Tired of life, Psyche drains the cup of sorrow and is visited by Despair. Psyche refuses suicide, but when Phylax returns his restorative powers fail. The description of Despair recalls Spenser's treatment in Faerie Queene 1.9.35 ff.
Herbert E. Cory: "Persecution goes to England and, at her summons, many flock to her standards. Psyche and the few who stand fast are driven forth while the lawless rob, murder, and burn. Psyche and a friend, Uranius, take refuge in a cave. A lion, in search of prey, rushes into their harborage. But he suddenly becomes mild at the sight of the two sufferers, as does the lion before Una in Spenser. The two exiles are captured, Uranius is burned at the stake, and Psyche is tortured in prison. But Phylax frees her and tells her that an even more exalted martyrdom is reserved for her lot. Psyche is brought to a desert and abandoned to many trials. Satan sends against her Despair, the usual Spenserian figure with hollow, staring eyes and all the foulness of Duessa unmasked, armed with rust-eaten swords and daggers. This fury makes a long and subtle speech, taunts Psyche with her many sins, as Spenser's apparition taunts the Red Cross Knight with his association with Duessa, and incites her to suicide. But Psyche mains firm and the hag vanishes with a shriek. Psyche burns in a sort of inner fire of religious exaltation" "Spenser, the Fletchers, and Milton" UCPMP 2 (1912) 341.
Psyche abandon'd to the Solitude
Of Soul and Body, by the resolute Might
Of patient loyal Constancy subdu'd
Hell's Champion Despair in single fight.
Yet in her Conquest no free triumph found,
Being still a Slave to Dereliction bound.
Though cold grim Sadness frowneth in thine Eye,
Dear Solitude, yet in thy silent Breast
Some worthy Sweetness doth inshrined ly;
Witness that Vileness, and that high Request
By which betwixt the lazy earthly heart
And Pious Soul thou so divided art.
He whom black Conscience catching all alone,
Suffers not to be so; but in his face
Musters in dread array each Legion
Of his hell-lifted Sins; and in that Glass
Of self-affrighting Terror makes him see
What cause he has ev'n his own Foe to be:
He, foolish He, a large Inditement draws
Against thy larger Innocence; upon
Thy Credit's fairest Top his Anger throws
Scorn's foulest Bottom: Thee he calls, and none
But Thee, the Mother of vexatious Folly,
Of Horrors, and despairing Melancholy.
He no where but among his roaring Boys
Can meet a Quire whose Musick suits his ears,
Whilst in the tumult of that boistrous Noise
All Atheisme's ranting Wit be hears,
And learns what Phrases of mad Vanity,
What Oaths, what Blasphemies in fashion be.
In this loud Tempest (joined with a Sea
Of lusty Wine) he desperately drowns
The wholsom Thoughts of sad Sobriety:
In this gay Throng, made up of all the Town's
Gentilest Crimes, He's certain not to find
Free Room to take a View of his own Mind.
And thus, unhappy Man, he only lives
In his Outside, and therefore liveth not:
But when sure Death his woful Summons gives,
Alarm'd into a Fright past knowing what
To do or think, in vain for help he cries
And to himself a wretched Stranger dies.
He dies, and leaves his Body, which could not
Endure to be a little while alone,
In Grave's dark tedious Solitude to rot;
Whilst in the Tumult of Damnation
His now uncloyster'd Soul is forc'd to dwell
Amongst the Roarers of eternal Hell.
But He who dares his Bosom ransack, and
Take due survey of every thing within,
That he may always ready have at hand
An Inventory of Himself, and win
Time upon Death by prudent Preparation
To entertain and kiss his Consummation;
He who can venture to endure the Slander
Of Stoicism, and scorn the wanton Lure
Of gaudy Fashion, Sin's most faithful Pander;
He who can think it reason to Immure
Himself, when They who ly at open Ease
Prove Prizes to Soul-plundering Miseries;
He who will rather sail alone; than run
With that wild Navy which no Compass keeps,
Nor steers by any heav'nly Light, but on
Fleet Shelves doth ride, or rush through rocky Deeps;
He whom no cheating Charms can win to be
Content to perish for mere Company:
He who both Leisure and Desire can find
To sequester Impertinences, that
His proper Bus'ness he may only mind
And raise by pious Thrift his best Estate,
That he a Bank of endless Wealth may have
When poor he go's and naked to his grave:
He, He's the Man, on whom the Citie's Joys
And proud Excess; the Countrie's hearty Sport;
The gallant Licence, and the glittering Toys,
With all the glorious Nothings of the Court,
As on their Conqueror look; Since sober He
Can of plain Solitude inamored he.
For here his Soul more Company can meet
And of more high and worthy Quality,
Than in the Theater's most thronging Sweat,
Where Spectacles profess to court the Eye.
Such Preasses justle out all Heav'n, but He
Reads it at large in this Vacuity.
An undisturbed View he here can take
Of all its fairest and its loftiest Stories:
His Contemplation here can freely break
Through all its Treasures of unbounded Glories;
And in the Court where Bliss and Pleasures reign
With Saints and Angels brave Acquaintance gain.
Here to the Universe's King may He
His free attendance pay from Morn to Night,
Whilst in the everlasting One and Three
He learneth to Divide and to Unite
His mystick Homage, as the Spirit's Gale
Makes him in this Abyss of Wonders sail.
Here constantly he stands upon his Watch,
That when the roaring Lyon, whose fierce Chase
Surrounds the World his careless Preys to catch,
Hunteth that way, his heav'n-imbraved Face
May with inured ready-waking Might
Confront his Fo, and entertain the Fight.
Here, from the sapless World's inchanting breast
Where only mocking Froth and Bubbles spring,
Himself he weans; and studies how to feast
Upon some masculine substantial Thing,
Which may not cheat him with short false Content,
But yield his Soul eternal Nutriment.
No Humor of the Times, no Garbs or Fashions,
Can here seduce his Care; no boistrous News
Of publick Woes, or fatal Alterations,
His Harbour's Halcyon Quiet can abuse.
No storms can rage but in the open Seas,
His private Bay the Cloyster is of Ease.
His righteous Soul is not afflicted here
To see and hear how wretched Worms defy
Omnipotence's Self, and scorn to fear
The Jaws of Hell, to which their Villany
Makes them apparent Heirs; but take delight
The Love and Blood of Jesus to despight.
He sees no Levellers begin their Trade
With Altars first, and then with Crowns; he sees
No Temples Dens of Holy Robbers made,
And garrison'd with strong Impieties;
Temples, where under foot the Church is trod,
And only Horses serv'd in stead of God.
He heareth no Rebellion's Canons first
Giving their dire Reports in Pulpits, and
As loud, as if indeed their Thunder burst
From Heav'n's Artillery; till th' imbroiled Land
Too late perceiveth this Vociferation
Is but the funeral Sermon to the Nation.
