dear
Than Life it self? mean while ne'r think it shame
To balk the tempest, which will soon retrieve
Thy Heav'n and Thee, if Jesus gives it leave.
As some young Soldier, who was more on fire
Than his fierce sparkling Steed, the Charge to give,
When by some old Commander his Desire
As rash and perillous, doth a Curb receive,
Finds it an harder Conflict to subdue
His single self, than all his hostile Crew:
So Psyche crossed in her venturous way
By that grave bulk of her sage Priest's Advice,
Feels it an heavy troublous Task to stay,
And shun the winning of her dearest Prize:
Yet knowing He was wiser far than she
Bravely she yields, and gains self-victory.
Uranius well remembring now how He,
Then young and shiftless, by his Parents was
Into a Nest of silent Privacy,
Whose Avenue lay through a Desert's maze,
Hurry'd by night, when such a storm as this
Into the Britain Hemisphere did press:
Thither, when Ev'n had muffled up the Eye
Of Heav'n, and those of Earth, he Psyche led;
And by a Lanthorn which would not descry
More than He pleas'd, his journey governed:
Till at the Cavern they arrived, where
Cheerly he bad the Maid be of good cheer.
It is no new Adventure, this, said He,
But practis'd and well-season'd to thine hand:
Moses, that Man of God, was glad to flee,
And wander up and down a foreign Land.
With hungrier sp[r]ight no Partridge ever on
The hills was chas'd, than Jesse's holy Son.
Noble Elijah in the Desert hid
His persecuted head, when Jezebel,
Our Tyrant's Type, her threatnings thundered
Against his Life: there chose this Saint to dwell,
Supplyed with no Caterer or Cook,
But only Ravens, no Cellar, but a Brook.
Nay mighty Jesus too himself did flie
When bloody Herod drew his desperate Sword:
And never think it can discredit thy
Devotion, to follow Him thy Lord
In any of his steps, who is alone
The way which leads to all Perfection.
Whilst thus the sober Priest encourag'd Her:
A Troop of furious Soldiers had by night
Beset their houses, in presumption there
To catch their ready Prey: but when their flight
They understood, their frustrate Expectation
Flam'd into most impatient Vexation.
All Rooms they ransak'd, where what Goods they met
Were hungry Plunder's instant Sacrifice:
Yet still their Rage unsatisfied, set
The Houses too on fire; with barbarous Cries
Threatning like vengeance to their Owners, when
Justice could hunt them from their secret Den.
If any of the Neighbours, wounded by
The salvage Spectacle, but smote their breast,
Or shak'd their head, or mourned in a sigh;
The salvage Caytifs took it for Confest
That to their Queen they ill-affected were,
And them with rayling Cries to Prison tare.
Yet, by the way, the cruel Courtesy
Of hungry Thieves they frankly offer'd Them;
Who ready were their Lives and Liberty
With present sums of Money to redeem,
Their Queen is safe enough, so They can line
Their greedy Coffers with Delinquents' Coin.
Which having gain'd, they set their Pris'ners free;
Free to new Rapine, giving Information
Of their Religious Delinquency
To other Plunderers; who with fresh Invasion
On their fat Booties seize, whose Guilt is sure
To last as long's their Purses' Springs endure.
But through the Eastern ruby Portals now
Aurora op'd the passage to the Day
When lo, an old and shaggy Lyon, who
Had busy been all night about his prey,
Came panting home, and with a mighty Roar
Proclaim'd his entrance at his Cavern's door.
This was that Cavern where for shelter lay
The good Uranius and Psyche, who
Rous'd by the Noise, but destitute of way
To flie the presence of their hideous Fo;
Their hearts to Heav'n with instant fervor sent
Imploring Succour in this Peril's dint.
In rush'd the Beast, whose dreadful Mouth and Paw
Still reeked with his worried Bootie's blood:
But those unlook'd-for Guests when there he saw,
Stroke with the awful News a while he stood
And as he wistly view'd, he smooth'd his frown
And by degrees his Crest and Tail let down.
Uranius musing what the Lyon meant
To melt from his stern self, thus him bespake:
If He who is our Lord and thine, hath sent
Thee hither with Commission to take
Our lives by gentler Tyranny than that
From which we fled, lo we deny them not.
Much Solace it will be to Us that We
Augment not by our deaths the Guilt of Men;
This bloody Trade far better suits with Thee,
Of Salvageness the dreadful Sovereign, than
With them whose softer Tempers to the key
Of mild Compassion should tuned be.
Yet if Thou dost not on Heav'n's Errand come
But on the bus'ness of thy barbarous Thirst;
Unarmed though we be, no Peril from
Thy Paws or Jaws we dread; do all thy worst.
So faithful He, and so said Psyche too,
And waited what the Beast would dare to do.
When lo, the trusty generous Lyon, who
No Vengeance ought to Men but where he saw
The print of Guilt and of Rebellion to
Their common Sovereign, right meekly threw
Himself before these Saints; in whom he read
The Lines of Innocence so fairly spread.
(Thus his ingenuous Forefathers, when
Great Daniel at their Hunger's mercy lay,
Permitted Him to reign in their own Den;
And stuck not to his Sanctity to pay
Their couchant Tribute, though their stomachs' Cry
Mean while alarm'd their fierce Rapacity.)
Then having humbly lick'd their holy feet,
And seem'd to beg their Blessings e'r he went;
What universal Providence finds meet
And useful for thy Modestie's content,
Uranius cry'd, may it bestowed be
In due requital of thy Piety.
Forthwith the joyful Lyon took his leave
With all the manners his rude Education
Could teach his joints; which sight made Psyche grieve,
Reflecting with a tender Meditation
On those unmanly Men from whom she fled,
Who did the wildest Beasts in Rage exceed.
