In the twenty-fourth and final canto Psyche recovers from her melancholy with the assistance of Charis, and has a vision of the last judgment and the throne of God before ascending to Heaven.
Restor'd to Grace's Light, and Ravish'd by
The splendor of Beatitude, which shin'd
In her sleep-closed eyes, Psyche with high
Desire's Impatience, feels her fervent Mind
Fall all on fire: and thus She nobly dies,
As she before had Liv'd, LOVE'S Sacrifice.
Sweet END, thou Sea of Satisfaction, which
The weary Streams into thy Bosom tak'st;
The Springs unto the Spring Thou first dost reach,
And by thine inexhausted Kindness mak'st
Them fall so deep in love with thee, that through
All Rocks and Mountains to thy Arms they flow.
Thou art the Center, in whose close Embrace,
From all the wild Circumference, each Line
Directly runs to find its resting Place,
Upon their swiftest Wings, to perch on thine
Enobling Breast, which is their only Butt,
The Arrows of all high Desires are shot.
All Labours pant and languish after Thee,
Stretching their longest Arms to catch their Bliss,
Which in the Way, how sweet soe'r it be,
They never find; and therefore on they press
Further and further, till desired Thou,
Their only Crown, meet'st their Ambition's brow.
With smiles the Plowman to the smiling Spring
Returns not Answer, but is jealous till
His patient Hopes thy happy Season bring
Unto their Ripeness with his Corn, and fill
His Barns with plenteous Sheaves, with Joy his Heart;
For Thou, and none but Thou, his Harvest art.
The no less sweating and industrious Lover
Lays not his panting heart to rest upon
Kind Looks and gracious Promises, which hover
On Love's Outside, and may as soon be gone
As easily they came: but strives to see
His Hopes and Nuptials ratify'd by Thee.
The Traveller suspecteth every Way,
Though they thick trac'd and fairly beaten be;
Nor is secure but that his Leader may
Step into some Mistake as well as He;
Or that his strength may fail him; till he win,
Possession of Thee his wished Inw.
Nobly besmeared with Olimpick Dust,
The hardy Runner prosecutes his Race
With obstinate Celerity, in trust
That Thou wilt wipe and glorify his face:
His Prize's Soul art Thou, whose precious sake
Makes him those mighty Pains with Pleasure take.
The Mariner will trust no Winds, although
Upon his Sails they blow fair Flattery;
No Tides, which with all fauning Smoothness flow,
Can charm his Fears into Security;
He Credits none but Thee, who art his Bay,
To which through Calms and Storms he hunts his way.
And so have I, cheer'd up with Hopes at last
To double Thee, endur'd a tedious Sea;
Through publick foaming Tempests I have past:
Through flattering Calms of private Suavity;
Through interrupting Companies' thick Press;
And through the Lake of mine own Laziness;
Through many Sirens' Charms, which me invited
To dance to Ease's Tunes, the Tunes in fashion;
Through many cross misgiving Thoughts which frighted
My jealous Pen; and through the Conjuration
Of ignorant and envious Censures, which
Implacably against all Poems itch.
But chiefly Those which venture in a Way
That yet no Muse's feet have chose to trace;
Which trust that Psyche and her Jesus may
Adorn a Verse with as becoming Grace
As Venus and her Son that Truth may be
A nobler Theme than Lyes and Vanity.
Which broach no Aganippe's Streams, but those
Where Virgin Souls without a Blush may bathe;
Which dare the boistrous Multitude oppose
With gentle Numbers which despise the Wrath
Of galled Sin; which think not fit to trace
Or Greek or Roman Song with slavish pace.
And seeing now I am in ken of thee,
The Harbour which enflamed my Desire,
And with this stedy Patience ballas'd Me
In my uneven Road; I am on fire,
Till into thy Embrace my Self I throw,
And on the shore hang up my finish'd Vow.
Nor will thy Pleasantness less welcome be
To worried Psyche, who so long hath sail'd
Through deepest Oceans of Calamity,
And over many a boistrous Storm prevail'd;
Who through the Smiles, and through the Frowns of heaven
With equal Meekness hath till now been driven.
For still on Thee She fix'd her longing Eye;
On Thee, who only couldst her Soul afford
The Plenitude of her Felicity;
The dear Enjoyment of her precious Lord;
Which made Thee nobly change thy fading Name
Of End, and firm Eternity become.
As She sate teaching Phylax how to grieve,
Who faithfully her Sorrows copyed;
The Time approach'd when Heav'n would her reprieve
From this sad Duty, and upon her Head
Let fall the Crown, which in this tedious Fight
She bravely earned by her constant Might.
With joyeuse Horror on the sudden she
Started and trembled, and leapt from the ground:
The Angel wonder'd what the Cause might be
Whose quick Effect did upon Him rebound;
For up he sprung and in suspense expected
What rais'd the Maid so much before dejected.
When lo, the Joy thus kindled in her breast
Broke forth and flamed in her cheerful Eye:
For blessed Charis, who so long supprest
Deep in the centre of her Heart did lie,
Was now unlock'd by Jesus, and had leave
To her sweet Influence the Reins to give.
So when thick sullen Clouds have damm'd up Day
And dolefull Blackness vail'd the Welkin's face;
If Phebus through those Curtains rends his way
And chides home Darkness to its proper Place;
The Air surprised with her sudden Bliss
At first with frightfull Gladness startled is.
So when the unexpected virgin Light
Broke from the glorious Mouth of God upon
The rude disconsolate Heap of first-born Night;
That flashing Morn with chearfull Terror ran
About the Universal Deep, which was
Astonish'd at the Dint of Luster's face.
Psyche with Pleasure's strong Incursion seiz'd
And shaken thus; before she leisure had
To vent her Gladness, was anew surpris'd:
For Charis through her breast a passage made,
And in th' exuberance of Suavity
Her smiling self presented to her Eye.
But humane Souls are in Capacity
So poor and dull whilst here they dwell below;
They know not how to bear ev'n Courtesy,
Unless by slow degrees on them it grow.
Delights, if rushing in a sudden stream,
A Deluge of amazing Torments seem.
This Spectacle bred such Extremities
Of mighty Comforts in the Virgin's Mind,
That she, alas, too narrow to comprise
Her own most sweetly-raging Sea, resign'd
Her self to Delicacie's Wrack, and down
These pleasing Depths sunk gently by a S[w]own.
But Charis being Mistress of the Tide,
So bridled in the swelling Floods, that they
Submitted to her hand their dainty Pride,
And for her gentler Complement made way:
This was a soft Embrace, by which the Maid
She girded, and her fainting Passion staid.
Allaying then her glorious Aspect by
More tolerable Sweets, she thus began:
Has short Disuse such nauseous Potency
That it upon my cheerly Presence can
Disrellish cast, or are my Beams too strong
For One who hath in Darkness grop'd so long?
Henceforth take Courage, for no more will I
(And here I pawn to thee my royal Word,)
Leave me to wade in gloomy Misery,
But trusty Light to all thy Ways afford;
Full broad-day Light: for all this while I gave
Thee secret Beams which thou didst not perceive.
Had I not help'd thee so; had I not lain
Close at the bottom of thy Heart, to keep
Thy Soul's Foundation firm and sure; in vain
Laborious Zeal had duely broke thy sleep,
In vain had all thy Sighs and Tears been spent,
In vain thy Prayers had to Heav'n been sent.
Unto its dismal Name too truly true
Thy Dereliction would have prov'd, had I,
With never-sleeping Care not lain perdu
To watch the Motions of thine Enemy;
That Enemy, whose Company alone
Is that which perfects Desolation.
When that infernal Hag, the damned Queen
Of Hideousness, advanced to the fight
Armed both Hand and Tongue; had I not been
In thy main Fort, her potent Engins might
Have eas'ly undermined it, and Thou
Had'st by Despair been quite blown up e'r now.