Here past the reach of those bewitching Darts
Which flash with radiant Bane from Wanton Eyes,
And grave both Timorous and Martial Hearts
With Mortal, though fanastick Wounds, He lies
Secure and safe, and undisturbed may
Prepare for his eternal Nuptial Day.
Here Time and Freedom he enjoys, to weed
And cultivate himself: with pious toil
Each Herb of Grace he plants, and sows the Seed
Of every Virtue in his Bosom's Soil;
Assur'd this Agriculture will conclude
I' th' Harvest of mature Beatitude.
With prudent Fore-cast he can here provide
An ample Stock in readiness to be
Against all Charges which may him betide
In managing a Publick Life, if he
Be called from his private Nest, and made
Against the thronging stream of sin to wade.
More furnished with strength of Argument
From learned Athens never Student came,
Who had his nimblest Years and Spirits spent
The Engins of deep-reaching Wit to frame;
Than doth this sagely-sprightful Champion from
His private School of publick Virtue come.
For having learn'd their due Contempt to throw
Upon those Interests and Baits which make
The bias'd Hearts of Men unmanly grow,
And cowardly Sin's sneaking Bypaths take;
In spight of all the World which dares say No,
He in the King of Heav'n's Highway will go:
And that is Truth's and holy Wisdom's Road;
In which whoever travels, always wins
The Games he hunts; for whilst he is abroad,
He finds Success and Victory his Inns:
And when he to his heav'nly Home ascends,
His Journey he in endless Triumphs ends.
The Garland thus of all Advantages
Retirement's Life is privileg'd to wear:
Which therefore only dear and precious is
To Them who Sons of heav'n and Prudence are;
And which insiped timorous Souls, as they
Cannot believe, so never can enjoy.
Psyche, who now conducted was into
This Solitude, though Zeal's most venturous heat
Spurr'd her in stout Uranius's steps to go;
Yet, since her Phylax stop'd her forward feet,
Appeas'd the Flames of her Impatience by
The streaming Comforts of her Privacy.
If in the Tumult of the World she still
Had mingled been, the Croud had surely slain her;
For all Earth's friendliest Furniture and Skill
Could with no savory Solace entertain her:
Her heart already dwelt in Heav'n, and she
Liv'd best where least she could behind it be.
And that was here, where by no secular Care
Or Interruption's Clog she hamper'd was;
But harbouring in a calmy Hemisphere,
Upon free Meditation's wings could pass
Above the Moon and Sun, and Troops of fair
Stars, which in Heav'n's Campagnia ranged are.
Yet Contemplation's too jejune and dry
To satisfy Love's mighty Hunger: Love
Will venture in rebellious Loyalty
To reach at full Fruition, though above
Her reach it lie: Loves quickned when repell'd,
And may Forbidden be, but not With-held.
But as her Soul began to pant again
For that dear Day of final Conflict she
By Phylax's Promise hoped to obtain,
And that alone: Lo on the suddain he
Warn'd thence by secret Bus'ness from his King,
Presently took his leave, and took his wing.
As she made haste to ask the reason, he
With sprightful speed outflew her Voice, and Eye.
A Sigh then strove to follow him; but she
Repulsed it with noble Constancy;
And cry'd, It must not, and it shall not grieve me:
Did Heav'n not call him, Phylax would not leave me.
Then down upon her yielding Knees she fell,
And casting upward her most loyal Eyes,
Since thou no less on Earth below dost dwell
Sweet Lord, said she, than in the highest skies;
Though Phylax's wings now shelter not my head
Yet Thine are always o'r thy Handmaid spread.
Though to my soul his Company be dear,
Yet not so precious as thy blessed Will:
Though he has left his feeble Psyche here,
I can, and dare be more Abandon'd still
If mighty Thou, who never wilt forsake me,
With nearer Losses pleased art to rack me.
Fain would I quit the Debt in which to Thee,
And mine own Vows I stand; fain would I prove
By combating with any Misery,
The Valiant Truth of my obliged Love.
Thou bidst us Follow with our Cross, and lo
I in thy bloodiest steps desire to go.
I would not to a Figure's Courtesy
Beholden be in my Affliction, nor
To such a tender Cross condemned be
As needs th' assistance of a Metaphor
To make its hard Name good; for That, I'm sure
Was true and real which Thou didst endure.
No golden Plenty Psyche craves of Thee,
No soft Content, or silken Peace; impart
Those Favors unto whom thou wilt, for me;
Thy sharpest Blessings best will sute my Heart:
My Heart, which burneth in profound Desire
Of some heroick and consuming Fire.
If ever Martyr ow'd thee more than I,
Permit me not to pay my Blood to Thee.
But mighty King of Equity, O Why
Must Psyche only not have leave to be
What Duty bids her? why must Life be mine,
Which is not so, till I have made it Thine?
O slay me not by still Denying Death!
To suffer want of Suff'rings, is to Me
The only Dregs which from thy deepest Wrath
Vengeance can squeeze; from this one misery,
Which is the Pith of all, I beg reprieve:
I die in Torment if in Ease I live.
I die; and which is worse than Death and Hell,
Die not for Thee, though Thou for me wert slain:
Pity, O Pity, Jesu. — Here her Zeal
Outflew her Tongue: yet though she could Complain
By Words no longer; by her weeping Eyes
She poured out as strong a Flood of Cries.
Jesus, whose Ear to Love's sweet Dialect
Stands always ope, strait heard her Agony;
Whose potent Musicke charm'd him to respect
Her meekly-venturous Importunity:
His sweetned Bitterness apace he sent,
And bless'd her with her begged Punishment.
Charis, accustom'd open house to keep
In her free heart, he there shut up so close
That now no glimmering Ray had power to Peep
Forth from that Nest of Light: nor could she choose
But be suspitious that the spring was dry'd,
From whence she saw no Emanations glide.
When lo the Welkin, which before was clear,
And flowed with the Sun's transparent Gold;
Started from its fair Looks with sudden fear,
And did in swarthy Weeds it self infold.
Day was abash'd to see how boldly Night
Incroach'd upon her, and despis'd her Light:
The Air, presaging what outrageous Pains
Would tear her tender weatherbeaten sides,
Looks sadly, and with hollow Groans complains
Aforehand of the Storm; which as she chides,
She but awakes; and so provokes to rage
With louder fury on this tragick Stage.
Forthwith the Clouds came tumbling one upon
Another's back, for fear to loose their place
And office in that blind Confusion
With which the Element all gravid was:
Close quaking in his Cave lay every Beast,
And every Bird lamenting in his Nest.
The daunted Trees shiver'd in every Leaf;
The stones forgot their strength, and sweat for fear;
The Corn hung down their heads, and pour'd their grief
By whispers into one another's ear.
Never did more dismaying Expectation
Usher in any Tempest's Indignation.
Strange Phantoms dress'd in spurious smoaking Light
Fed by foul Sulphur, flashed all about;
Fell grizly Ghosts array'd in gloomy Fright
Both with themselves and one another fought:
Whole Troops of Feinds and Furies, in despair,
Threw their torn Serpents through the sable Air.