And well she might; for lo, a trusty friend
Both to the Priest and Her, who knew the place
Where now they lurk'd, his way did thither rend
With Ashes on his head and Grief in's face:
And enter'd there, a while he silent stood,
And eas'd his Passion in a weeping flood.
Then prefacing with Groans, Alas, he cry'd,
That I have liv'd to bring this deadly News!
Your selves have by your flight escap'd the Tide
Of Salvageness which all our Town imbrues:
But nothing else; for what behind you left,
The Booty is of most outrageous Theft.
Your Houses, turn'd to their own funeral pile,
Now in their Ashes lie—. Vast Sorrow here
Stifeled the rest. But then, thy story's stile
To Us is not so dreadful; never fear
That what remains, will torture Us, replies
The Priest, who dare embrace our miseries.
Whate'r was ours, thou know'st, We never Made,
But by our Lord's Donation did possess:
Since all we had, we but as Stewards had,
Well may our Master call for what was His.
And blessed be His Name, who Us from these
Incumbrances is pleased to release.
Chidden by this heroick Bravery,
The Messenger took heart, and thus went on:
Had furious Tyranny presum'd to fly
No higher than at you, and yours, alone;
Tears might have reach'd that Loss; but now her Rage
With the Most High adventures War to wage.
The desperate Caytifs feared not to break
Into the sacred Oratory (where
Our bus'ness we with Heav'n dispatch'd, for lack
Of publick safety for our Rites,) and there
Made Hellish havock, challenging, in spight,
God for His Temple and Himself to fight.
The sacred Volumes they no sooner saw,
But cry'd, in atheistick scorn, Behold
These odious Galileans' lawless Law,
Which boldly breaks all Statutes else, enroll'd
Either in Cesar's books, or Jove's: but We
Will try if this may now not broken be.
Forthwith they madly tore it leaf by leaf;
Here Moses tatter'd lay, the Prophets there:
But on the Evangelick Part their chief
Revenge they pour'd, and, as they able were
Massacred patient Christ again, and rent
Him in the Body of his Testament.
Which done; upon Religion's next support,
And grave Devotion's Rule, the Liturgy,
They made their equally-malicious sport:
Crying, These are those Leaves of Witchery,
That bulk of Conjurations and Charms,
To which the whole World ows its present Harms.
Next, all the Altar's reverend furniture
They snatch'd, and scrambled who should rifle most;
The sacerdotal Vestments, white and pure,
About the room at first in scorn they toss;
And then with them array'd their gamesome selves,
Acting in Lambs' mild fleeces, murderous Wolves.
Upon the Chalice, when they had espyed
The Shepherd bringing home the strayed sheep,
All in an hell-combined Clamor cryed,
Look how those Christians set their God to keep
Their Wine: but fools, they should have hir'd a friend
Who might his Godship from our hands defend.
Is not our Pan more like a God, than this?
Pan, who the Shepherds selves has power to keep,
Whilst this poor servile Thing contented is
To spend his foolish time on silly sheep.
But since He's here of Silver, in our need
His Deity may stand us in some stead.
When in these Contumelies they their fill
Had wantoniz'd; one ill-look'd Soldier brings
A black Dog's carkase, which (O wit of Hell!)
He scornfully upon the Altar flings;
And with blasphemous supplication, cries,
Accept, O Christ, my bounden Sacrifice.
Then said another, we must not forget
Humbly to tender our Drinkoffring too.
With that, upon the Altar thrice he spit,
And having fill'd a putrified shoe
With his vile Urine, on his bended knee
He pour'd out his foul Impiety.
But then a Third, to make their Crime complete,
Yelling and rayling, set the Place on fire.
For since, said he, this Jesus is so great
A Deity, his Godship may require
An Holocaust: which word, and Act, the Rout
Applauded with an universal shout.
No more, cry'd here Uranius; O forbear
Till we have pour'd out our due Tears for this.
That Jesus, and his Temple wronged are,
Our Sins, and ours alone, the reason is:
Our Breach of His Commandments is the Gap
Which let into His House this foul Mishap.
This said; the reins to pious Lamentation
Both He and Psyche liberally gave.
When lo, a strong and mixt Vociferation
Conquer'd their Cries, and triumph'd in the Cave:
Some Huntsmen's Noise it seemed in their ear;
And right they guess'd, for these Men-hunters were.
It prov'd that Rout, who when they mist the Priest
At his own house, concluded he was fled,
And in the Desert sought some private Nest,
Wherein to hide his persecuted head.
But they all bent and sworn to hunt him out,
A Pack of Bloodhounds for the purpose brought.
As up and down these trac'd the Solitude,
A busy Cur the Cavern did surround.
And having caught the wished sent, persu'd
It close till he these holy Weepers found;
Whom spying, wide he opened, and howl'd
Till he to all the Rabble tales had toll'd.
This brought them tumbling thither: where when they
Beheld Uranius, with a barbarous Cry
Up went their Voice and Hands to pull Dismay
Down on their Pris'ner; whom forthwith they tie
To that grim Hound which him retriev'd, that he
Might his contemptible Conducter be.
The reverend Captive knew it was in vain
To ask their madness why it us'd him so;
Or what Offence of his had earn'd that Chain
Which bound him to such ignominious Wo;
He was not now to learn, that sober Reason
By this Committee would be voted Treason.
In patient silence he attends their spight,
Ready to stay, or go, to live, or die;
Not doubting but in Persecution's sight
To yield's the surest way to Victory.
Thus harmless Lambs are in their Suff'rings mute,
And never with the Butcher's Knife dispute.
As Psyche at his back lamenting stood,
One who pretended to have something still
Of Man and Kindness, bad her stop that flood,
Which poor seduced She amiss did spill;
And never weep to see Him Pris'ner there,
Who by Enchantments had enslaved Her.
