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Where all his counsellors he doth exceed,
As far in judgment, as he doth in state.
Or as the man whom princes do advance,
Upon their gracious mercy-seat to sit, Doth common things, of course and circumstance,
To the reports of common men commit:
But when the cause itself must be decreed,
Himself in person, in his proper court,
Of ev'ry proof, and ev'ry by-report.
Then, like God's angel, he pronounceth right,
And milk and honey from his tongue doth flow : Happy are they that still are in his sight,
To reap the wisdom which his lips do sow.
Right so the soul, which is a lady free,
And doth the justice of her state maintain : Because the senses ready servants be,
Attending nigh about her court, the brain :
By them the forms of outward things she learns,
For they return into the fantasie, Whatever each of them abroad discerns ;
And there enroll it for the mind to see.
But when she sits to judge the good and ill,
And to discern betwixt the false and true, She is not guided by the senses' skill,
But doth each thing in her own mirror view.
Then she the senses checks, which oft do err,
And e'en against their false reports decrees; And oft she doth condemn what they prefer;
For with a pow'r above the sense she sees.
Therefore no sense the precious joys conceives,
Which in her private contemplations be; For then the ravish'd spirit th’ senses leaves,
Hath her own pow'rs, and proper actions free.
Her harmonies are sweet, and full of skill,
When on the body's instruments she plays ; But the proportions of the wit and will,
Those sweet accords are even th' angels' lays.
These tunes of reason are Amphion's lyre,
Wherewith he did the Theban city found : These are the notes wherewith the heavenly choir The praise of him which made the Heav'n doth
Then her self-being nature shines in this,
That she performs her noblest works alone : « The work, the touch-stone of the nature is;
And by their operations things are known.”
TIAT THE SOUL IS MORE THAN A PERFECTION, OR
REFLECTION OF THE SENSE.
ARE they not senseless then, that think the soul
Nought but a fine perfection of the sense, Or of the forms which fancy doth enroll;
A quick resulting, and a consequence ?
What is it then that doth the sense accuse,
Both of false judgment, and fond appetites? What makes us do what sense doth most refuse,
Which oft in torment of the sense delights ?
Sense thinks the planets' spheres not much asunder:
What tells us then the distance is so far? Sense thinks the lightning born before the thunder:
What tells us then they both together are ?
When men seem crows far off upon a tow'r,
them men ? When we in agues think all sweet things sour, What makes us know our tongue's false judgment
What pow'r was that, whereby Medea saw,
And well approv'd, and prais’d the better course ; When her rebellious sense did so withdraw
Her feeble pow'rs, that she pursued the worse?
Did sense persuade Ulysses not to hear
The mermaid's songs which so his men did please, That they were all persuaded, through the ear,
To quit the ship and leap into the seas?
Could any pow'r of sense the Roman move,
To burn his own right hand with courage stout? Could sense make Marius sit unbound, and prove
The cruel lancing of the knotty gout?
Doubtless, in man there is a nature found,
Beside the senses, and above them far; “ Though most men being in sensual pleasures
If we had nought but sense, then only they
And folly most in quickest sense is found.
If we had nought but sense, each living wight, Which we call brute, would be more sharp than
we; As having sense's apprehensive might
In a more clear and excellent degree.
But they do want that quick discoursing pow'r,
Which doth in us the erring sense correct; Therefore the bee did suck the painted flow'r,
And birds, of grapes, the cunning shadow peck’d. Sense outsides knows, the soul through all things
Sense, circumstance; she doth the substance view: Sense sees the bark; but she the life of trees :
Sense hears the sounds; but she the concords true.
But why do I the soul and sense divide,
When sense is but a pow'r, which she extends ; Which being in divers parts diversify'd,
The divers forms of objects apprehends ?
This power spreads outward, but the root doth grow
In th' inward soul, which only doth perceive ; For th' eyes and ears no more their objects know,
Than glasses know what faces they receive.
For if we chance to fix our thoughts elsewhere,
Though our eyes open be, we cannot see :
Our sights and sounds would always double be,
Then is a soul a nature, which contains
The pow'r of sense within a greater pow'r;
But sits and rules within her private bow'r.