James Chamberlayne Poems >>
Manductio And Coelum. Part I

I.

  Joy, when it once doth so excessive grow,
 That it all Bounds of Reason doth or'e-flow,
 Draws ever after't, as we daily find,
 A total Dissolution of the Mind.
 We then must have a prudent care of that,
 And likewise must our Joys so moderate,
 That if need be from Mirth, to Grief we may
 Dispose our selves, act readily each way.

 Our blessed Saviour, who must sure be thought
 The ablest Arbiter of things, says not
 Those are the Blest that laugh, and frollick here,
 But they that Mourn the truly Blessed are.
 It were indeed a strange indecency
 For one that doth profess himself to be
 Pursuant of the great Eternity,
 Among so many perils that are found
 Daily the All of Man to Circle round,
 So many just occasions as there are
 Of sadness, to be always Gigling here,
 Making of antick mouths, and like a Boy
 Laughing to transport for each trifling Toy.

 This Worlds sugacious Pleasures, and the Joys
 Of which we talk, and make so great a Noise,
 Are frequently observ'd to be the Fate,
 And Prodromus of a most anxious state
 There neither true nor solid Joy can be,
 But in a Conscience just, serene and free,
 He that doth cherish, and take care o'th' one,
 Shall find the other his Companion,
 For in his Breast it grows, there takes delight,
 And baffles all the efforts of base despight.
 All other Joy, but what proceeds from this,
 Wants substance, and but light and trivial is;
 And there are those that Laugh, who in that while
 Of their false Mirth, have little cause to smile.

 True Joy a serious matter is, and there
 Must be a Conscience from Pollutions clear,
 Intentions honest, Actions most upright,
 A great contempt of this vain Worlds delight,
 And the continu'd Series of a fair
 Unspotted Life, for to maintain it here.

 There never can be perfect Joy without
 Impartial Justice, Temp'rance, and a stout
 Undaunted Courage, that is resolute.
 This Virtue's Method is, at first to weep,
 And ever after Halcyon days to keep.


II.

 Sadness, the black'st of Passions, is defin'd
 To be a perturbation of the Mind,
 Which from some present Evil takes its rise,
 That either real, or conceived is.

 This fetters all our Senses, pulleth down
 Heav'ns Image, Reason, from her rightful Throne,
 And in her room, by Fancies pow'rful Charm,
 Sets up a feigned Ill to work our Harm.
 By which we oft-times to our selves create,
 And find more trouble in the fond Coneit
 Of Things, than in the Things themselves can er'e
 Be found, if strictly they examin'd were.

 Wherefore be not too sedulous to know,
 And prie into the state of things below,
 How with our selves, or others, matters stand
 Concerning Servants, Moneys, Business, Lands;
 But rather take into regard th'esteem,
 And real judgement which we have of them.

 'Tis not within the Pow'r of any Wight,
 Of greatest Wit or Courage, clearest sight,
 By one, or all together, that can free
 Himself from Force, Disgrace, or Robbery.
 But this is in his Pow'r to undertake,
 An upright judgment of these things to make,
 And to content himself that they are not
 Entirely Evil, as by him they're thought,
 But often-times (if he but wisely knows
 To manage them) prove advantageous.

 He that is under present Trouble brought,
 Though ne're so great, let him but bend his thought
 To a good guarded Conscience, which a sure
 And lasting Comfort is, and there's his Cure.
 To a good Man nothing can come amiss,
 Not that he feels not what sad Mis'ry is,
 But he doth master't, and considers all
 Bitter Afflictions that do him befall,
 Only as matter for his Patience to
 Be busi'd on, lest it should idle grow;
 Or as the Instrument, and means of Grace,
 And that which opens him a way to pass
 Into Eternal Glory, where the Blest
 No Sorrows know, but undisturbed rest.
 A good man may be thought unhappy, though,
 If rightly judg'd, he never can be so.


III.

 It doth extreamly much abate the keen
 Edge of Misfortune, when it is foreseen;
 And to our selves to state the matter thus,
 Whatever may be, shall fall out to us;
 For he that's thus prepar'd can never be
 Plung'd in surprizes of a Miserie.

 All kind of Disappointments heavy fall
 Upon those Men whose thoughts, and actions all
 Are fixt upon Prosperity, as that
 Which they account to be the happiest state.
 What if a man should lose the half, or all
 Of his Estate? What if his House should fall?
 His Corn be blasted? and his Friends should leave
 Him, when his needs doth their assistance crave?
 What if his Credit should endanger'd be?
 (Than which no greater Evil he can see)
 His Office ta'ne away? his honour'd Gown
 Turn'd or'e his Ears, for Crimes to him unknown?
 And to all this let's add tormenting Pain,
 Bondage, from which he ne're can freedom gain,
 Till welcome Death knocks off th'uneasie Chain.
 A frightful Ruin, laying all things waste,
 And Fire devouring with dispatchful haste
 All this to no more comes, than what each wise
 And prudent Man's prepar'd for, and foresees.

 There is no worldly Misery that is known,
 Which he beforehand has not thought upon,
 And made as easie to be born by him,
 By long considering on't from time to time,
 As others by long sust'rance make't, to whom
 A second Nature 'tis almost become.