The labouring Clouds at length with open Cry
Brought forth their Woe, and thunder'd their Complaint:
The Bowels of the hardest Rocks were by
Compassion mov'd; the massy Earth grew faint,
And all her boldest Mountains shak'd to hear
The doleful Outcry of her neighbour Sphere.
Psyche alone as yet refus'd to melt
By any Tremor; only in her heart
A leaden Numness creeping on she felt,
Since Charis there forbore her sprightful Part:
When blacker than the rest one heavy Cloud
Down to the ground before her face did crou'd.
Where having op'd its hideous Curtains wide,
Forth at the gap a stream of Lightning broke;
The suddenness of whose most dazeling Tide
The resolute Maid with some amazement stroke:
But strait an Hand reach'd out it self and held
A deep wide Cup with greater Terrors fill'd.
It held it to her Lip, and that which had
Till now been Thunder, prov'd a fiercer Voice,
Commanding Her to drink that liquid Dread
In proper Answer to her venturous Choise:
She nothing more than Pleasures feard; and here
Was nothing less than what her heart did fear.
Thus challeng'd by the Voice, whose Fount she knew
And durst not disobey; into the Cup
She sent her Eye to take a plenal view
Of this sad Deep before she drunk it up.
But there such boiling Horrors she descried,
That down she prostrate fell, and thus she cried:
Weak Woman, as I was; how has my Pride,
My silly Pride, betrayed me to Wo!
On Confidence's wings I needs would ride,
And pertly towre up to mine overthrow.
Had I remembred that a Worm I am,
I ne'r had crawl'd so high to reach my Shame.
I ne'r had woo'd all Tryals to assail me,
I ne'r had challeng'd what I quake to see
But since my prudent Meekness then did fail me
'Tis just my Courage now should languid be.
Alas my blindly-valiant Wish is too,
Too fully come; and I, what shall I do?
To its dead bottom Jesu didst not Thou
Grief's mighty Cup for all thy Members drink?
How is it then, that this of mine is now
Of Poison's rankest Soul a swelling sink:
Whose Sorrows, though to Thine they shallow be,
Yet are too deep for faint unhappy Me.
Thy naked Anger floating here I see,
In which no Glimpse of Favor mixed is:
What will become of weak abandon'd me
Who in thy Count'nance read mine only bliss,
If I be drowned in this Sea of Night
And buried from thy all-enlivening Sight?
Sweet was the Bowle of which Uranius drunk
For being swallow'd up in streams of Fire,
Fortunate Saint to Heav'n he only sunk:
But I in this black Gulf of hideous Ire
Must downward dive, and overwhelmed be
In Dereliction's vast Profoundity.
I would not fear the most appalling Face
Of any Sorrow, which did not forbid
The sight of Thine: but now thine Eyes, alas,
In strange Aversion's angry Cloud are hid;
How shall I steer through this vast Deep, who may
Not see the Stars which are to guide my way!
Here having knock'd her breast, and turn'd her Eye,
Her generous Eye, three times into the Cup;
She chid her Sadness with a sadder Sigh,
And looking then with noble fervor up;
Yet why should I demur, she cry'd, since mine
Own Will long since is not mine own, but Thine?
If any Title to my Self I had,
I might be tender of my Ease and Rest:
But since to Thee a Deed of Gift I made
(O no! of bounden Pay) Thou art possest
Intirely of me; nor must I refuse
That Thou what is thine Own shouldst freely use.
I am no further I, than Thou wilt grant;
Propriety is no such thing to Me:
Yet I who nothing have, can nothing want
So long as I resigned am to Thee:
Thy Will in Sweetness always equal is,
Though our false Palates sometimes judge amiss.
And now I know thy Will is mingled here
In this most dismal Draught, whatever be
The present Rellish, Psyche doth not fear
But it will end in purest Suavity.
I fear it not: and here She snatch'd the cup,
And bravely to the bottom drunk it up.
Thus have I seen a real-hearted Friend
(Though startled at some hard Experiment
Required by his dearer Self,) ascend
Above his Fears, and loyally consent
To what he hates, his Friendship so to prove
Ev'n by the Desperation of his Love.
But He who has in poison quaffed deep,
And drown'd himself in what he swallow'd down;
Quickly perceives the groping Mischief creep
About his heart: where being Victor grown,
Its fatal Chains of cold and heavy Lead
Are soon upon its fainting pris'ner spread:
So Psyche having poured down this black
Potion of living Death, strait felt its force
A Battery against all Comforts make,
Which prov'd too weak to stop its Triumph's course;
For through her Soul the Deluge broke, and there
Maintain'd its cruel uncontroll'd carreer.
Forthwith the Clouds, which had beset the Air,
Broke up their gloomy Siege; the Phantoms fled;
Serenity made all the Welkin fair;
The Rocks left quaking: Birds began to spred
Their cheerly Wings abroad; Beasts ventur'd forth;
So did the Sun, and rendred Heav'n to Earth.
The World to every Thing grew fresh and clear
But unto Psyche; for distressed she
Perceiv'd no Change whose Courtesy could cheer
The turbid Region of her Agony:
The Brightness of the Day, to her was more
Black than the Vail of Pitch she saw before.
Thus cheerly Musick sounds but Torment to
A pained Ear: thus Neighbor's Liberty
With stricter Fetters gripes the Pris'ner's Wo:
Thus Lamps are to the Blind but Mockery:
Thus Gales, though cool and gentle, only learn
The boiling Flames more furiously to burn.
Alas her outward Self long since had she
Forgot, and knew not what Earth's Pleasures meant;
Above the Sphere of Sensibility
She had established her sole Content.
What is't to Her, that Phebus shineth fair,
Whose Comforts higher than His Zenith were?
That little glaring Thing, that mortal Sun,
Was not the King and Father of her Day:
Her Morning dawn'd with Jesus's Eyes alone,
The glorious Fountains of her gallant Joy:
And how, how can she live, now she no more
Can drink her draughts of Life as heretofore?
How can the ravish'd Lover's Comforts breath
When from his most inestimably Precious
His Eyes exiled are? Death, dolefull Death
Meets him in all his Life; and what delicious
Objects salute his Sight, but make him read
How much more sweet a Gem from him is hid.
Her Soul look'd up, alas, but look'd in vain;
For on her Eylids sate a Night so thick
As damp'd all Prospect, and made Hope complain
Which never until now receiv'd a Check.
Small is the Blind Man's Grief, to theirs who see
Nothing at all but their own Misery.
For unto this, and this alone, her Eyes
Wide open were, yea though she shut them close:
Still her importunate Calamities
And Desolations, their black Troops expose
In full array to Psyche's view, in spight
Of any Vail which could forbid the sight.
Tortur'd by this unsufferable Loss,
(For she Alone, till now, had never been,)
She spread to Heav'n her woful Hands across,
And sinking on her Knee to Earth; she in
A most abashed deplorable guise
Thus to her Spouse's wonted Favor flies.