For Humane Constitution, alas
Is fram'd of faint and frail Materials, no
Immortal Adamant, or sturdy Brass,
Secures thy fabrick, and defies thy Fo:
Thy Walls are crumbling treacherous Dust, which flies
In thy Soul's face, and blinds thy Reason's eyes.
Yet close I lurk'd, thy Courage so to try
When thou no Second could'st perceive at hand.
This was the Plot of LOVE himself, and I
My Ambush placed but at his Command:
LOVE hid my face, and so he did his own;
But all that while He weav'd for thee a Crown.
The Crown which thy long loyal Patience
I' th' highest Realm of humblest Saints shalt wear:
And till thou thither an translated hence,
I in thy Breast my open Tent will rear;
That till the greater Heav'n receiveth Thee,
Thou may'st contain it in Epitomy.
This said She gather'd up her Train of light,
Which in an Orb was all about her spread:
And shrinking up her self by Heav'nly slight
Within her sprightfull self, re-entered
The Virgin's Breast; where her Dominion she
Began to show by entheous Energie.
Forthwith a Tumult boil'd in Psyche's Heart,
But boil'd and foam'd in vain; for instantly
The Rout by Charis's most victorious Art
Was forc'd from that usurped Hold to fly.
Vain Dread was first who shrunk and turned head,
And so these Cowards flying Army led.
For she her self no sooner shiver'd out,
But at her heels lamenting Sorrow came,
Accompany'd with blind and groping Doubt;
Then lear-ey'd Jealousy, unworthy Shame,
Palefac'd Disconsolation, and Frigidity,
With Indevotion's dead and stiff Aridity.
But in the Rear rush'd forth Forgetfulness,
A dim-ey'd swarthy Crone; and hand in hand
Led her Compatriots and Complices,
Gross sluggish Mists, dull Night, thick Blackness, and
What ever is of kin to them, whatever
Can block up Heav'n, and Souls from Light dissever.
Compar'd with these, all Soot and Ink, and Pitch,
Were Compositions of Milk and Snow;
So was the tough and triduan Darkness, which
Beclogg'd the Impudence of Memphis's brow;
And that which lock'd up Sodom's eyelids more
Close than Lot's Care and Fear had done his Door.
Psyche with blushing Joy admiring stood
Her own Heart's strange fertility to see,
She little dreamt so hideous a Brood
Could nestling in her Virgin Bosom be;
Whose foul mishapen features while she read,
She thought her self Delivered indeed.
But they remembring where they first were bred,
And hoping for more quiet harbour there;
In scrambling haste from Psyche's triumph fled,
Whose gladsome Eye with Torments scorch'd them here:
Downward they fled, and in Sin's proper Womb,
Hell's gloomy furnace, sought their cooler Home.
And now she found her Bosom's Orb as clear
As when to Heav'n she Thelema presented;
Now all her Passions unhamper'd were,
And every Bond to Liberty relented:
All things look'd sweet and fair within, and she
Rejoyc'd in her complete Serenity.
Love, Anger, Hatred, Jealousy, and Fear,
And all the rest of that swiftwinged Crew,
With Sprightfulness revived were,
And to their proper Objects nimbly flew:
Nor clash'd they any more their Wings together,
But kindly help'd and cheered one another.
Hope, which had grop'd and languished till now
In deplorable Mists; fresh courage took,
And challeng'd every Wind its worst to blow,
Since she perceiv'd her Cable was not broke,
But that her trusty Anchor held its hold,
Whilst Desolation's Sea about her roll'd.
And Logos too, sad heretofore and dry,
Felt cheerly Vigor leaping in his Heart;
Which spurr'd his Zeal to beg Her leave to try,
Whither he could not now perform his part
With more successful strength, and from the Treasures
Of Heav'n, fetch Contemplation's solid Pleasures.
His Motion She embrac'd with joyeuse Ear;
And turn'd to Heav'n her sparkling Eye, to see
Whether the Way to it companion were
In her brisk Bosom's new Serenity:
She turn'd her Eye, and in Heav'n's Volumes read
A Lesson, which did ev'n her wish exceed.
For lo, the sullen Clouds which heretofore
Had damm'd the Road to her rejected Sight,
Down in repentant Tears themselves did poure,
Contending which should first clear up a bright
And undisturbed Passage to that Sphere
Where Psyche's Jewels all inshrined were.
In bounteous Beams of royal Influence
Her open Sun bestow'd himself upon her;
And this awak'd her long-astonish'd sense
To revel in this Feast of sweetest Honor.
This swell'd her Bosom with such Ravishment
That through her Lips she hast's to give it vent.
And now, O my delicious Lord, said she,
I thank thee for that Famin I endured:
What Hope could fancy this Felicity
Would by that torturing Anguish be procured!
But in the Prudence of thy Love didst Thou
Then make me Fast, the more to Feast me now.
Thou by that wholesom Tempest tossedst me,
That I might thoroughly understand the Bliss
Of this pure Calm: by that Severity
Of tedious breathing Death, didst Thou suppress
My secular Spirits, that revived I
Might Live to Thee, as to the World I die.
Now, now, I taste this Life indeed, which I,
Though I possest, enjoyed not before.
Alas, we fools are best instructed by
Absence and Loss to prize the richest Store;
These Thanks my Dereliction I owe
That thus I rellish my Fruition now.
So deep I rellish't, that convinced I
Would not for all the Streams of Paradise
But have been drown'd in that Aridity,
Whence to the Bliss of mine own Bliss I rise.
For what were Paradise to me, unless
I feelingly perceiv'd its Pleasantness?
Wise King of Souls! who knowest how to make
Severity the sweetest way of Love;
And nearest drawst when thou dost most Forsake
Thy fainting Worms. How far, how far above
Our Retribution is thy Goodness, which
Transcends our highest Comprehension's reach!
O that more Thelemas I had, which I
Might sacrifice as Tokens of this Debt;
Since thy revealed Count'nance upon my
Unworthy Head this mighty Score hath set!
Yet what do our poor Wills by being Thine,
But only make Themselves, not Thee, divine?
Thy vast Munificence on Me bestows
All that Ambition could desire, and more:
Whence is it Jesu then that Psyche grows
Ev'n in this Ocean of Abundance poor?
I have —, What have I not in having Thee?
Yet still me thinks I Covetous could be.
I could be Covetous, and wish that all
The Wealth of Heav'n and Earth were soley mine,
That with this Off'ring I might prostrate fall,
And dedicate it at thy Favour's Shrine.
Yet what were all this World to that which I
Owe to thy sovereign Benignity!
Had I ten thousand Lives to spend on thee,
That vast Expence would but my Gains augment:
How then, where Gratitude her self must he
Ingrate, can needy I due Thanks present!
Sweet Lord inform and help my Soul, which fain
Would render something back to Thee again.
She ceased here; and Phylax, who attended
The leisure of her fervent Exultation;
With equal Heat and Gladness, where she ended
Began her Praises and Congratulation:
Joy, Joy, dear Pupil, of this Morn, said He,
Which hath dispell'd thy Night of misery.
I see what reason forc'd thee to be sad
Beyond my Comfort's reach: because I see
The high occasion which hath made thee glad:
Such mighty Grief could only chased be
By that meridian all-potent Ray
Which drives the life of Wo, ev'n Death, away.
And here th' Excess of his triumphant Joy
Would let him speak no more, but spurr'd him on
With Kisses and Embraces to allay
The dainty fierceness of his Passion;
Full close be chain'd her in the tender Bands
Of Zealous Love, his blessed Arms and Hands.
The Maid, who would not to this Compliment
Be long in debt, thus in a smile reply'd:
The begging of my Pardon you prevent,
But must not stop my Thanks most bounder Tide
The only Tide which can returned be
Upon your mighty Flood of Love to me.
Surely the other day you were the same
Which you are now, in every Ornament
Of gracious sweetness, when you hither came
With ready Cordials of divine Content:
But clownish senseless I could not embrace
Your undeserved yet obtruded Grace.