For this your lurking, and your wailing here,
Tell us He hath bewitch'd you into his
Ridiculous Religion's yoak: yet were
It only such, said he, we would not press
The Law against him; but the wide World knows
That it with Crimes as well as Follies flows.
This old Ringleader of the Sect will we
To justice sacrifice: but as for you,
Whose Guilt we hope is but Simplicity,
To your less fault we Pardon will allow:
And to your silly Servant here, if He
Henceforth will be content more Wise to be.
Psyche with silent and with sad Disdain
Threw back his Courtesy into his face:
For though her heart at present did refrain
To speak it self, yet she resolved was:
Resolved not to leave her friend that day
Though Death and Devils blocked up her way.
And now the raging Miscreants tore the Priest
Back to the Town with shameless Exclamations,
And all the way his Patience opprest
With Kicks, and Stripes, and Taunts, and Accusations;
Which sad Procession reached to the Place
Where their Tribunal high-erected was.
A Deputy of Persecution there
Upon the Bench with ready Malice sate;
Full on whose face an Altar looked, where
Prepared Coals did glowing lie; and at
The shrine stood one with Incense in his hand
To wait upon the Deputy's Command.
Uranius thus presented at the Bar;
The Judge begins an insolent Oration,
In which his spight had took sufficient Care
To blast, and to blaspheme the Christian nation;
To whose sole Charge he loudly rayed all
The Miseries which did that Age befall.
Nor those alone (his Sovereign's Declaration
Had thus far ly'd,) but all that Calumny
Could possibly invent; the Combination
Of bloody and unclean Impiety,
Which made the Gnosticks' Name so horrid, He
Avow'd the Christian Discipline to be.
His Praise advanc'd his Gods unto the skies,
(A place which they, alas, could never reach,)
But heap'd on Christ all slanderous Injuries
Which Envy could suggest, or Hell could teach.
And at each period the People's Roar
Pour'd proud Applause upon their Orator.
But in the Close, he gravely turn'd his speech
With cruel Pity to Uranius;
Whom by his reverend Age he did beseech
No longer to be fool'd and cheated thus
By silly Wickedness, but choose their odds
Who offer'd him for One a Troop of Gods.
He wonder'd why he should not much prefer
The Deities all Nations did adore,
Before the single simple Carpenter
Who found no Worship but amongst a poor
Few sneaking and despised Souls, which He
(Vain God) could not protect from Misery.
With earnest looks he then conjur'd him to
Remember what was done at Calvary;
Who there was mock'd, and pierc'd, and nailed; who
Expired there on Shame's and Torment's Tree;
And not with desperate Sottishness lay down
His life for Him who could not save His own.
But if he still refused to present
Incense to Jove, he bad him strait expect
The most severe Excess of Punishment
Which scorn'd and anger'd Mercy could inflict.
This said; with anxious and greedy eye
He gaped for Uranius his Reply.
But He right brave Defiance to return
Upon the crafty Judge's hated love,
Cry'd out, Much sooner I my self will burn,
Than Incense to an Idol: could you prove
Your favor would not surely me destroy,
I it would hug with humble thanks and joy.
But Sir, Uranius is assur'd that They
On whom you thrust the Names of Deities,
Are weaker far than we poor things of Clay;
And that the Carpenter you so despise
Is He who fram'd both You and Me, and all
The fabrick of this universal Ball.
And His revenging Arm it is which now
Lasheth the World with those Calamities
Whose guilt on our Religion's shoulders you
So freely threap: your own Idolatries
Force Him to Justice, who had rather he
Known unto all this World by Lenity.
Would He think fit to rescue me, it is
Not all your Power, or your Queen's, can stand
Against his might: But if I must by His
Most just, be left to your tyrannick Hand;
His Pleasure dearer is than life to Me;
I dread not Death, but dread Apostasy.
No Sea repulsed by a solid Rock
E'r swell'd and foam'd with more disdainful Wrath;
Than now the judge, to hear the Pris'ner mock
So solemnly his Gods and Him, and Death.
Then let him Burn, he cry'd; since he denies
To offer, make him be, Jove's Sacrifice.
The Soldiers, who were much afraid least He
Should have embrac'd the Judge's profer'd Grace,
Rejoyc'd and clap'd their cursed hands to see
That to their Rage He now condemned was.
Away they drag him to the stake, and there
A fort of fagots round about him rear.
Then with a Brand from Jove's high Altar brought,
The Pile they kindle, and blow up the flame:
Which as it rose, they bellow'd out their shout
May such Revenge those stubborn Dotards tame,
Who scorning to the mighty Gods to yield,
Their trust on Crucified Jesus build.
But mild Uranius having kiss'd the stake,
And every fagot which his lips could reach;
At leasure was his noble Prayers to make
For Pardon for his Murderers' fury, which
Blinded with Superstition's veil, alas,
Perceived not what part it Acting was.
Then purer than the flame, and brighter far,
Which mounted from his Pile, his Soul did fly:
It higher flew than That, and gain'd the sphere
Not of the Stars, but of felicity;
Where it was welcom'd to its final Home
By Martyrdom's illustrious Diademe.
So when brave Gold hath by the cruelty
Of an incensed furnace been refined;
Its genuine substance is allow'd to be
Crowned, and with th' Imperial Image signed;
Free leave and full authority it has
Current through all its Sovereign's Realm to pass.
Psyche, whose sympathetick heart attended
Upon this holy Tragick-comedy,
No sooner saw how gloriously it ended,
But gravid with her pious Plaudit, she,
Forgetful of the furious standers by,
Thus eas'd her Soul's exultant Ecstasy:
Go, valiant Saint, thy Conquest is complete;
Go where immortal Laurel ready is
With endless Honor thy bright brows to meet;
Go and possess thy Master's Realm of Bliss:
Thy Name and fame shall reverend be beneath
So long as Piety on Earth shall breath.