My God, where e'r thou art, Why, why wilt Thou
Who every where canst Thy great Self display,
To Thy poor Handmaid not one glimpse allow
Who once enjoy'd Thy Grace's Highnoon Day?
Which had I never done, my present Pain
With such excess of Anguish would not reign.
Hath not Thy boundless Sweetness taught my heart
Complete Disrellish of all things beside?
Where grows the Balsam then which for this smart
Of mine can any Lenitive provide;
So long as most abandon'd I in this
Black Death, the Life of thy sweet Aspect miss?
Strong was this Cry: for all the Heav'ns it rent,
Yet prov'd too weak to make them hear: and she
Remembring not she e'r had thither sent
Such Prayers in vain, amazed was to see
These which so loud about her Spouse resounded,
Back to her breast with Emptiness rebounded.
Yet as the noble Palm, though on her head
A sturdy Burden's stern oppression lies,
In valiant Patience still go's on to spread
Her indefatigable Arms, and tries
How she may both her sad Afflictions bear,
And her ambitious boughs still higher rear:
So gallant Psyche, though upon her Back
Griefs Load more ponderous than Mountains lay;
Heroickly resolv'd it should not crack,
Nor Her most loyal Tollerance betray:
She knew what Jesus underwent before,
And that His Love deserv'd thus much and more.
She knew she could not Fall, except she would,
Although she saw not how she still could stand:
No Comfort's Ray she spy'd whereon to hold,
Yet fast ev'n on blind Hope she held her Hand;
Not doubting but through this most heavy blood
Fair Titan's cheerly Face at length would croud.
Confirmed therefore, to her Task she went,
And spurr'd up Logos to his daily Part;
Whom she in Contemplation's Chariot sent
To fetch some Solace for her pined Heart:
To Joy's celestial Board she sent him, where
He us'd to meet with high and holy Cheer.
But every Night when He returned home
He nothing brought but cold and sapless Fare,
Lank dry Results, whose Bulk and Total Sum
She never saw amount to more than bare
And flashy Uselessness, which mock'd her Hunger
And only made her wofull Weakness stronger.
This sad miscarriage could not but awake
The languid Fountains of her heavy Eyes;
Which with continual showers strove to slake,
Or empty out her flaming miseries:
Yet all the Brine, alas, she thus could pour,
But scalt her cheeks and galled her the more.
In all Attempts thus thwarted still, though she
Too reasonable a Temptation had
No more to flout her own Calamity
With fruitless Toil: yet she this Statute made
To her stout Self, Her Duty still to do
Whither Heav'n would regard her Pains or no.
So when the unrelenting Storm hath driven
The Marriner into the boiling main,
Vailing with sullen Clouds the face of Heav'n
That from no star he may Direction gain;
Though lost, he yields not to his Loss, but plies
His trusty Oars, whither he lives or dies.
Her Tears she poured still, her Sighs she blew,
Her hands she lifted up, her Knees she bent
She knock'd her breast, her Contemplations flew
Their wonted flight, her Groans her bosom rent,
Her Heart dissolv'd in Languishments of Love
By Watchings, Prayers, and Fasts with God she strove.
With God she strove, and with her Self for all
This while her Soul was out of taste and those
Dear Exercises savour'd now of Gall
Whose Sweets before all Honey's Powers did pose.
Yet she this tedious Gall would not refuse,
Nor in exchange accept of Hybla's Dews.
Thus when foul Humors have usurp'd and reign
In his weak stomach, still his wholesom meat
The hungry Man ingesteth, still in vain
He feeds what hateth to be fed, and eats
But an Assurance that his Cates again
Must be regorg'd with nauseous tearing Pain.
Her heavy Breast, as cold and dead was now
Become, as if it ne'r had been the Seat
Of holy Fire, and Heav'n: though wonderous low
Her Body beaten lay by Penance, yet
Her Soul was far more mortify'd and dry,
Pining in Desolation's Agony.
This scrued her Condition's Anguish high;
For still she neither thought she Watch'd nor Pray'd,
Nor shed a Tear, nor heaved up a Sigh,
Nor managed her Contemplation's Trade,
Nor Groan'd, nor Lov'd; because she never felt
Her Heart in all these mighty Ardors melt.
What man upon the thankless Rocks can plow,
Or found his Building on the faithless Sand,
Or in the stormy Ocean's furrows sow,
Or wash the tawny Aethiopian's Hand;
And still be patient, though his Pains and Cost
A thousand times already he has lost?
Where's that unwearied He, who though employ'd
In waiting upon Fire and Flames, and set
With sulphury fuel up to keep the Tide
Of iron Furnace's enraged Heat
Can be content Frost's Tyranny mean time
Should cross his Trade, and nip and shrivel Him?
Yet through these Riddles of Disconsolation
Brave Psyche waded, and bore up her head
Above the Deluge; whilst without all Passion
Her Passion she embrac'd, and wearyed
Her Self with so much Quiet, as to seem
To Row indeed, but only down the stream.
For patiently she tired was, but found
No Comfort in this Conquest of her Pain:
Yet though she every day and hour were drown'd
Ev'n whilst she swum, she vowed to maintain
The mighty Conflict, and her self to give
Up freely in this rueful Death to Live.
Long liv'd she in it: and although her Fasts
She duely kept, yet would she not forbear,
When Nature challeng'd them, such spare Repasts
As her might fit to wage this Suff'rings War:
Though her Ambition's Aim were, but to Die,
She scorn'd to haste by force her Destiny.
Long livid she in it: for her Spouse was now
Resolv'd her Valour's full Extent to trie;
And make her Soul most lamentably know
The Value of his own reveled Eye
By hiding it from hers. No Lesson can
Like Loss and Absence, teach unhappy Man.
As thus she panting lay; the fretted Prince
Of restless Envy, who roves night and day,
Prying about the World to gather thence
Fresh Booties upon which his Wrath may prey;
Discover'd her in this disconsolate plight,
And leap'd for cruel Joy to see the sight.
But as a Coward, who hath oft been beat
Yet still on base revengeful hope doth feed,
Waits opportunity till he may meet
His fear'd Antagonist empoverished
In Strength and Spirits by some other Fight,
And on that Weakness builds his stollen Might:
So now basehearted He that shock forbore
Till Psyche's Courage he conceived spent:
And then with prouder Hopes than e'r before
Down to his damned Home puff'd up he went:
(Fool as he was, to let his hasty Eye
Such Triumph look before the Victory.)
Then having climb'd his Throne, and from his face
Wip'd off the coalblack sweat, into a smile
He forc'd his Cheeks: The feinds admir'd what cause
Their King's Austerity could so beguile:
Yet in compliance every one begun
To shrivel up his chaps and gently grin.
When Satan thus: Hate and Defiance first
To Heav'n, and then all glory to my Self.
You know to what expence of Pains that curst
And though most feeble, yet most stubborn Elf
Jesus his Mistress, long hath put me, yet
On that vile Worm my Will I ne'r could get.