Had this Behaviour quench'd your Charity,
To none but my rude self had Blame been due.
Yet you with faithful patient Fervency
More careful still, and still more tender grew:
My very Griefs into your bosom you
Admitted, and for me with tears did flow.
Though I by Heav'n and Earth abandon'd was,
And plung'd into the Gulf of Desolation;
To own me in that despicable Case
You blushed not but by your sweet Narration
Of what Love destin'd to relieve my smart
Endeavor'd to advance my drooping heart.
Well I remember how I then forgot
My self and you; how dead and cold I lay
Before that flaming News, which would have shot
Life into any Soul but mine; away
I turn'd my foolish head from that which through
A thousand Deaths I would run after now.
For what is Death? which is not when it is;
A dreadful Nothing, ending where it 'gins,
And dead as soon as We: But heav'nly Bliss
In its own boundless Circle lives, and shines
With endless Glory; yet without Regard
Thy Proffer of this Happiness I heard.
But now, O indefatigable friend,
I feel thy Comforts thrilling in my heart,
Which there with Charis's quickning Influence blend,
And to my soul another soul impart.
Surely my mind can never thee forget
Who helpest to revive and double it.
When Earth denies her Vapors to repay
To Heav'n, whose Bounty sent her down the Rain;
When Fountains bid their posting Currents stay,
Whose Thanks were flowing to their Mother Main;
Their faithful Buttresses when Buildings scorn;
Then I'l upon thy Love, Neglect return.
In this Contention of Court'sy they
Their Words and Kisses sweetly bandied;
Until the dim decrepit Time of Day,
Which common mortals summoneth to bed,
Admonish'd Psyche of her Compline; who
Obey'd the Item, and to Pray'rs did go.
Which most sublime and holy bus'ness she
Perform'd no more with cold and fruitless pains;
But mounting with encourag'd fervency,
Reap'd in the middle of her Work, its Gains,
And found her Intercessions wellcom'd were
Into her Spouse's ready open Ear.
Phylax mean while by Heav'n's appointment flew
To learn her Parents' fortunes out: which he
No sooner had descry'd, but fill'd with new
Powers of Joy, he posted back as she
From her Devotions rose; and thus display'd
The blessed Tidings to the reverend Maid:
News Psyche, happy News! for now I come
From holy Valor's Scene, that signal Place
Where thy Uranius his brave Martyrdom
Of late atchiev'd, and finish'd Virtue's Race;
That Race thou feardst had been too hard for thy
Decrepit Parents limping Piety.
But at the Stake I found them both, where they
Before the face of Heav'n and Earth, to thy
Sole Charge that Resolution's strength did lay,
Which fir'd them to contemn those Flames; for by
Our Daughter's Zeal, said they, this sacred Heat
In our old frozen fearful Veins doth beat.
Here we acknowledge, that right nobly she
Hath more than quit the Debt she us did ow:
'Twas but the Life of poor Mortality
Which from our Loins she borrowed; but now
Her generous Love embraves us to ascend
Where flourisheth that Life which knows no End.
That heav'nly Answer from her Dungeon she
Gave to our cruel Kindness, though with shame
It sent us weeping home; yet instantly
Those causeless Tears it dried by this flame
Of Christian Courage, whilst admonish'd by
Our second Thoughts our first we did defy.
Where e'r she is, may Heav'n her Care requite,
Who whilst we tempted her to idolize,
Us from Idolatry did wisely fright;
And teach us how we safelier might despise
Both Life and Death, than Jesus, who alone
Holds over Both supreme Dominion.
Then let him shew it now; the Soldiers cry'd,
Kindling the Pile; and shouting loud, that they
Had, malgre Darkness, leave to turn the Tide
Of Night, by Christian Bonfires, into Day,
O blessed Pair! said I, who in a new
Marriage are joined thus: and hither flew.
So Phylax spake: when She surprised by
This blessed News's shock, could not contain
The pious fountain of her loyal Eye,
Nor yet her Tongue's more swelling streams restrain:
Abundant Tears she steed; but larger far
Her Thanks to Jesus, and her Praises were.
Before, alas, her thoughts could not bestow
A Visit on her Parents, till they had
Travell'd into the heart of Hell: but now
A grateful Progress they in triumph made,
Climbing the Pinacle of Heav'n, where She,
Since they were there, aforehand seems to be.
But as she oft had wearied been before
With Heavinesse's cumbrous Burden; so
Surcharged now with Joy's unbounded store,
She laid her down in sweet submission to
This pleasing Load, and sunk into the deep
But soft untroubled gulf of downy sleep.
When Charis, upon whose eternal Eye
No slumber ever creeps, begun a new
Mysterious Work; for with activity
About Imagination's Orb she flew,
And cull'd and crop'd those Fancies here and there
Which for her Purpose serviceable were.
Thus furnished, with all Materials, she
Upon the theater of Psyche's breast
By orderly degrees the Gallantry
Of an incomparable Pageant drest.
She first rear'd up a goodly Throne, whose Light
Outvy'd the hyperborean Snow in white.
Forthwith she placed on that royal Seat
A Prince, who with more Beauty garnish'd it.
No Monarch ever in more awful State
On his imperial glistering Chair did sit.
Indeed all Potentates but shadows be
To this authentick sovereign's Majesty.
His copious Robe down from his shoulders flow'd
To his fair Feet with streams of Gracefulness;
A Girdle of illustrious Gold, which ow'd
Its birth not unto Earth, but Heav'n, did kiss
And closely hug his blessed Loins, which yet
In goodly Richness far outshined it.
No Fuller's Labour ever made so white
The finest Wool, as was his daintier Hair;
Which poured down the volumes of its bright
And curled Wealth with curious careless Care
About his Alabaster Neck; which stood
Like some white Pillar in that snowy Wood.
As in their venerable Sockets on
The sacred Altar glorious Tapers flame,
So look'd his Eyes; whose reverend Beams alone
About the Temple of his Face did stream;
Which parallel'd the Sun's best Looks when He
Is awful in his highnoon Clarity.
The most refin'd Corinthian Brass which in
The bosom of th' incensed Furnace glows,
With such fair Terror ne'r was known to shine
As from his burning Feet of Glory flows.
Thus was this radiant King from foot to head
With Majesty's Excess embellished.
Innumerable Angels then she brought
To furnish out his Court and fill his Train;
Who their bright Stations took as quick as Thought,
And with their golden Trumpets in a strain,
Which through the roused Universe rebounded,
The glory of their mighty Sovereign sounded.
Forthwith His Standard to the open Air
She poured out; in which embroider'd stood,
Most dreadfully-illustrious and fair,
His Arms imperial stained all with blood:
For 'twas his Cross, encompass'd now with more
Notorious Honor than with Shame before.
As thus He sate triumphant on his Throne,
He lifted up his Face and look'd about:
Straitway the frighted Earth confus'dly ran
From his intollerable Eyes; the stout
And hardy hearts of Rocks were split with Dread;
The proudest Hills and Mountains trembling fled.
To their salt Home all Floods forgot their way,
And tumbled into Nothings deeper Deep:
The highest Tides, seiz'd with profound Dismay,
Into an universal Eb did creep;
The Sands devour'd the Waves they fear'd before,
And now the middle of the Sea was Shore.
The Spheres above, his Aspect's Power felt,
And breaking off their lofty Harmony,
In Dissolution's final Tears did melt:
The dazel'd Sun and Stars, abash'd to see
There was no need of them by Day or Night,
Fell headlong down, and choaked their own Light.
Yet in this hudling Haste, the Sea and Land
Were mindful of their Faith, and honestly
Restor'd all Pledges put into their band
By Fate, Sin, Vengeance and Mortality;
Giving up punctually a true and just
Account of every Dram of Human Dust.
