Edward Benlowes Poems >>
Theophila Or Loves Sacrifice. Canto V
Mundus Opes, Animam Coelum, Terramque resumpsit
Terra: DEUS, Vitam cum tulit, Ipse dedit.
Solus Amor facit esse DEUM; Quem, Mente capaci,
Si Quis conciperet, posset & esse DEUS.
The Authors Vision, Her Ascent, Heav'ns Place
Descry'd, where reigns all glorious Grace,
Where's all--sufficient Good, the Sum of Blisse She has.
I'm vile, a thing impure, Corruptions Son,
Earth--crawling Worm, by Sin undone,
Whose suppliant Dust doth own its Shame, and t' Heav'n doth run.
Grace, intervene 'twixt Sin and Shame, and tie
A hopeful Blisse to Miserie!
LORD, pardon dust and ashes: both, yea worse, am I!
Though dust, thy Work: though Clay, Thy Hand did turn
This Vessel; and, though ashes, th' Urn
Thou art, them to restore when Skie & Earth shall burn.
Whil'st that my Heav'n--allyed--Soul does stay
Wholly on Thee, not Europs Sway
Can elevate my Wish, like one Grace--darted Ray.
Meet, meet my prison'd Souls Address! oh, might
She view, through mouldring Earth, thy Sight!
Grace perfects Natures want: Say here, Let there be Light!
Then, though in Flesh my Spirit pris'ned be,
She may by Faith ascend to THEE,
And up be rais'd, till she shall mount to Libertie.
Clear--sighted Faith, point out the Way; I will
Neglect curl'd Phrases frizled Skill:
Humble Devotion, lift Thou up my flagging Quill;
Which faints at first Approach; my Faith's too light
To move This Mountain, reach This Height:
Can squeaking Reeds sound forth the Organs full delight?
I'm mute, for only Light can Light declare;
A Diamond must a Diamond square;
Yet, where I dare not speak, there yet adore I dare.
Ear has not heard, nor Eye has seen, nor can
Mans Heart conceive (vast Heart of Man)
The Riches treasur'd up in Glories Ocean!
Tomes full of mystick Characters enfense
Those Seas of Blisse! To write to Sense
Heav'ns Chronicle, wou'd ask a Heav'nd--Intelligence.
How then, from Flood of Tears may' an Arkt Dove try
Its ventrous Pineons, to descry
That Land, unknown to Nature? Vast Eternitie!
Fear Gulfs unfathomable; nor desire,
Ere of GODS Court thou art, t' aspire
To be of's Counsell; Pry not, but with Awe admire.
Dwarf--words do limp, do derogate, do scan
Nor Height; nor Depth. Since Time began,
What constitutes a Gnat was ne're found out by Man.
Dares mortal Slime, with ruder tongue, expresse
What ev'n Celestials do confesse
Is inexpressible? Thou Clod of Earth, first guesse
In like Degrees from ?quinoctial Track,
Why Men are tawny, white, and black?
Why Bactrias Camel two? Arabs, one Bunch on's Back?
Canst lead Leviathan with a silken String?
Canst cover with a Hornets Wing
Behemoth? Canst thou Seas into a Nutshell bring?
Canst Motion fix? count Sands? recall past Day?
Shew Height, Breadth, Length o'th' spreading Ray?
Discardinate the Sphears? and rapid Whirlwindes stay?
Tell, tell how pond'rous Earths huge proplesse Ball
Hangs poised in the fluent Hall
Of fleeting Air? how Clouds sustained are from Fall?
How burnt the Bush, when Verdure cloth'd its Fire?
How from the Rock, Rod--struck in Ire,
Did Cataracts gush out? How did the Sea retire?
Canst thou take Post--Horse with the coursing Sun,
And with Him through the Zodiack run?
How many Stages be there ere the Race be done?
Then, tell how once He shot his Beams down--right
From the same Zenith, while for Night,
Mortals stood gazing at a doubled Noon--dayes--Light?