But now the feat is done, and wretched she
Is by her goodly spouse divorc'd, and lies
To our just Vengeance's severity
A most abandon'd and devoted Prize.
I saw her as she lay; but scorn'd to bring
Her with me: no; it sutes not with a King.
Not with the King of most heroick Pride;
Disdain's the highest Jewel in my Crown:
I who to Heav'n's big Sovereign deny'd
To bend my sturdy knee, must not stoop down
To take up vile Dust: though below I dwell
In Night, the Rising Morn's my Mother still.
But Thou, Dispair, (and here he turn'd aside,
For waiting at his right hand stood the feind,)
Shalt tear her hither: Thou mayst find her hid
In that blind Desert's furthest closest End,
Which borders on the Superstitious sink
Where Arimathean Joseph's bones do stink.
The delegated fury made no stay,
(For what so headlong is as Desperation?)
But posted upward, snatching by the way
Her dismal Engins in such ireful fashion,
That all her Sisters started at her haste,
And frighted Hell was glad when she was past.
I'th dark deep bowels of the hilly Peak
There lies a gloomy and disconsolate Way,
Through which with such impatient pace she brake,
That round about the Country trembling lay;
In whose dull bosom all the sleepy Lead;
Awak'd for fear, and ran about its bed.
The Beasts which saw the Monster as she flew,
Distracted at the horror of the sight,
Themselves down fatal Precipices threw;
All Birds unable to maintain their flight
Let their Wings flag, and hung their heads aside,
And having chang'd their Songs to shriekings, dy'd.
But still the frighted Fury posted on
Till she arriv'd at her desired Place:
Where finding pensive Psyche all alone,
She set her hideous self full in her face.
All horrid Wrinkles to her odious Looks
Are Gardens of Delight and Beautie's Books.
Pale Ghastlyness triumphed in her face,
Which yet with fierceness strangely truce maintain'd:
Her own Veins swarthy Gore with hellish Grace
The grim deep Valleys of her Cheeks ingrain'd;
Where her fell Nails to plough full often went,
And on her cursed self her madness spent.
Her locks were half rent off, so was her Gown;
And more by careless Nastyness was she
Arrayed than by Clothes: Her breasts hung down
All lank and torn, and flapp'd upon her knee,
Which gap'd, and shew'd the naked shatter'd bones
She wilfully had dash'd on ragged stones.
Ten thousand Bruses made her Leanness fat
With Tumors and with Pains: no Joints were true
To their uniting Name; nor any knot
Of Ligaments their binding Office knew:
Her carcase was an heap of broken Limbs,
By which she only her own Ruins seems.
But every part look'd delicate and fair,
To her most hollow yet most staring Eyes;
In which such sovereign Terrors muster'd were,
As fear's own fancy ne'r could equalize;
For one was like to nothing but the other,
And either strove which should outstare his brother.
These were the ominous Mirrours where each He
Whose Bosom was not innocent and clear
No sooner look'd, but he was forc'd to see
His heart in all her Crimes array'd; which there
Appearing double, rais'd his fright so high
That from his odious self he long'd to fly.
The direfull Basilisks' mischievous Eyes,
And those of fascinating Witches, are
Far safer Glasses, than these Prodigies
Which with the Life of killing Horrors glare.
Heav'n shield the Man whose miserable Chance
Damns him into the compass of her Glance.
Nor was the furniture of this foul Hag
Improper for her formidable looks:
Her starv'd sharp Arms did loads of Weapons lag,
Rust-eaten Swords, Knives, Daggers, Bodkins, Hooks,
With poison-hugging Boxes; all bound up
Here with a fatal Wieth, there with a Rope.
Appointed thus; she stood a while and stared
On desolate Psyche; who at first was stroke
(For unexpectedly the fein'd appeared,
And with a sudden Dint, ) at her fell look:
Yet she disdained to be beaten over,
And nobly did her strength and self recover.
The Tower thus, which at th' unlook'd-for Blast
Of th' angry Storms forlorn doth yield to quake;
Forgetteth not withal to stand more fast
Than those proud Buildings which refuse to shake,
And therefore by an instant Ruin down
From their exalted Confidence are thrown.
Dispair perceiving that her looks were vain,
Her far more dangerous Engin mov'd, (for this
Was her bewitching Tongue, now taught to strain
Up to the highest Key of Craftiness;
And casting down her Luggage, thus assay'd
To do as much upon the constant Maid.
If I thy doubtful Count'nance read aright,
Thy gloomy Wo perceives not who am I
Nor who thy Self: But this thy desolate plight
Charms my convinced Pity to descry
Both unto Thee; that if thou wilt befriend
Thy self, no Enemies may Thee offend.
I know my Aspect speaketh nothing less
Than Courtesy: but Things which fairest smile,
Too frequently in their inchanting Dress
The lurking stings of odious Treason vail:
And sober Wisdom always must commend
Before a fauning Fo, a frowning friend.
Were it not so; thy self hadst never strove
Against the flattering Tide of Things below;
Distrustful always of the soothing Love
With which the World's inviting Courtships flow:
Were it not so; what Price could be so high
To hire thee thus thy self to Mortify?
And what should I do here in any Dress
Of gaudy Sweetness, which strict Thou long since
Hast banish'd from thy Love, espousing this
Course Life of Solitude, where no presence
Of Beauty peeps? nor canst thou now deny
But thine own Choise is my Apology.
Suspect not then my Looks, which only show
Like Terror's living Theatre to Them
Whose vain deluded bosom's overflow
With secular Pleasure's frothy empty stream:
These think each Gale which to the Haven would blow them
Will prove a storm, and into Ruin throw them.
But thy Condition, if thou weigh'st it right,
Will teach thee better what concerns thy Bliss:
Remember then, that since thou saw'st the Light,
Thou ne'r hadst reason to be friends with this
Untoward Life, which always to regret thee
With restless Swarms of Sorrows hath beset thee.
The dainty Buds of thy young vigorous years
Served not to trim a Garland for Delight;
By rigid Virtue's most untimely Cares
They blasted were; and Thou, ev'n in Despight
Of blooming-Tenderness preventedst Time,
And provedst Old and wither'd in thy Prime.
Whilst other Maidens ripe for Nuptial Joy,
Gather'd the Sweetest Sweets of cheerly Nature,
Thou spentst thy self in sotitude's Annoy,
Living a Comfortless and single Creature:
Yet in thy Virgin Bed thou could'st not 'scape
Being a Mother to all sad mishap.
For from thine Isle of Bliss, thy native Home,
Thy fruitless Zeal exil'd thee to the East;
Where Thou through cursed Palestine did'st Rome,
Both to the Place a Stranger, and to Pest:
What found'st thou but thy loss, whilst there thy Soul
Drunk, and was drown'd, in Heresy's black Boul?
Alas the dear Memorials of thy Lord
Which there thy hankering Eyes so often read,
Did but Assurance to thy Heart afford
That He, its only Joy, to Heav'n was fled:
And surely here at home thou wert as near
The happy Spheres, as in thine Exile there.