When lo, Corruption started from the Heap
Of Ashes, and fled after Earth and Sea:
Forthwith the Mass threw off its deadly Sleep,
And waked into Life's Activity:
Each Piece awak'd, and nimbly Rose, and shew'd
For one cold Lump, a vigorous Multitude.
Adam and Eve, the Springs of all the Rest,
Led up the Front: on whom attended all
The Senior World; Then Noah forward prest,
Who reimpeopled th' ancient shipwrack'd Ball:
And after Him step'd every Nation forth
Whose Colonies had swarm'd through all the Earth.
Not One was missing now, who ever drew
The breath of Life, or saw the face of Light:
Yea They whom Nature's self yet never knew,
As lying in Futurity's blind Night
Lock'd up to furnish after Ages, there
In their Ideal Beings did appear.
But yet the Proudest bore his head as low
As did the poorest and ignoblest Wight;
Nor was the starch'd and silken Gallant now
More sprucely than the leathern Shepherd dight:
This Day had rased such Distinctions out,
And All to one just garb and fashion brought.
They whom their tedious Age had bowed down,
Were to their brisker years remanded back;
And they who in their Bud were crop'd, and thrown
Into untimely Graves, did nothing lack
Of full-grown and accomplish'd Vigor; which
Fix'd all and every One in equal Pitch.
Yet still so different their Conditions were,
That now the ready Angels, who attended
Their Sovereign's Beck, with quick unerring Care
Parted the Crowd, which was together blended;
To his Right hand the harmless Sheep they drew,
But to his Left the stinking Goats they threw.
Psyche rejoyc'd her Parents here to see
Rank'd in the Dexter Wing: but fuller was
Her holy Exultation, when she
Perceiv'd her own Effigies had the grace
There to be marshalled; and though she slept,
Her waking Soul at that sweet Omen leapt.
When lo, as thus her Hopes and Joys grew high
At this illustrious Spectacle; before
The Throne two mighty Books were open by
The Angels flung: no Volumes ever bore
So huge a bulk as these, which written be
With all the World's eternal Destiny.
The One was black as Horror's darkest Face.
The Book of Death daub'd with the Ink of Hell;
Wherein each Word some ugly Trespass was,
Scor'd on their sad account, who needs would spil
Their pains to gain Vexation, and in spight
Of offer'd Bliss, against their Maker fight.
The other shew'd as fair, as this was foul;
The beauteous Book of Life; where every Line
Shin'd brighter than those Notes that made the Scroul
Of Heav'n appear so glorious and divine.
No Letters here, but Part of God express
Character'd in his Servant's Holyness.
These blessed Leaves the King no sooner read,
But to the Right-hand Troop he turn'd his Eye,
Which with majestick sweetness prefaced
To these high Words: Come ye whose Piety
Is by my Father's Benediction grown
Mature, and of full age to wear its Crown.
Come take your due Possession now with me
Of that bright Kingdom, whose Foundations were
Lay'd upon stable Perpetuity
Long e'r the Earth sunk down beneath, long e'r
The Air and Fire grew light and upward deaf,
Long e'r the Curtains of the Heav'ns were spred.
For in this faithful Register I see
Your brave Deserts recorded full and fair:
When I exposed lay to Misery,
Your pious Charity made me your Heir:
The Debt I here acknowledge, and to Day
Both Principal and Use I must repay.
I grant, in person I did never crave
Your tender Love's Assistance; yet what you
To any of my needy Members gave,
Has Me their mindful Head oblig'd: and now
Your Souls shall find I'l full Requital make
For whatsoe'r by Proxy I did take.
Then turning to the gloomy Book, and to
The Lefthand Squadrons who stood all aghast;
With frowns of killing Wrath He cryed, Go
Ye cursed Brood, this Evidence hath cast
Your Plea, and these true Leaves full witness bear
Of your foul Crimes which all stand staring here.
Your Eyes no Pity would afford to Me
When Prison, Hunger, Thirst, and Nakedness
Call'd for Compassion: and strict Equity
Now seals up Mine against your due Distress
Go, and your deeply-earned Places take
Amidst the everburning Brimstone Lake.
The Lake my Fury kindled to requite
With challeng'd Vengeance that rebellious Pride,
Which flam'd against my Self in open fight,
When Satan and his Crew their Stomachs try'd.
For you I meant it not; but you alone
Have snatch'd your shares in their Damnation.
The adamantine Doom thus being past;
The guardian Angels with impatient Joy
Their several and well-known Saints embrac't,
Applauding this their Coronation Day:
And then their Tongues they join'd with
Them to sing Ecstatick Praises to their gracious King.
But as this Melody was sweet and high;
So were the Outcries horrid, which did tear
The throats and hearts of all that Company
Who to Death's living furnace sentenc'd were:
Numberless Devils strait about them flew,
And in their face Dispairs and Terrors threw.
But dressed in a more affrighting shape
Than ever yet infernal Hag deformed,
Their monstrous Consciences on them did clap
Their Tallons of eternal Wrath, all armed
With thousand Stings, which on the wretches prey'd,
And in their Souls outrageous havock made.
Just, Just, cry'd they, your Sentence is; and though
In Life you needs would stop your squeamish ear
Against the Clamor of our Truth; yet you
In Death for evermore our Cry shall hear.
Thus their own Bosom's Verdict roar'd, forestalling
Hell's hideous yellings whether they were falling.
For on the sudden that infernal Pit
Opening its Mouth, and gaping for its Prey;
Their Flames' Firstfruits began on Them to spit,
And warn'd the Feinds to hasten them away
To their full Harvest, O what Tongue can tell
The Anguish which these Captives now befel!
Upon their shrieking Throats, and frighted Hair
Damnation's Sergeants flung their fiery Paws;
Whilst Troops of Furies, who appointed were
With burning Whips of Snakes, and Harpies' Claws,
Lash'd them so sore, that haste they made to Hell
In hopes less salvage Torments there did dwell.
In plung'd the mighty Rout, and almost split
The greedy Throat of black Perdition's Deep:
Loud was the Noise of this great Fall; but yet
Far louder was their Cry, who down the steep
Eternal Precipice still tumbled, and
No Bottom saw to bid their Ruin stand.
The hasty Fire soon flew upon this Feast,
And with unbounded Riot gormandised;
Resolving thenceforth never more to Fast,
Nor yet with all this store to be sufficed;
Although th' o'rcharged Grot its Fulness spoke,
By belching up contagious Stink and Smoke.
About the brink some Devils hanker'd still;
So did two Monsters uglier far than They,
Thin ghastly Death, and pois'nous Sin; until
The King design'd an Angel Them to slay,
Who threw them headlong down the Pit; for this
And this alone, eternal Slaughter is.
That done: the Sentence firm and sure to make,
Upon the Cave's wide Mouth his Seal he set:
A Seal which no Reluctancy can break
Since his Omnipotence hath temper'd it
Of such a mixture that Eternity
It self, as soon as that, shall brittle be.
The Saints and Angels seeing Nothing now
But Joy, and Life, and Bliss, and Holyness;
Before the Conquerer's Throne their faces threw,
In meek Ambition hasting to profess
Their thankful Souls in Triumph's stateliest Song;
Whence all the World with Hallelujahs rung.
When lo, a Flood of new and gorgeous Light
Pour'd sweetly down from th' everlasting Hill;
Which drown'd the Scene, and swallow'd up from sight
Th' outshined Luster of that Spectacle.
This fetch'd a sigh from Psyche, who had view'd
With hearty Joy that holy Multitude.
But Charis, to revive her fainting Cheer,
Whom empty Claritude could not suffice;
A sudden City on the Stage did rear,
Whose Beauty so enamor'd Psyche's eyes
That she was sad no longer for the Change,
But joy'd about the stately Pile to range.
For ne'r did sweeter Graces trip about
The blooming Count'nance of a royal Bride,
Who by all strength of Delicacy sought
To ravish her great Spouse; than beautify'd
This virgin City's face, which pleas'd the Eye
Of th' awful Sovereign of Eternity.