Tell, how that Planet did in after--dayes
Turn Cancer, shooting Parthian Rayes,
Ten whole Degrees reverst, which did the World amaze.
Poor thingling Man! Propitious Heav'n, assign
Some Angel for this high Design!
Heav'ns Historie requires at least a Seraphin.
O, might some glorious Spirit then retire,
And warble to a sacred Lyre
The Song of Moses and the Lamb in Heav'ns full Quire!
'Twas at Nights Noon, when Sleep th' Opprest had drown'd;
But sleepless were Oppressors found;
'Twas, when Skies spangled Head in sable Veil was bound:
For, theevish Night had stole, and clos'd up quite,
In her dark Lantern, starrie Light:
No Planet seen to sail in that dead Ebbe of Night:
When, lo, all--spreading Rayes the Room surround!
Like such Reflections, as rebound,
Shooting their Beams to th' Sun, from Rocks of Diamond.
This, to a Wonder, summoned my Sight,
Which dazled was at so pure Light!
A Form Angellick there appear'd divinely bright!
I wisht my Self more Eyes to view this Gleam;
I was awake, I did not dream;
Too exquisite Delight makes true Things feigned seem.
Model of Heav'n it was; I floated long
Twixt Joy and Wonder; Passion strong,
Wanting due Vent, made Sight my Speech, & Eyes my Tongue!
Oft, my rapt Soul, ascending to the Eye,
Peept through upon Angelitie,
Whose Blaze did burnisht Plate of sparkling Sol outvie!
If gratious Silence shin'd forth any where
With sweet Aspect, 'twas in this Sphear;
The Soul of Sweetness, and the Spirit of Joyes mixt here.
From out Loves Wing He must a Pensil frame,
Who, on Times cloth, would paint this Flame:
None can pourtray this glorious Draft but who's the same.
Vail then, Timantes--like, this guess'd at Face,
(The Curtain of That inward Grace)
Whose Forehead with Diaphanous Gold impaled was.
For, starrie Knobs, like Diamonds, did attire
That Front with Glory, and conspire
To lavish out their Beams, to radiate that Fire.
Whose Amber--curling Tresses were unbound,
And, like a glittering Veil, spread round,
And so about the snowy Shoulders sweetly wound.
Whose Robe shot forth a Tissue--waving Shine,
Which seem'd loose--flowing, far more fine
Than any interwoven Silk with silver--Twine.
With gratious Smile, approaching neerer, sate
This glorious Thing: ?, humble State!
Yet, on the Vision inexpressive Rayes did wait.
'Twas glorify'd Theophila sat there.
I, mute, as if I tongueless were,
Till Her Voice--Musick drew my Soul into mine Ear:
'Twas 'bove Lutes sweetest Touch, or richest Air!
I bring Thee Things (saies She) are rare:
All subcoelestial Streams Drops to this Ocean are.
Hear, first, my Progresse. Loos'd from Natures Chain,
And quit from Clay, I did attain,
Swift as a glancing Meteor to th' Aerial Plain:
Where, passing through, I did perfume the Air
With sacred Spice, and incenst Pray'r;
While grateful Clouds their liquid Pearl, as Guift, prepare.
I spare t'unlock those Treasuries of Snow;
Or tell what paints the rainy Bowe;
Or what cause Thunders, Lightnings, Rains; or whence Windes flow.
Those Regions pass'd, where bearded Comets light
The World to fatall Woes; a bright
Large Orb of harmless Fire enflam'd my Heav'n--ward Flight.
To azure--arched Skie ascends my Soul,
(Thence view I North and Southern Pole)
Where Globes in Serpentine, yet order'd Motions rowl.
Thence by the changing Moons alternate Face,
Up, through unweari'd Phosphors Place,
I mount to Sols Diurnal and his Annual Race:
By whose propitious Influence Things are
Quickned below, this Monarch Star,
Making his Progresse through the Signes, unclouds the Air;
And, eight--score Times out--bulks the Earth; whose Race
In four and twenty Howers space
'Bove fifty Milions of Germanick Leagues do's pace.