Thus having wasted out thy Strength and Time
(And Credit too, with those who lov'd thee best,)
Thou flutter'dst back to this thy British Clime
Like some poor wearyed Bird to her old Nest;
Where when thou countedst up thy Journey's Gains,
Thou only had'st thy Labour for thy Pains.
Then fired by unhappy Piety,
Upon thy Self thou did'st the Tyrant play:
Thy lamentable Body sheweth by
Its ghastly Leanness, how thou strov'st to slay
Thy guiltless flesh, and by Devotion's Rack
Languid and senseless every Sense to make.
And for no other End, but to refine
Thy Self from this dull Earth into a state
Which might thy backward Spouse's Heart incline
To loyal Thee, who with such venturous Heat
Did'st trace thy hardiest steps, and cheerly toss
On thy soft shoulders his most heavy Cross.
Yet when her just Reward thy faith expected,
(Less due to thy Uranius, than to thee,)
He to an odious Dungeon thee rejected,
(A Place how far from Heav'nly Liberty!)
Where Thou who in pure flames long'dst to expire,
Wert forc'd to lead a dying Life in mire.
Remember what intolerable Chains
Into thy Soul their cruel Iron press;
What floods of boiling Soars and fiery Pains
Were pour'd on thee; what Anguish slew thy Rest:
Remember how all foes but He relented,
And mighty Cruelty her self repented.
He to whose barbarous trust the Management
Of Persecution's War was here committed,
Fought with his own outrageous Intent,
And conquer'd by thy Woes, thy Suffrings pity'd:
But from Life's Dungeon when he had prepared
To set thee free, thy freedom was debarred.
It was debarr'd, and by no other Hand
But that which rather should have lent thee aid:
And what did Phylax but thy Lord's Command
When from Joy's brink be stole thee, and betrayed
Thy hopes of Martyrdom, which now was grown
Mature, and offer'd to thine head a Crown?
I grant, thy torturing soars he healed, but
Deserv'd no thanks for such a cruel Cure,
Which did but thy repaired Body put
Into an abler posture to endure
This greater Load; whose merciless Excess
Doth my unpityed shoulders now oppress.
Shoulders unpityed by Him from whom
Thy Service had full dearly earn'd Relief:
But in his hardned Ears was left no room
To entertain the suit of deepest Grief.
Had any there been left, sure He could not
Thy mighty Supplications out have shut.
How has the stroke of thy impetuous Cry
Taught this dumb Desert Sorrow's Dialect;
Whilst all its Rocks and Caverns shaken by
Thy Groans and Lamentations, them reflect
To Heav'n with doubled fervor, and agree
Fellow-petitioners to be with Thee!
And yet thy grated Throat is not so dry,
As are thy now exhausted Eyes; from whence
Thy Spouse's sturdy heart to mollify
Thou pourd'st thy constant floods: but that immense
Relentless stone which barbarizeth His
Strange Breast, by all those streams unpeirced is.
Unkindly He still turns his face away
Least any helpful Glimpse should leap to thee:
And thou long flatter'd by his favor's Day,
Art now betrayed to the Misery
Of blackest Night. O may all Souls be ware
How they Heav'n's wiley Sovereign trust too far.
He mighty Promises indeed doth give
For Words are cheap and put Him to no cost:
But can thy Soul on aery Diet live,
And feed on verbal Nutriment? the most
Thou can'st pretend is Hope: and what is that
But Sorrow's flattering and endless Cheat?
Alas thy desolate Heart too well doth know
How little I in thy Condition err:
And with secure Presumption Psyche, thou
May'st this Conclusion from my Art infer:
That I who can discover all thy Grief,
May tell what Physick must be thy Relief.
Thy Phylax, once esteem'd thy trustiest friend.
Well understands the depth of thy Disease:
Yet finding all his skill too faint to lend
Thee any real Help, himself he frees
From fruitless Trouble, and is fled away;
Ashamed now his weakness to betray.
I know not how; but always at a pinch
When great Extremities crave equal Aid,
Your vulgar Comforters use still to flinch,
And Cry, God's will be done: but I afraid
Of nothing am, no not God's Destination,
Dispair alone can feel no Desperation.
I, I, the only able Doctress, who
In desperate Cases certain Physick give;
In pity of thy unregarded Wo
Am hither come on purpose to relieve
Thy helpless Heart: Nor do I ask a fee;
My ample guerdon shall thy Safely be.
Lo here approv'd Receipts: When noble Saul
The field, his Kingdom, and his God had lost,
That Rapier he no sooner found, but all
The conquering Plot of his mishaps he crost,
And malgre stern Philistia's Powers, fell
Down to the Rest of holy Samuel.
Disgrac'd by Hushai, and rejected by
Fond Absalom, profound Achitophel
For rescue from misfortune's Tyranny
Consulted with his own deep Oracle;
And found no wiser way than by this Rope
His Breath, his Life, and his Contempt to stop
Great Annibal, accustom'd long to ride
In Triumph's Chariot, being overborn
By undeserv'd Disaster's pow'rful Tide;
Scorn'd to become th' insulting Roman's scorn,
But sipp'd his safety from that Poison there
And went in glorious Peace unto his Beir.
Renowned Cato, when by peevish fate
Thrust into straits too narrow to contain
His mighty Spirit; by soon-ended Hate
Of wretched Life, immortal Rest did gain.
There lies the Sword, the lucky Sword whereby
He op'd his way to generous Liberty.
When base false-hearted Fortune had betray'd
The gallant Antony to Overthrow;
Of nothing but vile fear was be afraid,
And much disdaining, though subdu'd, to bow;
Cut with that Weapon his unworthy thred
Of Life, and laid him down in Honor's Bed.
Say not, that These were Men, and female Thou
Too weak to manage Masculine Bravery:
Thy Sex's stout exploits will not allow
That weak Excuse: yet, could I cite to thee
No Precedents, thy most Extreme Distress
Might be thy warrant for this manlyness.
But see that Daggor, smeared with the Blood
The manly Blood of female Lucrece; she
Not trusting to her Tears' poor womanish flood,
Took her courageous Advice from Me;
And broach'd red Torrents from her noble Veins
To paint with Glory her Pollution's stains.
Brave Portia, when her sad Disasters grew
So thick and cross that they the way had damm'd
To every known Relief, found out a new
Road unto Death, and down her throat she cramm'd
That Fire which made her Valour's sacrifice:
Part of the Coals still in that Vial lies.
Though sweetest Antony was wont to rest
In Cleopatra's dainty bosom; yet
When Losses her besieged, to her breast,
Her lovely breast, an odious Aspe she set;
Which suck'd out her abhorred Life; and in
That Box the Serpent doth himself intwine.
Now that a British Hand as much may do
As any Foreign, thou hast witness by
Thy late Compatriot Boadicia, who
Boldly outbrav'd her own Calamity.