Square shew'd the Platform, destin'd for the Seat
Of everlasting Firmitude; for this
Substantial Figure feareth no Defeat
By any bold Concussion's boistrousness:
Whereas the Round and eas'ly rolling World,
Alas, before was into Nothing whirld.
The Fabrick of the Wall rose fair and high;
Much higher than the proudest Battlement
Of th' ancient Heav'ns, whose lofty Majesty
Down unto Mortall Eyes such Wonder sent;
For they were but the Tipe and Shade of This
Which Heav'n of Heav'ns, and Glory's Glory is.
And with this princely Height the mighty Base
Held correspondence; for on Twelve Foundations
All most unmov'd, the Building mounted was,
And laught at any Thought of Perturbations.
The only Garrison of Rest was this,
And stable Peace's grand Metropolis.
The First Foundation was of Jasper green;
For Florid must this Structure ever be:
The next of Sapphir, in whose face were seen
The proper Lines of heav'nly Clarity;
A Stone which fortifies all drooping Hearts,
And friendly Help to Chastity imparts.
The Third, of radiant Chalcedony; which
Judiciously upon the Sapphir set,
With Constellations doth its Ground enrich.
A cheerly Gem is this, and scorns to let
The tedious Insultations of Fear
Or bold Dispair, entrench upon its sphere.
The Fourth of Emerald, of filthy Lust,
And every other Poison too, the Fo:
The Fifth of Sardonix, in Blushes drest:
The Sixth of Sardy, Antidote of Wo,
Quickner of Wit: the Seaventh of Chrysolite,
Which frights away dull Melancholy's Night.
The Light of Beril, rich in Modest Grace:
The Ninth of Topaz, full of flaming Gold:
The Tenth, his sparkling Cousen Chrysoprase:
The next, the cordial Jacinth, which the cold
And sinking Heart invigorates: the Last,
The sober and the healthful Amethist.
On these Foundations fairly graven stand
Twelve honored Names; the Names of Them who spred
The Lamb's bless'd Blood through thousand Chanels, and
The Stones to build this City gathered
From every soil, and from the furthest shores
On which the barbarous Ocean foams and roars.
As Psyche reach'd her Wonder round about
This gallant Structure; she on every side
Three most magnifick Gates, each carved out
Of one intire and massy Pearl, espy'd:
By these great LOVE kept open House, and all
The East and West, the North and South did call.
Invited therefore thus, she enter'd in;
Where pav'd with solid Gold she found the Street;
With Gold not of our earthly Metals kin,
But of a higher purer Breed, and meet
Saints feet to kiss: for more tralucid 'twas
Than is the fairest Cheek of virgin Glass.
But strait a brighter Spectacle she met,
A River all of living Crystal, which
Came smiling down the glorious Street; and beat
Its rugged Path of Gems with Musick: such
Chastly-enamoring Loves and Joys did ne'r
Sport it in Fancy's Spring, as bathed there.
Each Bank was guarded by a goodly Row
Of one divinely multiplied Tree;
Whose wide-stretch'd Arms did courteously bestow
Upon the Flood a fair green Canopy,
Whose ever-verdant Twigs, though sound and strong,
Bow'd with the blessed Fruit which on them hung.
Twelve sorts of Fruits it duly bore, and yet
Fail'd not each Month again to bud and blow;
Such endless Vigor liv'd and reign'd in it
As with more sovereign Virtue did endow
The smallest Leaves, than e'r was known to drop
From famous Gilead's all-balmy Top.
They ne'r were mustered against the wound
Of any Nations, but the conquer'd Pain
Fled from its Hold, and left it whole and sound,
When humane Surgery had sought in vain.
O noble Tree! whose only Shadow is
Th' eternal Roof of sure substantial Bliss.
Under these mighty Boughs, and on this Shore
Of flowing Life, walk'd Psyche to descry
What Spring could be the Mother to such Store
Of pure and everteeming Suavity:
When lo, a glorious Throne she spy'd, from whence
Gush'd out these vivid Blisses' Influence.
A Throne of pure and solid splendor framed,
On which the Monarch of Immensity
With such intollerable Brightness flamed
That none of all the purest Standers by
Could with Cherubick or Seraphick eyes
His vast Irradiations comprise.
But at his right Hand, mitigated by
His marriage with Flesh, there sate the Lamb;
Whose spotless Fleece was sweetned Majesty;
Whose Scepter smiled with Love's gentle flame;
Whose Hand, to poure his Blessings forth, was spread;
Whose Crown was Honor, wreath'd about his Head.
From this fair Throne flow'd that eternal Day
Which all this new Jerusalem doth gild:
No other Phebus needed to display
Himself upon this Region, which was fill'd
With such enlivening Fires as could refine
Ev'n gross and mortal Eyes into Divine.
Here Psyche clearly read those wonders she
Before by Logos, her Embassador,
Through Distance's large Veil did dimly see:
God's naked Attributes were marshal'd here;
Deep Mysteries in one another wove,
Infinitudes, and Miracles of Love.
Here vast oraculous Profoundities,
And wondrous Words from Wisdom's lips she heard,
Such Words, as taught her what the reason is
Why God himself doth wear the Name of Word,
Words raised to so sovereign a pitch
As Mortal Tongues must never hope to reach.
Here she beheld how from Divinity
Beatitude her glorious Self display'd;
And unto all the holy Company
A Deluge of Munificence convey'd,
For Millions of Millions th' honor had
About th' illustrious Throne themselves to spread.
Most matchless was the Equipage in which
Their Ranges shined: that symmetrious Grace
Which through all Heav'n and Earth did Beauty reach
To this far fairer World gave willing place,
When, guilty only of it self, it slunk
Aside, and into Inanition sunk.
Nor e'r was Grecian or Roman Court
(Through Fame had trumpeted their Praises high)
Contrived in such wise majestick Port
As this, Perfection's own Polity,
Which by one universal spirit moves,
And by no Laws is governed but Loves.
All Saints and Angels knew their proper Station,
And lov'd it best, because it was their own:
Among them all no jarring Inclination
E'r aimd at Discord; for each one had thrown
His Will down at his Sovereign's footstool, and
Own'd no Desires but only His Command.
In Him they liv'd, and lov'd, and joy'd, and by
That Resignation received were
Into their Master's own Immensity
Since Jesus's Fulness had enough to spare,
Nor was his Diadem diminish'd, though
To all of them their Crowns He did allow.
They All were Crown'd, and yet not flattered
With titular and empty Sovereignty:
O no! such cheating Honors all were fled
Away, and with the mouldering World did die.
This Sea of Bliss, of Kingdoms was the Spring,
And every Subject made a mighty King.
For what was proper unto every one
Prov'd both the Joy and Riches of the Rest:
That Glorie's Excellence which flam'd upon
The Head of Jesus, fully was possess
By all this Multitude; for bounteous He
In Common laid his own Propriety.
Thus whatsoever Honor decks the Brow,
Or Consolation smileth in the Heart;
Its Beams are not confined there, but flow
With brotherly Delight to every Part;
That all the Body may engaged be
To make a private Comfort, publick Glee.
And yet these so united Spirits were
Diversify'd by Classical Degrees;
Nine goodly Orders shin'd distinctly there,
Which in Three Hierarchick Unities
Conjoin'd again, and by their single Three
Thrice copyed th' eternal Trinity.
With these the mingled Saints had leave to reign
And fill those Spirits' Rooms, who traiterously
Hoping against their Maker to maintain
Their Stomach's Quarrel, needs their Arms would try
But overwhelm'd by His Almighty Tide,
Their Ruin only gained by their Pride.
Nor did the Angels' noble Hearts repine
To see the lowborn Sons of rotten earth
Made their Companions, and advanc'd to shine
Above the Heavens: for since the mighty Birth
Of their Incarnate God, they could not say
But Dust it self was more Divine than They.