 That which to any Man may come to pass,
 May be (for ought we know) each Persons Case.
 Where's the Rich Man that can himself secure
 From pinching Hunger, or from being Poor?
 Where's the great Man that wholly is exempt
 From foul Disgrace, or Scorners base Contempt?
 Where is the Kingdom (altho' ne're so great,
 So rich and Pop'lous) or the Nation that
 May not be overturn'd, and have not one
 Soul left therein, its most sad Fate to moan?
 Have we not liv'd to see, with our own Eyes,
 A Great, and Glorious Prince, Religious, Wise,
 Whose Equal never any Kingdom had,
 Brought to the Fatal Block, there lose his head,
 By his own Subjects impious command,
 And this perform'd by th'common Hang-man's hand?
 A Villany beyond Example great!
 And such as of the like no Book doth treat.

 Yet these prodigeous Changes mention'd here,
 Not Works of long and tedious Ages are,
 There but a Moment's difference doth lye
 'Twixt flowing Plenty, and starv'd Beggery,
 The glorious costly-Court, and the most mean,
 Cold-ragged Cottage of the poorest Man;
 A lofty Throne, adorn'd with Gems of price,
 And a rais'd Scaffold where the Pris'ner dyes.

 This is the strangely variable state
 Of Humane things, so very fickle, that
 What was to day another Persons Lot,
 May be to Morrow mine, as well as not;
 No Man endures ill Fortune with less harm,
 Than he that always doth expect its Storm.


IV.

 Virtue has in Prosperity but small,
 Or no occasion to appear at all.
 But in that dismal Melancholy Hour
 Of sad Adversity, her Conqu'ring Pow'r
 Is in our Patience manifested so,
 That to her strength the stoutest Troubles bow.

 We are become a Spectacle (saith Paul)
 To God, and Angels, Men in general.
 And 'tis a sight in which God takes delight,
 To see a brave Man with ill Fortune fight;
 With head-strong Passions, and all Casualties,
 (Those his confounding stubborn Enemies)
 And in great Triumph leading, as he goes,
 All his Domestick and his Forreign Foes.
 A Pilot's skill is not discern'd at all
 In Governing a Ship, when under Sail
 In a smooth quiet Sea, and gentle Gale.
 And He that is not try'd, hath this mischance
 To live in an unfruitful Ignorance.

 And yet when try'd how apt are most of us
 Unwisely to complain, and cry out thus-
 Most miserable Men, that ever we
 Should have endur'd so great Calamity!
 When as most happy Men (say I) we are,
 That by this means have gain'd this profit here,
 That with great Honour, and brave Constancy,
 We have bore up our selves in Misery;
 Where others would perchance have shrunk, or fell
 Under the Burthen, which we manag'd well.

 We therefore are not to give up, and yield
 Our selves, but stoutly must maintain the Field,
 In Crosses and Disasters, and there stand
 Firm to encounter all their dreadful Band.
 For 'tis but bravely standing to their Front,
 And breaking of their first and furious Brunt,
 And we shall find the rest to be no more
 But Fancy and Opinion, of no Pow'r.

 The Works of Nature in all Persons are
 Found to be all alike, no Blame's in Her.
 But for Discredit, Contumely, low
 Despised Poverty, and what else we know
 Are Evils call'd by the ignoble Rout,
 Who seldom have a right well guided thought,
 Some there are known who do endure them all
 With a submissive Patience, and they fall
 On others who no reck'ning of them make,
 Nor notice of them in the least do take.
 So that 'tis not the force (as some Men own)
 Of any Natural Impression
 That we do labour under, but 'tis hence,
 From a perverse Opinion's Influence.

 Why then should Man so horridly belie
 Himself, and call that a Calamity,
 A Burthen insupportable, which he
 May order so, that it shall easie be?
 Let him but his Opinion change of it,
 And then 'twill easie on his Shoulders sit.
 Each Man is just as miserable as
 Upon himself he doth a judgment pass;
 And let him still complain of what he will,
 Yet there is no Affliction half so ill
 As his impatience, this is of the two
 The greater Mischief, and most harm will do.


V.

 Is there a Sickness, or a Pain so great,
 So very stubborn, and so obstinate,
 That in some measure Time will not allay,
 Or take it from us utterly away?
 If so, the Question is, Whether 'tis fit
 That we our selves should put an end to it;
 Or whether we with Patience should attend
 Till it without us cometh to an end?
 For Time, to whom all Earthly things must bow,
 Will most assuredly at last that do;
 Which common Prudence at the present might
 Better perform, would it assert it's right.

 Nay, had we ne're so prone, so great a Will,
 To entertain and cherish in us still
 Bewitching Melancholy, 'twould depart
 At length, in spight of all our Pow'r and Art.
 'Tis true, that Grief when it is fresh i'th' mind,
 May Tenderness, and much Compassion find;
 But when it waxeth old, it apish grows,
 Than which there's nothing that's more odious.

 If an unhappy Wretch advantag'd were
 By sobbing and lamenting, he should ne're
 By me be hinder'd, but have my consent
 That's Days and Nights in Sighs and Groans be spent,
 In all the Outrages that er'e was known
 By a dejected Creature to be done;
 But if our Howling and our Crying be
 Of no advantage in our Miserie,
 Let's to victorious Resolutions fly,
 And fight our troubles till they vanguish'd lye.
 That Pilot merits to be thrown o're-Bord
 That in a Storm will not his skill afford,
 But quits the Helm, and sets the Ship adrift,
 In that great danger for her self to shift.
 But he that stands with a Courageous heart,
 Firm to his Tackle, and with all his Art
 Bears briskly up against the Storm, though He
 Should with the Vessel over-whelmed be,
 Yet dies with Honour and the Comfort too
 Of having done what he was bound to do.