Lo there's the Poison by whose Virtue she
Preserv'd her self from Roman bondage free.
These, and ten thousand more have I befriended
With Rescue from deplor'd Extremities:
And though I ne'r to any one commended
His Choise of these Receipts; thy Miseries
Move my Compassion so, that I'm content
Thou shouldst have leave to choose thy Instrument.
A burning or a freezing Poison take,
A Sword, Stiletto, Dart, Spear, Dagger, Knife,
Fire, Water, Rope; or whatsoe'r will make
An end of thine; no, of thy Torments' life:
And if one will not serve, take two or three;
Nay I can spare them all poor Heart, for thee.
But hate not thou thy self, 'cause I am kind.
Nor scorn the Bounty of my Pity: know
It stands not with a truly generous mind
To fear her own more than another's Blow
If thou wouldst Live indeed, be brave, and Die:
The Life of Fame will reach Eternity.
Come then, and since thy Spouse so cruell is,
Give him his Due, and Curse him to his face:
Come choose thy Passage to thy ready Bliss,
And nobly send thy Self to that calm Place,
Where Heros who durst wretched Life disdain
Safe in the Arms of endless Peace remain.
Thou hast too long already waited on
The leisure of regardless Heav'n, since thou
Art able by thy valiant Hand alone
To give thy self what that will not allow.
A Martyrdom's thy wish; and thou may'st be
A Martyr now to thine own Bravery.
So spake Dispair. But Psyche all the while
Stood firm and constant as the resolute Rock:
For well she understood Her fatal Guile,
And wisely arm'd her self against the Shock
Which in the Fury's unexpecting face
By her stout Answer thus returned was:
Take up thy Implements mischievous Elf,
And, since thou fail'st in this thy deep Design,
Go and employ them on thy cursed self:
My state is bad enough; I need not join
Thy damned Offer to augment my Grief,
And 'cause I'm Sick, dispair of all Relief
Surely it may suffice my Wish, that I
Thus miserable am: why should I throw
My most dejected self still lower? why
Should I whom now no other Friend will know,
Turn, in destructive Pity, mine own Fo
And wilfully join Madness to my Wo?
What were those Heros whose preposterous Might
Thou gild'st so fairly with thine eloquent Lye;
But venturous Cowards, who in fear to fight
With Pain, Loss, Shame, or Bondage, chose to Die?
Far be it I should Valour's Title give
To those who durst not do so much as live.
'Tis true, my Spouse hath hid his joyous face,
And sure I have deserv'd he should do so.
Yet ne'r was Night so long, but yielded place
At length to cheerly Day; but that which you
Howl in Beneath, and therefore wondrous fain
Into that endlesse Darkness me would gain.
Let Jesus use his Pleasure on me; I
His Dust and Ashes am: and so go tell
Black Belzebub, your envious Father, by
Whose delegation you are come from Hell.
Tell him, though Jesus kill me, yet I must
And in his Goodness will repose my Trust.
The Fury to this Word made no Reply,
But by an hideous Shriek; which split the Air
And rent the Earth, rebounding on the Sky
And heart of Hell at once: all thunders were
Faint Murmurs, and the Tempest's bellowing Voice
But trembling Whispers to this monstrous Noise.
Then snatching up her Baggage, with one Hand,
And with the other tearing off her hair,
Her skin, her flesh; she cursed Jesus, and
To Peak's close road returned bleeding; where
She shriek'd again and shak'd all Hell before
She entred through the Gulf of th' iron Door.
Great Satan started, when the Feind he saw
Come thus lamenting home without her Prey:
Full on her throat he claps his brazen Paw,
And through it tore his Indignation's way:
For Pain She roared, so did He for spight;
The dire Deeps trembling at the dreadful sight.
But Psyche, though her Victory were great,
And might in other Hearts have Triumph bred,
No Joy could relish in her glorious Feat;
For to all Comfort she was cold and dead,
And in her Conquest still remain'd as sad
As if her self had been the Captive made.
Her hands she wrung, and smote her pensive breast,
And cry'd, what is that good success to me?
So long as Heaven is deaf to my Request,
So long's I grope in this Obscurity,
So long as from my Spouse's Eyes the wide
Black Curtains of Disfavor mine must hide?
What have I gained now my Fo is fled
But freer leisure to observe my Sorrows?
Indeed the field is mine; but oh! the Seed
Of Desolation grows in all its furrows.
Let those triumph, to Rest whom Conquest sends:
My Victory in Grief begins, and ends.
Now, now alas, by dear Experience, I
Have learn'd that Sweets and Pleasures no where are
Their genuine selves, but in the Treasury
Of Jesus's all enamoring Count'nance: there,
O there they shine; but hidden are from me
Who ev'n in Joy find nought but Misery.
As in the Gulf of this Disconsolation
She plunged lay, and saw no way to rise:
Her Phylax tir'd with his long Sequestration
From his dear Charge, of whose Calamities
His tender heart was jealous; never rested
Till Leave to see Her he from Heav'n had wrested.
And then, no wind its wings e'r stoutlier stretch'd
Or flew with cheerlier Velocity:
But when his Speed the wished Place had reach'd,
Far from his Wish prov'd disappointed He:
Down fell his Plumes and Eyes, back flew his Blood,
And he O how unlike an Angel stood!
Such havock Grief had made in Psyche's Face
That in her Self her self he scarce could spy.
Besides, the lovely beams of heav'nly Grace,
Which us'd to sparkle in her holy Eye
Were damp'd with deadish Dulness, and no sign
Peep'd forth of any thing within divine.
This further spurred on his Search to see
What weather 'twas in her high-throbbing Breast:
Where finding thick and heavy Darkness, He
Would to the Center of her Heart have press;
But Charis there so close lay locked up,
That all his sweetness could not charm it ope.
At this amazed, and amazed too
That She who with impatient Love had used
To bid him welcome, and his Feet to woo
With humble Kisses, strangely stood amased;
As doubtful whether now it were not best
To throw Neglect, on her unsent for Guest.
And yet resolv'd to try the strength of Love,
And not be dash'd out of his kind Intent;
He thrice embraced Her, and gently strove
Her Sorrows' Fulness to out-compliment:
With all his heav'nly Heats he wrought to thaw
That Frost, whose Chains about her Soul he saw.
But what can tardy Salves and Balsams do
If Life has once the Member bid Adieu?
In vain do's Phylax hug his Pupil who
Beyond all help of finite Cordials grew.
In vain he blew those Ashes, in whose Heap
No Embers, nor no hopeful spark did sleep.
With full as probable success might Lot
Have hugg'd and courted his transformed Wife;
Wooing the Pillar to be moved at
His Kisses' suit, when her condemned Life
Was choaked up in Salt, and she become
At once the doleful Carcase and the Tomb.
This plough'd his heart with so severe a wound
That he forgot with him he brought his Tongue.
And pitching sadly down upon the ground,
His anxious Thoughts and Eyes on her he hung;
Whilst Silence curb'd his daunted Lips, and quite
Sealed them up for many a day and night.