By that proportion of Humility,
And holy Love they practis'd here below,
Their Guerdons Measures on these Saints the high
And righteous King of Bounty modell'd now:
Which though much gradual Difference they shew'd.
Yet every One enjoyed Plenitude.
So of a thousand Vessels great and small
Into the Ocean thrown, though some receive
A larger portion of the Waves, yet All
Brim full are fill'd; nor can the Meanest grieve
Their Brethren's fairer Amplitude to see,
Since they no fuller than the smallest be.
But how to blazon these bright Honors, how
To sound this boundless Sea of equal Pleasures:
How to compute this vast Account, and know
The total Sum of perfect Bliss's Treasures;
Pos'd all their highest strength and deepest wit
Who were infeofed and possess of it.
Yet all the Homage that they paid for this
Supremacy of Glory, was but Praise,
Pour'd forth in high ecstatick Chanting His
Eternal Name and Fame, who them did raise
To this Capacity of Exultation.
O blessed Life! whose Task is Acclamation.
Through this illustrious Maze of Joy and Bliss
As Psyche laboured, and seem'd to be
In Heav'n afresh at every step; by this
Unwearied Quir's heroick Peans she Fancy'd the
Entertainment near as high,
Which rouz'd her Ear, as that which fill'd her Eye.
The sweetest Powers of mortal String and Voice
Had courted oft and complemented Her;
But charmed now by this soul-cheering Noise,
She thinks she ne'r true Musick heard but here:
Nor can she grant that Blessedness doth so
In Vision reign, as not in Hearing too.
The strong Assault of that all-glorious Sight,
And this strange Harmony, perplexed Her
In sweet Confusion for by This Delight
She tempted was to wish her self all Ear;
By that, intirely Eye; or else that she
Could teach her Eyes to hear, her Ears to see.
At length her Wonder could endure no Rein,
But sacrific'd her Soul to Ecstasy:
When lo, the Seraphs Pipes let flie a strein
Of holy Triumph so exceeding high,
That starting at the mighty Song, she shaked
Her precious Dream in sunder, and awaked.
As when unhappy Adam was expell'd
From Bliss's Scene, joy-planted Paradise,
And on the sudden all the World beheld
Set thick with helpless thorny Miseries:
With Sighs and Sobs his woful hands he wrung,
To think from Whence, and Whether he was flung.
Thus Psyche seiz'd with lamentable fright
To see the face of gross Mortality;
To see the glaring Beams of Nature's Light;
To see her self on her poor pallet lie,
So far remov'd from Bliss's royal sphere
That on dull Earth she still was groveling here:
Cry'd out, Alas what injury have I
E'r done to Sleep, that it should mock me thus?
To heave me up into the glorious Sky
Why should my Dreams be so industrious,
If me by this Defection treacherous They
Back to this Deep intended to betray?
Unhappy Life! which whilst we are Awake
With nothing else but Dreams enchantst our eyes.
The burly Show this Mortal World doth make,
Is but a puffed Bulk of Vanities,
Where whilst we hope substantial Worth to find
We cheated are with foolish empty wind.
But when by Sleep we robbed are of more
Than half our Selves, and in Death's Emblem lie,
Then only wilt thou suffer us to sore
To solid Joys; which yet deserted by
Our flitting faithless Dreams that buoy'd them up,
Strait into wretched Nothing headlong drop.
Deceitful Sleep, which wear'st the Name of Rest,
Why wilt thou never make it good to me?
Why was I with thy highest Favors blest,
If they must but my waking Torture be?
Why slept I, if I needs must start, and miss
By setting ope mine eyes, my sight of Bliss?
How much more Comfort is it to be Blind
Than that our eyes should only witness be
Of what our Souls must needs abhor to find,
The Flight and Loss of our Felicity!
And can such Eyes be dry? which said, she wept,
And her Complaints in briney currents steep'd.
But Phylax, who had with his piercing eye
Div'd through her breast, and was Spectator there
Whilst Charis order'd all that Pageantry
Upon her wondring Soul's fair theatre,
Stop'd with a Kiss that Tide of Grief which ran
From her complaining Lips; then thus began:
To Joy this Morning sacred is, my Dear;
And if thy Bottles thou wouldst rightly spend,
On Sorrow lavish not the smallest Tear,
But all thy Streams to Exultation lend.
Thy Dream has not deceiv'd thee; all was true
Which it display'd to thine admiring View.
It is enough that Heav'n hath condescended
To act it self aforehand unto Thee:
Nor canst thou think thy Savior e'r intended
To put thee off with Dreams: No; royal He
Prepares thine Eyes by this short glimpse of Bliss
Henceforth to see its endless bright Excess.
In patience then thine humble Soul possess;
For sure this Prize is worth thine Expectation,
Yea though it should attended be till this
Firm World grows weak, and stoops to Consummation:
Time at its utmost Tether cannot be
More than a Span to vast Eternity.
Eternity, is that which shall inhance
Beatitude, and crown its Diadems:
In hopes of which do thou thy Soul advance,
And ne'r dejected be to think that Dreams,
Which on thin Fancy their foundation lay,
Are fickle fluid things, and start away.
Courageous Friend, the Maid to this reply'd,
Brave is the Metal of thy sprightful Heart;
Which easly beats back all Misfortune's Tide,
And can the Streams of Grief to Joy convert:
Full well with Thee those Looks of Triumph suit,
Who all my Loss canst with a Smile confute.
But I can not do so; Mischances throw
Their cruel Smiles on mine with high Disdain:
My deep Passivity will not allow
Me any power or cunning to maintain
A fight with Suff'rings so as not to feel
The Wound, when in my heart I find the Steel.
It is but lately since unhapy!
Was lost, quite lost in Mists of Desolation:
And heavy was that blind Calamity
Which muffled up my quick-ey'd Contemplation,
And clipt those Wings that had been us'd before
Unto the Pinnacles of Heav'n to sore.
But now her eyes again unmasked are,
And unto useful strength her feathers grown;
No sooner I in Heav'n's illustrious sphere
Or read, or fly, but I am tumbled down,
And by my journy (to complete my Cross)
No Profit reap but Knowledge of my loss.
O I acquit my Dream from any Guilt
Of fairfac'd Fraud; in every blessed Part
The genuine pulse of Truth I clearly felt
Which beat right time with my exultant Heart.
I would not have it False for Heav'n, and yet
Its being True begets this deep Regret.
Had it not prov'd it self th' unfeined scene
Of brave Beatitude in full display;
Without this stinging Torment that had been
Snatched from Me, or I from that, away:
But now what Comforts' breath can blow Content
When from my Heart my Heart it self is rent?
If Lucifer had never walk'd upon
Complete Felicitie's transcendent Stories,
If he had ne'r beheld Heav'n's radiant Throne,
Nor grown acquainted with the Court of Glories;
His Loss had finite been; and though he fell
To Ruin's Gulf, his Hell had not been Hell.
I might have dwelt contented in dead Night
Had I not known and seen Life's royal Day:
These rotten rags of Dust and Ashes might
Have pleased me, had not the rich Array
Of Immortality which shines so bright
Upon the backs of Saints, ravish'd my sight.
The Ardor of my Thirst might eas'ly by
That simple Brook have cool'd, and quenched been
Had not that Crystal run into mine Eye,
Whose all-enlivening Current glides between
Those two Plantations of tall Life, which flourish
With sovereign Health, and all faint Nations cherish.
Yon Phebus, who with virgin Gold doth gild
The Morning's cheeks, with some delight might I
Have gazed on; If I had not beheld
My Lord's more sunlike Eyes, with Majesty
Sparkling, and Joy, end love, and everything
Which can accomplish GIorie's gracious King.
Then since I fully understand my Loss;
O do not envy me, sweet Guardian, leave
Not to be fondly stupid; do not cross
My Wo's carreer who have such cause to grieve:
For Grief their Daughter's only dowry is
Whilst my dear Parents reign in joyous Bliss.