This Giant with as many Tongues as Rayes,
Speaks out, so oft as He displayes
His Beams, which gild the World; that Man his LORD should praise.
Through Sphears I pass'd to Stars, that nail Heav'ns Court,
(My Stay was with Skie--wonders short,)
Which, by first Movers Force, are whirl'd about their Fort.
Through the blew--spangled Frame, my psalming Tongue
Made th' Orbs suspend their usual Song,
To hear Coelestial Hymns the glist'ring Quires did throng.
Chime out, ye Crystal Sphears, and tune your Poles;
Skies, sound your Base, ere ye to Coals
Dissolve, and tumble on the Bonfire World in Shoals.
The Primum Mobile do's seem immense,
And doth transfused Influence
Through all inferiour Orbs, as swift as Thought, dispense.
Suppose, a Milstone should from thence be hurl'd
Unto the Center of this World,
'Twould make up sixscore Years, ere it could down be whirld.
Now, entred I Heav'ns Suburbs, pard with Gems;
No orient Jewels cast such Beams;
(O, might this Verse be wreath'd but with such Diadems!)
Sols radiant Fulgence in meridian Skies
Seem'd Shade unto those Clarities;
Where Beauties Self might beautifie her fairest Eyes.
'Tis 'bove high'st Verge, where Reason dares be bold;
That Heav'n of GOD is of such Mold,
That Eyes, till glorify'd, cannot the same behold.
'Tis purely Spirit'al, and so must be,
Above compare in all Degree,
With Ought that draws its Line from th' six Dayes Pedigree.
'Tis immaterial, 'bove the highest Sphear,
Doth brighter then the rest appear;
Than Orbs of Fire, Moon, Sun, or Crystaline more clear.
'Tis Space immense, from whence Apostates driv'n,
Their Rooms might so to Men be giv'n
With Those confirmed Sons, th' Indigenae of Heav'n.
Absurdly some Philosophers did dream,
That Heav'n's an uncreated Beam
Which forth eternally from GOD HIMSELF did stream.
'Tis but a Creature, though its Essence be
To change unsubject, standing free
On never shaken Pillars of Infinitie.
Ocean of Joyes! Who can Thee fully state?
For clearer knowledge Man must wait;
First shoot Deaths Gulf, thy Soul may then arrive thereat:
For no One enters There, till He hath trod
Deaths Path, then, from that Period
Elected Souls ascend to Heav'n, to Blisse, to GOD!
(Zeal through me fir's its way to speak, that I
Would thither, like wing'd Lightning, flie,
Were my Flesh--curtain drawn that clouds my Spirits Eye!
What Heights would Souls affect, could they undress
Themselves of Rags, that them depress!
How beautiful's the Form of naked Holines!
New Light, Life, Love, Joy, Bliss there boundless flow!
There shall my Soul thy Glory know,
When She her Robe of Clay shall to Earths wardrobe throw!
Fond that I am to speak. Passe on to Blisse,
That with an individual Kisse
Greets Thee for ever! Pardon this Parenthesis.)
Faith's the Souls Eye; As nothing were between,
They that beleeve, see Things unseen:
Close then thy carnal, thy spiritual Eyes unscreen.
For, my transplanted Spirit shall emblaze
Words, may make Wonder stand at Gaze:
Unbounded Bliss doth ev'n the sep'rat Spirit amaze!
O, Fleet of Intellectuals, Glory--fraught,
(Inestimable Arras, wrought
With Heart--orecoming Colours) how ye pass all Thought!
Thou All--comprizing, uncompriz'd! Who art
Ever, yet never made, impart
Thou (Loves Abyss, without or Ebbe, or Shoar) an Heart
Of Wisdom to attempt, proceed, and end
what never Was, Is, Can be penn'd!
(May Spots in Maps (dumb Teachers) Empires comprehend?
The Skie--enchased Di'amonds lesser show
Than Julie's hairy Worms that glow,
Sampled with those Rebounds unbounded Glories throw.