Happy, most happy Thou, who art supply'd
Ev'n by thy Foes with this fair Chariot, in
Whose flaming Glories thou hast leave to ride
To those which in the Empyreum shine:
Well might'st thou pray their sin be not imputed
To them, who thee to Heav'n have persecuted.
O that poor Psyche might the grace obtain,
Though at the price of all the World's worst spight,
To kiss thy glorious feet, and bear thy Train
In thy triumphant March! O that I might
Through all thy hottest flames climb after thee,
And from this mortal Dross refined be?
This high-strain'd Air full well beseemed Her,
And in all holy Ears good musick made;
But no flat Discord could more grate and jar
Upon the Soldiers, whose professed Trade
Was how to tune their Curses to a Key
Of wild impetuous Importunity.
And how intolerable they esteem
This note of hers, they make her fully feel;
For first they vote her to be Furie's Game,
And then with barbarous haste kick, tear and hale
Her to the Judge's Bar; in hopes that He
Their bloody Hunger's Caterer would be.
Here they exclaim, that this bold Woman was
As manly as the Priest in Wickedness;
That she nor fear'd nor blush'd to make his Case
Heav'n's quarrel, and his cursed Death to bless;
And so must needs as guilty be as He
Of sin's Perfection, Christianity.
Yea of the rankest foulest part of it;
Witness the shelter of the Night and Cave,
An advantageous Circumstance, and fit
For none but Lust's black work: And now you have
Just Sir, said they, arraigned here before
Your righteous Seat a Christian and a Whore.
But She, commanded by the Judge to make
Her own Apologie, (which best, said he,
Will be evinc'd, if you that Censer take
And choke with holy smoke all Calumny,)
With elevated Eyes thank'd Heav'n for this
Occasion to ascend unto her Bliss.
Embraving then her face with gallant Joy,
And like a Champion ready for the fight,
Or some bright Queen who gilds her nuptial Day,
Or Venus whose pure lustre silvers Night,
Or brisk Aurora garnishing the Morn,
Or goodly Ceres traversing her Corn.
Or rather like that glorious Deacon who
First op'd the ruby Gate of Martyrdom,
Whom sweet and princely beams imbellish'd so
That Heav'n it self aforehand seem'd to come
And perch upon his face, which to his Foes
An Angel's Count'nance did in Man's disclose;
She thus began: No Confutation I
But Thanks alone to my Accusers owe
Who charge on me no vulgar Piety,
But rank me with Uranius, and allow
That simple I deserve no less than He
With Martyrdom's fair Palms adorn'd to be.
Indeed 'tis my Ambition's Aim that I
May but appear as deep ingrain'd as He
In what you fondly count Guilt's ugly Die:
And since their malice hath befriended me
Above my merit, I am loth to lose
What is so freely granted by my Foes.
But that part of their spight which call'd me Whore
Foully mistaketh my Delights and Me;
For might I choose my flames, for evermore
In all Hell's sulphur I would fryed be,
Rather than hatch a Thought of giving way
That lust's black fire should make my heart its Prey.
But how have I demean'd my self, that you
Wise Sir, should think this wretched Life to me
Can seem more precious than the faith I owe
To Him who can from Death's Captivity
Redeem His Subjects, and a course will take
Uranius from his Ashes out to rake.
If e'r this Tongue of mine was known to spill
The least Consent or seeming Approbation
Of you or of your Gods, (which sure my Will
Was never privy to,) this Detestation
May wipe it off, and make my Guilt as clear
As my Accusers wish it may appear.
Your Jove's no more, nay not so much to Me
As you, or as the meanest Wight that lives:
He to your fancies ow's his Deity,
And from your Superstition receives
His several shapes: and therefore well may you
Be bold with him, and what you please allow.
Sometimes a Bull must serve, sometimes a Swan
For King of Gods and Men, sometimes a shower
Of Gold, and, when you kindest are, a Man:
But such a Man, as wast's his Godship's Power
In Lust and Luxury; that politick ye
May by your God's Example Wicked be.
And must I lavish Incense to perfume
His flame, the Name of filths and Stinks? must I
His wretched Vileness to content presume
On Jesu's pure and mighty Majesty?
No: Him indeed I fear, but dread not you;
Which with my life I ready am to show.
I grant Corruption is my Pedegree,
And Worms my kindred; yet I must have leave
To think my self too noble still to be
Your God's Devoto: O do not deceive
Your selves in vain; my Essence real is,
And therefore may not worship forgeries.
Were I as foul as Slander's thoughts of me,
Were I the worst of horrid Things, a Whore;
I see not why your goodly Piety
Should not forthwith convince you to Adore
My Wickedness and Me, unless you dare
Your Venus from her Goddeship debar.
What Perfica, Pertunda, Mutunus,
What Cyprian Rites, what Ithyphallies, mean,
What sacred sport old Baubo's glorious
Invention made to cheer up Harvest's Queen,
You and your Temples know: but pardon me
If I abhor to name such Villany.
No: it shall never stain this Tongue of mine
This Tongue, whose Homage is intirely due
To Jesu's Name; that Name of most divine
Unspotted Sweetness: doubt not Sir, although
I am a feeble Female, His dear Sake
My Resolution Masculine can make.
It can, and will; and if you find to day
That Jove, or greater you, can make me start
From what becomes his faithfull Champion, say
Jesus has Psyche's Tongue, but none her Heart.
This said: with hopes of deadly Tortures fill'd,
On her grim Judge's face she nobly smil'd.