These words with such commanding Passion she
On facil Phylax blew, as made him yield;
And this the rather, since deep pondering He
Mark'd now how wisely LOVE his Blot conceal'd:
For Psyche knew not He for her this kind
Of softest-hardest Martyrdom design'd.
But Charis (to augment her Agony,)
Although the blessed Dream had taken wing,
Yet on the Tables of her Memory
Fairly transcrib'd and fastned every thing.
There shin'd the total Apparition still,
And all her Thoughts with Ravishment did fill.
With Ravishment, which proved fuel to
Her ancient fire of Love: a Fire that now
Flash'd resolutely out, and feasted so
On this vast Banquet, which had leave to flow,
With fresh Infinitude upon it, that
The Flames all bridles and all bounds forgot.
Like Wax which yields before the Summer's Sun;
So in the presence of this scorching Heat
Her Bowels melted, and her Heart did run
About her Bosom, labouring to get
Releasment from the Furnace: but in vain
Heav'n still to these sweet Torments her did chain.
Still she beheld what yet she might not see
Still there she walk'd whence she was snatch'd away;
Her Eyes still feasted on Life's absent Tree
Still on the Crystal River's shore her stay
She made, though on gross Earth she prostrate were.
Being in sunder torn 'twixt Here and There.
In dainty Anguish thus she lay and fried,
Till through her lips at last the Bonfire brake,
And unto Phylax thus aloud she cryed:
O why to Persecution's gentler stake
Was I not bound; why might I not expire
Amidst the bosom of that courteous Fire?
That Fire would soon have drunk up all my breath
And into Ashes parch'd my Life; but this
Plays with my Pangs, and freshly furnisheth
My fainting Heart with passive Vigorousness:
This, woful Immortality doth give
To mouldering Dust, and teacheth Death to Live.
Nor Etna's nor Vesuvius's bowels were
E'r gravid with such teeming Flames, as mine:
Should Humber, Thames, and Severn, by thy care
Their everflowing Mouths together join,
And empty out their Torrents on my Heart,
Alas they could not quench my burning Smart.
Flatter me not with vainly smiling Eye;
Compassion is the utmost thou canst lend.
He, He alone can cure my Malady
Who plung'd me in this flaming Fever; and
If Thou canst hasten down his Help, O do!
Or tell me when He will conclude my Wo.
The Angel, who her blessed Sickness knew,
Had now no longer power to pity her;
But strait invisible, away he flew,
That her Seraphick Pains might domineer;
And she, thus left alone, might sooner prove
The perfect Holocaust of generous Love.
When lo, her modest tender Jealousy
Could not interpret his Discession so:
She fear'd that by indecent Passion she
Had wrong'd his Patience, and forc'd him to
Withdraw; till troubled she grew calm again,
And fit his Company to entertain.
This made her check her boiling Fervor by
Deep Recollection of her Spouses's Will:
She knocks her Breast, which made its first reply
In Sighs, the next in these sad Words: O still
This tumult of my Soul dear Lord, whose heat
Hath all my Bosom in combustion set.
I love the cause of my Distempter, yet
Would fain more quietly disturbed be:
I know my Torment can no Cure admit
While I am Pris'ner to Mortality:
Yet Thou canst find a way to make me dwell
In Pain with Ease, with heav'nly Joy in Hell.
Although my long'd-for Union with Thee
More precious is than thousand Lives; although
Desire and Languor all my Essence be
Till to Fruition of Thee I grow;
Yet since thy Will prolongs my banishment
From thy dear Sight, (peace Heart) I am Content.
I am Content: for all I am is Thine.
The freedom of thy Pleasure use on Me;
If I thine Arrows' smartest dint decline,
Then say I lov'd my self, but lov'd not Thee:
Pour on this Heart, pour all thine amorous Might
And slay me if thou wilt, from Morn to Night.
But if I still must Live this Death, O may
I live to Thee, my God, to Thee alone!
O let some hard heroick Task allay
The Fervor's edge, which thou hast set upon,
My ravish'd Soul; that soundly busied, I
May less resent the Flames in which I fry.
Shall I confront whate'r defyeth Thee?
Shall I go check the Gallantry of Sin,
And tell the boldest Crimes what Misery
Waits at the desperate Goal to which they run?
Shall I go sell my self, to ransome thy
More worthy Servants from Captivity?
Shall I to Persecution's Court, and there
Erect thy Standard in the Tyrant's face?
Shall I her Racks, and Arts of Torture dare,
And to the ground her Gods and Altars rase?
Thy Majesty's Commands and Declarations,
Shall I promulge against her Proclamations?
Shall all the Bruses, Wounds, Boyls, Ruptures, Pains,
With every Grief, Distemper, and Mischance;
Shall all the Hungers, Thirsts, and Stripes and Chains,
Which allways were the sure Inheritance
Of Thine abused patient Members, join
And domineer in this sole Corps of mine?
Shall I be made the Hate of Man and Beast?
Shall I be scorn'd and kicked round about
Th' insulting Universe? shall I be prest
Down to the dismal ever-yelling Rout
Of Feinds and Hags, and dragged through the Deep
Where Horrors reign, and Torments never sleep?
This, this, and more, for thy all-precious sake
Thy bounden Psyche surely could sustain:
Speak then, O most deserving Sovereign speak,
And by some suff'rings mitigate my Pain.
Set me my hardy Task, that I may prove
On any terms how much I love thy Love.
Thus panted loyal She: till tired by
Her Fervor's high Intension, she descended
Into her self again: but instantly
That strong Combustion she hop'd was ended,
Met her amidst her Breast; for new Desire
Kindled afresh her most impatient Fire.
By Resignation to her Spouse she hasted
Again to quench its Rage; yet day by day
Her self she found in amorous Languor wasted,
And waking night by night, and Longing lay:
Or, when from place to place she hunted Rest,
Her Torments' Spring still bore she in her Breast.
As Conscience's quick Book, which flyeth in
Their guilty faces, who have stained it
With hideous Blots of Mercy-daring Sin,
Before their eyes doth armed Vengeance set,
With Snakes, and Furies, Dread, and Desperation,
And all Attendants of complete Damnation:
Thus, thus her restless Memory to her
The beautious Wonders of her Dream objected,
With all Beatitude's bright Furniture:
In vain her eyes she studiously deflected,
Which were in every corner cross by this
Intrusion of strange importunate Bliss.
When to her Prayers she went, she could not Pray;
Heav'n and Amazement strait were crowding in:
When to her Book, alas, she could not say;
Love's Languor stop'd her e'r she could begin:
When to her Course of Psalms, she could not sing;
Loud in her ears the Angels Anthem rung.
When to her Meat she went, she could not Eat;
The Tree of endless Life her thoughts took up:
When to the Fountain of her Drink, the sweet
River of Heav'n prov'd her tormenting Stop:
When to her sleep, she was disturbed by
The undisturb'd Pest of Eternity.
Oft she resolved with Content to wait
Heav'n's leisure, till her Heart might thither sore;
Yet her Resolves but mock'd themselves, for strait
She found her Heart was settled there before:
And still the more she check'd and downward bent
Her Thoughts, the more she felt them upward rent.
The dear Remembrance of her Sovereign Lord
Boil'd in her Soul, and would not slaked be:
So that while tortur'd She could not afford
Her Body what Recruits Necessity
Crav'd at her hands; she faint and feeble grew,
And by degrees her Mortal Self she slew.
She slew her Flesh, which pin'd and sunk away;
She slew the Vigor of her Senses, which
Like unbent Bows, all damp'd and useless lay:
Yet by these Slaughters she did but inrich
The Life of her afflicted Heart, which still
Found out a way with stouter Fire to swell.