That Vessel of Election, rapt to th' Soil
Of highest Blisse, did here recoyl:
I'th' same Attempt 'tis Honour to confess a Foyl.
Sense knowes not 'bove Court--Triumphs, Thrones, or Kings,
Gems, Musick, Beauties, Banquetings,
Without such Tropes it can't unfold Spiritual Things.
O, how That most unutterable Blaze
Of Heav'ns all--luminating Rayes
Do's Souls (disrob'd of Flesh) both brighten, & amaze!
That boundless Solstice, with transparent Beams,
Through Heav'ns triumphant Arches streams,
And, gliding through each Spirit with intrinsick Gleams
Pierceth to th' little World, and doth dispell
The gloomy Clouds of Sin, that swell
The Soul, decoying it to ever--burning Hell!
By Glory, how are Spirits made divine!
How super--radiantly They shine
From th' ever--flowing Spring of the refulgent TRINE!
Beyond Report of high'st Discourse They dart
Their Radiations, 'bove all Art!
This cath'like Blisse ore--flowes the most capacious Heart!
Conceive a Court, where all Joyes domineer,
Where Seas of Sweets oreflow, and where
Glories exhaustless Mines, Sports endless Springs, appear:
Where infinite Excesse of Sweets ne're cloyes!
Where, still Fruitions Feast employes
Desire! where Who enjoy the least can't count their Joyes!
One may t' a Glimps, None to a Half can rise,
Had He more Tongues, than Heav'n has Eyes!
Such, nothing see, as would in Words this Sight comprize!
Can Measures such Unmeasurables hold?
Can Time Infinitie unfold?
Superlative Delights may be admir'd, not told.
When Glories Heav'n is all one Sunny Blaze,
That flowing Radiance doth amaze,
While on That inconceivable Result we gaze!
What King would not court Martyrdome, to hold
In Capite a Citie of Gold,
Where, look how many Gates, so many Pearls are told!
The Structure's Square; A firm Foundation,
Twelve--fold, for Each a precious Stone,
The LAMBS Apostles Names engraven therupon.
There sparkles forth the verdant Emerald,
The blew--ey'd Saphyr therein wall'd,
The Topaz too, with that Stone which from Gold is call'd:
There, Jasper, Chaloedon, Chrysoprase shine,
There Sardonix, and Sardius joyn,
There Beryl, Hyacinth, and Amethyst combine.
No sympathizing Turkise there, to tell
By Palenesse th' Owner is not well,
For, Grief's exild to Earth, and Anguish groans in Hell!
The Streets with Gold perspicuous are arrai'd,
With blazing Carbuncles inlaid;
Yet, All seem Night, to Glories from the LAMB desplay'd:
For, thousand Suns make an Eclipse to Those!
The Diamond there for Pavement growes,
As, on its glitt'ring Stock, and all its Sparkles throwes.
And there, on every Angel--trodden Way
Loose Pearls, instead of Pebbles, play,
Like duskie atoms in the Suns embrightning Ray.
Had I a Quill sent from a Seraphs Wing,
And Skill to tune't! I could not sing
The Moity of that Wealth, wch That All--glorious King
Of Heav'n enstates Those in, who follow Good,
And prize't above their vital Blood!
Heav'n my be gain'd on Earth, but never understood!
As, when the Sun shakes off the Vail of Night,
And scatters on the Dawn his Light,
He soon takes Pris'ner to Himself th'engaged Sight:
So, when I view those indeficient Beams,
O, They in overfulgent Gleams,
Like Diamonds, thaw'd to Air, embubble forth in Streams!
Ev'n Spirits, who have disrob'd their Rags of Clay,
Lay'd up in Ward--robe till that Day,
Orecome, They dazled are by each Imperious Ray!
Sexta repercussi, Pars antepenultima, Ponti,
Imparibus restat perficienda Modis;
Quam (si praestiterit Mentem Deus Optimus) addam
Flammiferos Phoebus cum jugat ortus Equos.
Ex obscuro spectabile Coelum.
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