But He, deep stung by this most stout Reply,
And highly scorning to acknowledge in
A Woman such heroick Constancy,
With envious Cunning cry'd, now have I seen
Enough to quit lowd Fame from any Lie
Which charg'd such Charms on Christianity.
If every silly Soul inchanted were
With fauning Superstition's Witchery,
This obstinate and retchless Maiden here
Is Captive to that curs'd Impiety,
Being so monstrously transform'd, that to
The Gods and her own Self she's open Foe.
But must We rage because this Wench is mad
Perhaps her Spell's of short extent, and she
Tam'd by a Prison's Hardship, may be glad
To turn into her self again, and be
Content (which may the Gods vouchsafe to grant!)
Her Blasphemy and Boldness to recant.
Great Jove, who heard when she did him defy.
Forbore to fling his Lightning at her head;
And by that sweet and heav'nly Lenity,
Of Patience to Us a Lecture read.
To Prison with her, and instruct her by
New Chains to quit these Bands of Witchery.
Laden with Irons, but much more with scorn,
Poor Psyche thus unto the Jayl is led;
And in a dungeon gloomy and forlorn
(That she might doubly be imprisoned,)
Cruelly plung'd: where as she 'gan to sink
Into the nasty Mire, she wak'd the Stink.
A Stink which might disdain what Arabie
And all its Odors could against it do:
An aged Stink, which in that Sordid stie
Had mellowing lain; for it was long agoe
Since any Foot disquieted the Heap
Of pois'nous Lothsomness which there did sleep.
Fast in this Torment stuck, afflicted She
No succour could receive from any Friend:
The Jaylor barr'd out all Their Piety
Who long'd to give what He deny'd to lend,
And only once a day his Pris'ner fed
With puddle Water and more dirty Bread.
Yet harder than this Diet, was the Grace
He duly said: Repent, unhappy Wretch,
Repent, he cry'd: why should this odious Place
Be dearer to thee, than the Favor which
The gentle Judge hath offer'd thee, if thou
With Him, and our great Queen, to Jove wilt bow?
These curs'd importunate Preachments sorely grated
Upon the bowels of her Soul, who in
This woful Leisure deeply meditated
Upon the Age's most contagious Sin:
Which now with zealous superstition rung
From her destructive Keeper's pitying Tongue.
No Member e'r with softer Sympathy
The Wounds of its fraternal Part could feel,
Than she that deadly-spreading Malady
Which now had tainted Albion's Commonweal;
And like the Plague indeed, into the Heart
Its desperate Poison did directly dart.
Inestimable Souls (for such the Price
Which Jesus paid, demonstrates them to be,)
Their own illustrious Value did despise,
Selling themselves to poor Idolatry;
And at no higher rate, than to escape
Some worldly Shame, and temporal Mishap.
Their dear Redeemer's most transcendent Love
They kick'd and scorned and his Heav'n with it;
And spent their Service on ignoble Jove,
Although no Guerdon but the lowest Pit
Of everflaming Torments did attend them,
Where ev'n that Jove himself no help could lend them.
This pierc'd her Soul so deep, that she should give
Her Life ten thousand times to Death, might she
But at that cost be able to reprieve
Or Friends or Foes from this mad misery.
But seeing this unfeasible, the sight
Doubled her sorrow's heart-oppressing weight.
This fair Advantage envious Satan took
To work upon her rocky Constancy,
Trusting his Art at length would her provoke
To kiss the Judge's offer'd Courtesy;
He hop'd that Desolation gall'd by Grief
Would stoop at last, and not disdain Relief.
And yet her charitable Meditation
Highly displeas'd him; wherefore crafty He
Resolv'd perforce to knit her Contemplation
Close to her own new-sprung Calamity;
For all her Veins with angry Flames he fill'd
Till into burning Pearls and Boils they swell'd.
Her skin, so soft, and white, and sleek before,
All rugged now with odious Tumors is:
From head to foot one universal Sore
Arrays her round in a tormenting Dress;
A Dress which Uzze's patient Prince of old
He forc'd to wear instead of Robes of gold.
Yet on dry Ashes He had leave to sit,
And with a Potsherd scrape his scurfy skin:
A Comfort Psyche's Fate would not permit,
Who stuck beneath that Help, a Captive in
The thick relentless Mire; where she is fain
To rub her torturing Tumors with her Chain.
She rub'd, and every Rub did but inrage
The fretful Sores to higher swelling Pain;
Whose fury for the present to asswage
She rub'd, and so augmented it again.
O deplorable Wight, whose only Ease
Is her own flaming Anguish to increase!
And yet these Torments less tormenting were
Than those which now her Parents' treacherous Love
Heap'd on her wounded Soul: the Judge's ear,
And then his Leave they gain'd, to come and prove
What their Persuasions with their Child could do;
And cunningly they did their bus'ness too.
For on the Dungeon's brink their Lamentation
They poured first, and then this charming Cry:
Psyche, O Psyche, If thy Tribulation
Be yet too weak to make thee bow to thy
Own Ease and Quiet; let thy Parents' Grief
At least, by thy Consent, obtain Releif.
The Staff of our decrepit years art Thou,
Sole Thou, dear Daughter; all our Joys in Thee
Are fresh and young: O do not rob us now
Of that by which we live, thy Liberty:
Thy Liberty, which we would rather choose
By any Hand than by thine own to loose.
The Judge would yield thee back to Us again,
And wilt thou Cruel be when He is kind?
By thee have we deserved to be slain
Who from our Foes such generous Pity find?
Though thine own Life thou strangely scornest, yet
Abhor not Ours to whom thou owest it.
Surely thy Christ, if he as gentle be,
As thou didst vaunt him for, will never praise
That wilful and unnatural Piety
Which both thine own and Parents' lives betrays.