So when the Desolate Idumaean Prince
Not worth so much as his own Skin was left,
But by an universal Confluence
Of Losses and of Soars, of all bereft;
His dearest Friends sate by him in profound
And silent Grief's deep stupifaction drown'd.
But then perceiving his long Expectation
Bred no relenting in her stiff Disease,
Into the Dialect of Consolation
He forc'd his Breath, and try'd his best by these
Most tender Lenitives, to venture on
A Combat with her Heart's cold heavy stone.
O Psyche, (if thou yet remainest she,)
What means this long Aversness in thine Eye?
How hast thou lost thy memory of me
Who still am Phylax, and Calamity,
Me thinks, should make thee not forget that Name,
Which tells thy Grief I thy Protector am.
If ever thou hadst found me false, when thy
Distress had summon'd my helping hand;
Or if thy present Load of misery
Doth not in need of my Assistance stand;
Well mightst thou by this strange Deportment dart
Disdain upon the Comforts I impart.
It was no Bus'ness of mine own which drew
Thy faithful Phylax from thy Company;
Witness the time when I so gladly flew
To Palestine, and back again, with Thee;
Forsaking all that while the sphere where I
In sovereign Blessedness was wont to fly.
But He who both my Master is and thine
Call'd me away if yet it were away:
For this my late Employment less was mine,
Than thine, for whose sweet sake thy Spouse did lay
That charge upon me: Courage then, my Dear,
And to my happy News give cheerly ear.
When I in heav'n had long Attendance paid
To Jesus's Pleasure, most propitious He
Hearing my Sighs, in Gentleness array'd
His Looks, and to his Footstool beckned Me?
Where having on my Face ador'd him thrice,
He blessed me as oft, and bad me rise.
Then smiling towards his right Hand, at which
His gracious Mother shin'd; who makes the Light
Of Heav'n it self with her mild Luster rich
Behold, said he to me, my Dearest Sight;
Behold the Queen of all this Joy and Bliss,
Which by my Regal Title I possess.
But her Retinue's yet not so complete
As she deserves, and I must therefore grant:
Soft snowy Followers, answering her sweet
And ever-virgin Self, she still doth want;
And from my Nursery below must I
Her worthy Train with fitting Plants supply.
And one of those is humble Psyche, she
Whose Watering, and whose Pruning is thy Charge:
Her from unworthy Dust's Captivity,
And her now bitterer Straits, will I enlarge,
When I have thoroughly proved her to be
By Fire's true Witness, fitting Gold for me.
In that bright Station shall her Dwelling be,
(To Mary's right hand his he pointed here,)
There shall the Clouds of her Humility
Break up into a Day of Glory; there
Shall all her gloomy Suff'rings shine: and go,
And from my Mouth assure thy Pupil so.
I prostrate fell, and took my leave; and flew,
More on Joy's wings than these, through our vast Sea
Of glorious Blessedness: but as I drew
Near thine old Friend Uranius, (for he
Reigns on a lower Throne than thine,) he cry'd,
What Fortune Phylax doth thy Charge betide?
That shall you shortly see, said I; and so
Posted directly hither unto Thee.
And if this News cannot outlook thy Wo,
Tell me why thus thou slight'st Felicity;
Why Phylax ne'r less welcome seem'd than now
He of thine highest Hopes the Dawn doth show:
Why thou against the meek ingenuous Law,
Of Gratitude, refrainest to embrace
With joyous heart, and with unfurrowed brow
This mighty Token of Heav'n's royal Grace:
Why thou thine own Ambition contradictest,
Whilst with his Promise thou thy Spouse rejectest.
So spake the Angel But the heavy Maid
Grown deaf to every word that sounded Joy;
Her hand upon her dolefull Bosom laid,
And overpress'd with Mountains of Annoy,
Hung down her head; replying by a Flood
Of Tears, how little Him she understood.
But seeing his Demand unsatisfy'd
With that dumb Answer, first an heavy Groan
She helped forth; then flinging open wide
Her lamentable Arms, Let me alone,
She cry'd, and to my domineering Grief
Afford at least in Pity this Relief.
I know you were of old, and still would be
My faithfull Friend; I well remember you
Are Phylax, and what blessed Suavity
Your constant Love did to my heart allow.
But this was when that heart alive you found,
Which now in Desolation's Sea is drown'd.
What Comfort tastes a Carcase cold and dead
In th' ardent Courtesy of Fomentations?
In vain are Tables sumptuously spread,
With Luxury's own proudest Preparations,
To court a Stomach, when her Appetite
By Nauseousness is slain to all Delight.
Blame me not Phylax, for I love you still,
And of your Presence fain the Sweets would reap;
But now my greater Joy is damp'd, my Will
Reacheth her Arms to this in vain; you heap
But Torments on me whilst before my face
You rank those Pleasures I cannot embrace.
Should I but strive to grasp them, envious They
Would shrink to Emptiness, and mock my Hand;
Or from their lovely selves quite fly away,
Degenerating into Sorrows and
Rightdown Vexations, rather than impart
One Taste of Joy to Psyche's hated heart.
For what, what Rellish can there be to Me
In any Dainties Daintiness can cook;
So long's the Lord of my Felicity
From my devorced Eyes himself doth cloke?
If Phebus once withdraws his sovereign Ray,
What can poor Candles do to cheer up Day?
Wonder not Phylax at my bold Complaint;
Psyche in Sorrow's School's more learn'd than Thou:
Thy privileged Heart did ne'r acquaint
With Desolation's company, nor know
What mine now feels: It feels, and no Pretence
It findeth to distinguish Loss and Sense.
Thy News a potent Cordial would appear
If fann'd on any fainting Wight but Me;
But I in Heav'n's and Bliss's Name can hear
No Melody at all, since Misery
Hath seal'd and frozen up my Breast, and I
To my dead self alone abandon'd lie.
Were I now perch'd upon the Battlement
Of highest Glory, and beneath me saw
The Seraph's flame; yet I should not resent
That Throne as glorious still, still Below
ShouId I esteem my self, so long as I
Am muffled up from seeing my Most High.
Did but the wonted Beams of heav'nly Grace
Vouchsafe to smile upon my Hemisphere
They eas'ly would outdare the sourest face
Of all the Sorrows which are frowning there:
But since sweet Charis is eclips'd to me
Phylax is absent though he Present be.
Yet now great Jesus, whose poor Worm I am,
Is pleas'd to leave me to my arid Dust;
His Pleasure I must not presume to blame,
Which though most Bitter, yet is surely Just.
His mighty Name I still adore and bless,
His heavy Rod which plough's my Soul, I kiss.
Here manly Sadness stops her mouth, and she
From Phylax having turn'd her ghastly Eyes,
With folded Arms embrac'd her Agony,
When He, who could no Antidote devise
For Her, turn'd sick himself; and hanging down
His pensive head, tun'd by her Groans his own.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 2:200-14]