So high it swell'd, that whatsoe'r came near
The raging Torrent, strait became its Prey:
Yea ev'n the Bridles too subdued were,
Which still she hop'd and strove on it to lay;
Her Meditations all to Passions turned;
And whatsoe'r she did, or Fancy'd; Burned.
Since Man receiv'd Capacity to be
The Vassal of Diseases, He was ne'r
In bondage to so deep a Malady
As when imperious fiery Love doth bear
The scepter of his Thoughts, and is possest
Of all the Realm of his soft yielding Breast.
I know, alas, I know for certain, I
Believed am by every genuine Heart
Whose Tenderness hath been transfixed by
The violence of Love's mysterious Dart.
These, these will justify my Song, and be
Condolers with my Psyche, and with Me.
Inamoration, be it of a Thing
But weak and mortal, and Dust's wretched Heir;
Can with immortal Pains and Wishes sting,
And spur the Soul into unwearied Care;
Doubts and Discouragements in vain lead up
Their Troops of Obstacles its way to stop.
No, no: the generous Lover's Heart disdains
Not to approve his Passion infinite:
With gallant Obstinacy he maintains
Against the Will of Heav'n and Earth the fight.
To win his Idol; for whose sake, had He
Millions of Lives, Millions should ventur'd be.
For in Her Image, which he hath inshrin'd
High in the Temple of his loyal Breast,
Such mighty Charms his zealous Fancies find
As rob him of all Power to resist,
On, on he runs; and in such furious wise,
That Love is slandered with want of Eyes.
Knows not the World how Hamor's royal Son
His Foreskin scorn'd and his Religion too,
When Dinah's Love got full possession
Of his subdued Soul? How David, who
Was Heav'n's choise Darling, durst Heav'n's Law despise
For what he read in Bathsheba's fair Eyes?
Who hath not heard what power one Helen had
Upon two mighty Nations, both content,
For love of Her to run so strangly mad
Upon a War of Hate; whose Fury rent
Up Ilium by the roots; which to the flame
Of Lust a woful Holocaust became?
No marvel then the Fire of heav'nly Love
With such intollerable Fervor reigns;
Whose ravishing Sweetness is so far above
All sublunary Charms; whose mystick Chains
Draw with almighty Force, and cannot be
Outvy'd by feeble Man's Reluctancy.
Sick, desperatly Sick is Psyche now,
And finds no Physick to aswage her Pain:
Did any Salve in furthest India grow,
Through all the Seas she thither would amain:
But Earth breeds no such Herb as can relieve
The Wounds which Heav'n's inamoring Arrows give.
For all those Wounds bleed nothing else but Fire.
Fire, which remembring its original Flame,
With neverwearied strugling must aspire
Back to the radiant Home from whence it came;
Its proper Element are Jesus's Eyes,
And thither in heroick Zeal it Flies.
And what can racked Psyche do, who by
This most unruly Heat to Heav'n is haled;
And yet by mortal Life's repugnancy
Fast to her Body and dull Earth is sealed?
What can she do in this Extremity
Of raging Life and Death at once; but Cry?
Hardy and bold she grows in her Complaint:
For lifting up her love-encourag'd eyes,
Although her sickly Voice were low and faint,
Yet full of sinews were her serious Cries:
Which thus she suting to her flaming Passion,
Tun'd by the stout Key of Expostulation:
O Lord of Gentleness, O why dost thou
Make Love so cruel to tormented me?
O Lord of Justice, canst thou me allow
No other Torturer but Suavity?
Why must my Gall be only Honey? why
Of nothing else but life must Psyche die?
Why didst thou not permit me to Decease
When thou hadst left me to my Self alone?
So had thine Handmaid been repriev'd from these
Riddles of charming Pangs; so had I gone
Whole to my grave, who now must Melted be
By thine unsufferable sweets, and thee.
O might thy Presence but consume me, I
Should drop into my Nothing with Delight,
But thus to be dissolv'd and murder'd by
Thine only Absence, duplicates the weight
Of my strange Death, whilst in my killing woes
I all the Pleasure of my Ruin loose.
And am I not a Worm, and worse than so?
What Triumph then canst thou atchieve on me!
Why dost thou not pick out some Seraph, who
With this sublime and blessed Misery
Might bravely grapple? or why mightst thou not
At Phylax's nobler Breast my Dart have shot?
O be not angry! 'tis not I that speak,
But tortured Necessity: my Heart
A thousand times desir'd, but could not break;
My Lips had not presumed else to part
And ope into these bold Complaints; wherein
Excuse (I hope) is woven with my Sin.
Not for innumerable Worlds would I
Have miss'd that splendid Apparition: but
Should full as many Worlds their Tyranny
Combine against my Soul, they could not put
Poor Me to any Torture so extream
As this Remembrance of my blessed Dream.
Yet though in Ravishments thy Kingdom be
So truly Sovereign: Psyche could forbear
From reaching her ambitious Ardency
To any glorious Joys which triumph there,
Wert Thou away: but pardon, pardon Me
If I profess I needs must Covet Thee.
In Sweetness why art thou so Infinite
Or why must that Infinitude appear
To any Soul to fire her with Delight,
If to the Front she may not come, and there
Quench her impatient Thirst? O Jesu be
Still what thou art; but then be lo to Me!
Be so to Me; and O be so with speed!
Death is not Death compared with Delay:
This teacheth every Moment to excede
All those long Years I till this cruel Day
Have tediously measured, and now
I older by an Age each Minute grow.
Fain fain would I let thee alone, and be
Content to wait thy longest Leisure still:
But O, all-lovely Thou now urgest me,
And violently dragg'st my conquer'd Will.
Thou dragg'st me; yet wilt not permit that I
Should follow home to my Felicity.
If thou wilt kill me; lo thy Worm's content:
But O, vouchsafe to let my slaughter be
By Death, not by this breathing Banishment
From my best Life, most ameable thee!
O pity, pity thy poor Handmaid's Cry,
Whose Tongue cleaves to her mouth, whose throat is dry.
Here hop'd she to have fainted: but her Pain
Whose load so heavy on her shoulders lay,
With cruel Kindness helped to sustain
Her parched Vigor, that it still might prey
Upon her Patience, and consume her still.
O strange Disease which canst by Curing Kill!
Phylax mean while unseen, perceiv'd that she
To Heav'n's fair Suburbs was arrived now;
And that the Strings of her Mortality
By this high stretch would quickly crack: for though
Her Self her Charge's Dawn could not descry,
He saw her final Hour was drawing nigh.
His Love this roused timely to prepare
For's precious Pupil's never-ending End:
About her Funeral kind and decent Care
He took; because himself could not attend
Those Rites, when she had once Expir'd; for He
Her noble Paranymphus was to be.
He was to be her Convoy when she flew
Up to her royal Spouse's marriage Bed:
This made him dress his Count'nance with a new
Festivity; his Wings this made him spread
With fresh and snowy Down, that's Master's Bride
In that soft Coach of Triumph home might ride.
And in this joious Hue to her he came;
Yet she his sweet Approach regarded not:
For, burning in her more delicious Flame,
The Sense of all things else she quite forgot.
The Phenix thus, amidst her funeral Fires,
Sees nothing else, and nothing else desires.
Flat on the ground, though wholly snatch'd from Earth,
The most subdued Prize of Zeal she lay:
Her tired Blood no logger sally'd forth,
But to her Heart retreating back, gave way
To overpowring Pallor's deadly Chase,
Who strait set up his Colours in her face.
The double Fountain of her Tears was dry;
Her Groans were tired; and her Languishment
It self did languish: but her Ecstasy
Outrageous grew, and like a Giant bent
The mighty Bow of her Desires, by which
The Mark of all her Hopes she was to reach.
To loathed Earth then having bid Adieu,
And firmly fixt her loving longing Eye
On her dear Heav'n, to keep her Aim in view;
Her Flame's triumphant Tempest swell'd so high
That She, unable to contain its Tide,
With three deep sighs cry'd out O LOVE, and dyd.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 2:215-31]