O no: our common Lord we also know,
And honor his Compassion more than thou.
Our Faith in his abundant Mercy makes
Us, till this boistrous Storm abates, Comply.
His Eye, which through all Hearts its Prospect takes,
Beholds that Ours pant still with Loyalty
To him and his dear Laws; and therefore He
Propitious to our ou[t]side-fault will be.
To Peter's Tongue, though fould with three Denyals,
'Cause still his Heart was clean, he pardon gave:
And doubt not thou but since thy present Tryals
More dreadful are than His, thy Lips may have
Leave to be bold for once, if still thy Breast
In Loyalty to Jesus doth persist.
O force not then thine own Destruction!
Accept of what thou surely ought'st to crave;
Whilst yet it shines, enjoy the courteous Sun,
And let this Dungeon not forestal thy Grave.
Speak, speak, and bid Us Live with Thee; or by
Thy willful Silence, send Us home to Dy.
So pleaded they: but Psyche with a Sigh
Fetch'd deeper than the bottom of her Grot,
Sounded the woful Charge, and valiantly
With this athletick Answer vanquish'd what
Artillery their crafty Tongues had brought
From Piety's strong-Hold to force her out.
I now no longer can the Jaylor blame
Who tempted me my Liberty to gain
By being Slave to Jove's accursed Name,
And scorning Him who on Heav'n's throne doth reign:
Why should I look that Pagan He, to Me
Should kinder than my Christian Parents be?
If yet you dare that holy Title wear,
Who antichristianly invite me now
To kick at Christ. Alas, that I appear,
So execrable in your eyes, that you
(As if this Dungeon here were shallow grown,)
Into Hell's Gulf should strive to plunge me down!
The sacred Law of Filial Duty I
Hold dearer than this World: for well I know
(Nor shall all Torments force me to deny
This Truth,) that unto you my Life I ow;
Which in your Service if I ever fear
To spend, then may I prove Idolater.
But that's the Life by which I Pris'ner am
In Earth's unworthy Jayl: a Life I have
Much truer to its active noble Name;
A Life so precious, that to reprieve
It from the Jaws of endless Death, his own
The King of Kings vouchsafed to lay down.
That Life I mean by which my Soul doth live;
A Life which from your Loins I never drew:
O call not then for what you did not give,
Nor think that this is to your Pleasure due.
God is my only Parent here, and I
Intire to him must keep my Loyalty.
As fast as in this Mire I stick, the Way
Of His Commands I running am: and though
Your Prayers or Necks you in my Path should lay
To barricado up my Race; yet now
I would not hear my Mortal Duty plead,
But on your Necks and Prayers freely tread.
Yet Heav'n forbid I should be forc'd to take
This hard Experiment of Piety!
O rather help to haste me to the Stake
And of my Combat there Spectators be:
Yon'l ne'r repent that you your Child, though in
A Coach of Flames, to Heav'n have mounting seen.
But since you know so well the vast extent
Of Jesu's Mercy, know it not in vain:
Your own decrepit years bid you repent
With speediest speed: and that deep-dyed stain
Of your Idolatrous Compliance dares
The utmost Power of your fullest Tears.
This is the properest Use your souls can make
Of Peter's signal Case; his triple Sin
No warrant for Presumption is to take
His faithless Course; hut his repentant Brine
Shews to all sinful Eyes, what Waters are
Able to purge such stains, and quench Despair.
Mispend not then those precious Beads on me;
Your Selves need all their ornament: and I
This only Favor crave, that you would be
But so courageous yet, as to rely
On Heav'n's Protection, Speak, O speak, and ease
My throbbing heart's tormenting Jealousies.
I burn, I burn in Anguish, till I hear
You by a stout Profession defy
Those Baits of secular ignoble Fear
Which strangely lurid you to Apostasy.
Speak then, and make my Life grow sweet in spight
Of all these Tortures which against it fight.
So pious She. But feeble-hearted They
Rendring no Answer but a faithless sigh,
Their griefs and fears to witness, went their way
Confounded by their Daughter's Constancy.
Yet by this foul Retreat they gave her more
Soul-piercing Wounds, than did their Charge before.
For now her ominous Meditations threw
Her down into that Gulf of flaming Pain
Which to Apostate Wickedness was due;
Where every Torment, every Rack and Chain
To which her Parents seem'd condemned now,
A Sea of Woe into her bosom threw.
So vast a Sea, as drowned all the Sense
Of her own overflowing Pangs; and she
Is quite transformed by the Violence
Of tender but self-cruel Sympathy
Into their imminent Condition, where
She underwent what she for them did fear.
But as she strugled to maintain this Fight
Of mighty Charity, at length she fainted
When lo, a sudden unexpected Light
(A thing with which that Grot had ne'r acquainted,)
The Place, and Her, with Glory did surprise
Off ring a radiant Stranger to her eyes.
For she beheld at her right hand a Maid
On whose fair head a diamond Crown did shine:
With gentle Majesty she was array'd,
And all her Ornaments appear'd divine,
Which Sight amazed Psyche so, that she
Hasted to wellcom't on her bended knee.
But as her Soreness, Mire, and Clay, forbad
Her meek Intent, she fetch'd a modest sigh:
To which the Stranger this mild Answer made:
I see thy Mind in thy ingenuous Eye;
Thy Courtesy by thy Desire is done,
And sweetly calls my ern'd Requital on.
This said; she hugg'd her with a dear Embrace,
Which clasp'd her straiter than her Gyves and Chains,
And deeper printed was than her Disease;
For mightily it pierc'd through all her Pains
Into her Heart, and girt it up so close,
That now no Anguish there could interpose.
As He who is some wager'd Race to run
Having his Loins knit up, and being by
His Girdle tyed to Himself alone,
With nimbler stoutness to the Goal doth fly,
Than when his Waste he loose about him ware
And there for wearyness had room to spare.
Embraced Psyche thus perceiv'd her Breast
Lac'd strait, and shrunk into Collection's strength.
At first she wonder'd her importunate Guest
So much should press her Courtesy; but at length
Finding fresh Vigor glowing in her heart,
She knew she only squeased out her smart.
This threw her down in humble Gratitude
To court and kiss her heav'nly Surgeon's foot;
A Surgeon whose mysterious Art subdu'd
Her strong Disease, and yet subdu'd it not:
For though at perfect Ease, yet still as sore
She found her boyling Body as before.
And now such Courage in her Bosom reigns
That she rejoic'd she had so hard a Race:
Her gauntlet she dares give to any Pains,
And dreads no lingring Death's most tedious face.
Her Chains to her no more than Bracelets are,
Her flaming Boyls as Pearls indeed apear.
Her Parents' Case to Heav'n's yet hidden Will
She freely now resigns; that Will, which though
It bitter seem to Worldly Tastes, can still
To meek and uncorrupted Palats flow
With all the Soul of Sweetness, and will make
From Springs of Gall a Flood of Honey break.
She seeming yet not to have fully shar'd
In Pangs and Suff'rings, feareth not to Pray
That He who had on her such strength confer'd
Would still more Load upon her shoulders lay:
More fewer still unto her Fervor give,
Who now by nothing but by Pains could live.
Nor was it wonder: for the Stranger here
(Thenceforth a stranger unto her no more, )
Was sped from Heav'n a special Messenger
To heal her Heart now 'ginning to be sore,
In her pain'd Body. Willingly she came
And did her work, for Patience was her Name.
The Eyes of Lambs ne'r darted meeker Raies
Than stream from Hers; and yet the Lyon's face
With stouter Bravery could never raise
His royal Looks, nor with more Courage gaze
Upon and challenge Terrors, than do's she,
Though soft as Honey, or as Oil she be.
All over She is nothing else but Scars,
Writ large and fair, to testify what she
Had undergone in Heav'n's adventurous Wars;
And yet these Characters her Beauty be;
For with such silver Light they smile, that they
Her noble Limbs like Tires of Stars array.
But having thus dispatch'd her Bus'ness, she
The cheer'd resolved Pris'ner leav's: when lo
The Judge's Messenger arriv'd, to see
If Psyche yet were fully tam'd or no:
And standing at the Dungeon's mouth, he cries,
Learn wretched Maid, at length, learn to be wise.
The Judge, on whose sole Will thy Fate depends,
In spight of thy Perversness Tender is;
And Me on Mercie's Errand hither sends
To offer to thee at an easy price
Thy Life and Liberty; and more than that
If thou thy Irreligion wilt forget.
His noble Word (is any Bond or Seal
So sure?) he gives, to change thy Poverty
Into a wealthy state; nor shalt thou feel
What Scorns and Chains, and Dungeons signify;
But living in soft Peace and Plenty His
High Favor, and the World's Esteem possess.
His only Son, the Heir of his Estate,
And present Owner of his Heart, for Thee
He doth design, except thou shutt'st the gate
Against thy entering Felicity;
And desperately foolish, wilt desire
Before thy Nuptial Torch, thy Funeral Fire.
But if you obstinately yet deny
To offer Incense to our mighty Jove;
You dam the way to all his Clemency,
And a deserved Sacrifice must prove
To your own Madness: this Decree is past;
You must Uranius's Fate to morrow taste.
As when the tossed Mariner descries
The Promontory of his native Soil,
Within whose craggy Horns his harbor lies,
He strait forgets his long tempestuous Toil,
Beginning his revived Heart to find
Swell'd more with Joy than are his Sails with wind.
So Psyche hearing that her Doom was past
Which to her long-wisht Port would her convey;
Her Arms in triumph up to Heav'n she cast
With thanks and praises for that happy Day;
And in Defiance of his offer'd Grace,
Threw this stout answer at the Serjeant's face:
My Thanks to your kind Master carry back;
High is his Favor, and I it embrace:
But sure your Errand you did much mistake,
Or willingly at least your words misplace.
Death, Death, not Life, a Favor is, and I
More gratefully accept That Courtesy.
Tell Him he woo's me for his Son too late
Who long since was betroth'd, and mean to be
True to my noble Spouse: nor can your Threat
E'r shake the groundsel of my Constancy,
Who doubt not but my Nuptial Tapers will
Be lighted at my funeral flaming Pile.
As for your vain and wretched Jupiter,
Were he but half so true a thing as you,
I then would some respect to Him defer;
But unto Nothing, what can I allow
But what it is? and though your Incense be
But smoke, 'tis more substantial far than He.
Deceive your foolish Selves no longer, I
Am not Enchanted, but All you are so:
What else should make you dream I fear to dy,
Who through Death's gate to Life's bright Court shall go?
Away, and pray your Master, if he be
An honest Man, to keep his word with Me.
This Answer (which the Bearer fully did,)
Inrag'd the Judge to make his Threatnings good.
But all in vain his Wrath he marshalled;
Heav'n's mild, against his bloody Purpose stood;
Nor could fierce Satan further help him, or
One step beyond his sturdy Tether stir.
Mean while such Joy in Psyche's bosom glow'd
Through Expectation of the Fire and Stake,
That all her Pains and Torments to it bow'd:
For in sweet Quiet she that evening brake
Her tedious Vigils, and permitted Sleep
Over the Curtains of her Eyes to creep.
But Phylax, who in Absence's sad night
Had all this while been set, now gained leave
Of Heav'n to Rise in his dear Pupil's sight,
And from the Tyrant's fury her reprieve:
Down to the Dungeon he as gladly flies.
As ever he had towred to the skies.
Where finding her not only Pris'ner to
Her iron Chains, but Sleep's soft silken Bands,
He wisely set himself his work to do
Whilst She was yet at Rest: His potent Hands
Upon her burning Soars he gently laid;
Which quench'd, and fled, as of his Touch afraid.
Her scurfy Roughcast scaled off, and all
Her Skin to fresh and tender smoothness left.
So when of old the Syrian General
In Jordan had exchang'd his leprous shift,
His Flesh appear'd as soft and pure as were
The Virgin Streams which smil'd and sported there.
With like facility He did but touch
The massy Chains which on his Daring lay;
Nor durst their brasen Locks so much as grutch
That mystick Key's Commandment to obey:
But down they tumbled, clashing as they fell
Which Noise to Psyche did their Ruine tell.
Up started she, and sought to understand
The Noise's meaning, hoping 't had been Day;
And that the challeng'd Judge had sent Command
Strait to the Stake to hurry her away;
That hungry he might other charges save
And her for Breakfast ready rosted have.
When lo, her self in Phylax's Arms she found
Chain'd by the Bands of Love: her other Gyves
Confuted all and shattered on the ground
She wondring sees; and instantly perceiv's
Her Sores were fled she knew not whither: which
Scru'd her Amazement to an higher pitch.
But then, My Dear, said Phylax, we have now
No time to loyter here, but must be gone.
Three times she shak'd her head and rubb'd her brow,
But off she could not rub the Vision:
She yielded therefore to attend the Dream,
For no such Truth to her it self could seem.
Up from the Dungeon the Angel flew
Proud of the Prize which in his Arms he bore;
The Bolts and Locks ran from his radiant View,
So did the Prison's seav'nfold brasen Door
Yet durst not make the least Complaint, or bear
Tales, by their clashing, to the Jaylor's ear.
Thus through the Town unseen, unheard he past
Leading his Pupil in a silent Way:
Great was his Care of her, and great his Haste
Till he had brought her into Safetie's Bay;
This was a Place which in the Desert He
For her immured had with Privacy.
A Place sequester'd far beyond the Scent
Of any Bloodhound whether Man or Beast,
A Place well-furnished with sweet Content
And all Conveniences ready drest:
Where, having brought her in, No more mistake
Thy Bliss, he cry'd, but know thou art Awake.
For amply pleas'd with this Experiment,
Thy Spouse accepts thy faithful Patience:
To snatch Thee from thy Chains and Sores, He sent
Me hither, and from all that Violence
The furious Tyrant hath prepar'd to day
Upon thine undeserving Life to lay.
Psyche appal'd at this unlook'd-for Word,
And well-perceiving that she heard and saw,
With such indignant Discontent was stirr'd
Against her Guardian, that had not the Law
Of Modesty been printed on her Tongue,
Full in his face Defiance she had flung.
Sadly she frown'd, and sadlier smote her breast;
And looked round about, some hopes to meet
That still she was not totally releast
Out of the reach of Persecution's Threat:
But nothing answer'd her examining Eye
But, what she most abhor'd, Safe Privacy.
Wherefore at length she ventur'd thus to ease
Her belking Heart: O Phylax, how art Thou,
Known hitherto to me by Courtesies,
Into mine Enemy transformed now!
A greater Tyrant why art Thou to Me
Than He from whom thou hast set me free.
I by His help, this morning should have seen
That Day which riseth from my Spouse's Eyes;
Nor had I any longer troubled been
Upward to gaze when I would read the skies:
O no! Uranius now looks down, when he
The region of the Sun and Stars would see.
What is this Life of Banishment to Me,
Who have no setled Home but That above?
What boots it, that my Chains and Malady
Are shaken off, if Psyche still must grove
A Pris'ner to this heavy Flesh, which more
Tormenteth me than any Chain or Sore.
And are the Palms and ever-radiant Crown
Of Martyrdom so poor and vile a prize;
Are Heav'n, and Bliss, and Jesus's presence, grown
Things so indifferent, that my longing Eyes
Should spare their Tears, when I am snatch'd away
From them, and forc'd on sordid Earth to stay?
O Phylax, thou hast not reprieved me
From any of my pangs: I'm at the stake,
I burn, I burn; nor can my Agony
But by my final Dissolution slake.
She fainted here — But Phylax snatch'd her up,
And hasted thus her sorrow's Tide to stop:
Courage, sweet soul; and he assured, I
Have not deceiv'd thee of thy noble Aim:
Thy Spouse design's a Martyrdom whereby
To fetch thee to Himself, but not the same
He de[s]igned to Uranius: no; for Thee
He treasur'd hath a braver Destiny.
A Destiny which He on none bestows
But those who highest in his Favor set;
A Destiny to which thy highest Vows
Ne'r yet aspir'd; a Destiny so fit
For brightest Seraphs, that were mortal Fate
To end their Life, they'd choose no Death but that.
More long, more strong, and stretch'd with fuller Pain
Thy Martyrdom shall be, than from the Spight
Of this, th[r]ough raging Tyrant thou canst gain:
Thy Strength's reserv'd for a hardier Fight
Than that Uranius fought; and this shall be
The Scene of thy heroick Chevalry.
Here, here shalt Thou impregnably maintain
The sturdy Combat, whilst thy Spouse, and all
His Angels waiting on his royal Train,
Will be Spectators: Do not then forestal
Thy greater Fame by hasty Zeal, but stay
With patience for thy Coronation Day.
This welcome Answer such Refreshment blew
On Psyche's heart, that meek and pliant she
Cool'd her importunate Desires, and grew
Content to wait the full Maturity
Of her affected Laurel: though as yet
She little knew how she must Gather it.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 2:178-99]