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I asked the heavens, sun, moon, and stars, but they
The God thou seek'st."-I asked, what eye or ear
What in the world I might descry or know,
With an unanimous voice all these things said,
I asked the world's great universal mass,
Which, with a mighty and strong voice, replied,
"I am not He, O man! for know that I
By Him on high,
Was fashioned first of nothing, thus instated
And swayed by Him, by whom I was created."
I sought the court; but smooth-tongued flattery there Deceived each ear;
In the thronged city there was selling, buying,
Swearing and lying;
I' the country, craft in simpleness arrayed :
And then I said,
"Vain is my search, although my pains be great, Where my God is, there can be no deceit."
A scrutiny within myself I then,
Even thus began:
"O man, what art thou ?"-What more could I say
Than, Dust and clay?
Frail, mortal, fading, a mere puff, a blast,
That cannot last;
Enthroned to-day, to-morrow in an urn;
Formed from that earth to which I must return.
I asked myself what this great God might be
I answered-The all-potent, solely immense,
Unspeakable, inscrutable, eternal
Lord over all.
The only terrible, strong, just, and true,
He is the well of life, for He doth give
Both breath and being; He is the Creator
Earth, air, and fire. Of all things that subsist
Of all the heavenly host, or what earth claims,
And now, my God, by thine illuming grace,
Thy glorious face,
(So far forth as it may discovered be,)
Methinks I see ;
And, though invisible and infinite,
To human sight,
Thou in thy mercy, justice, truth, appearest;
Oh! make us apt to seek, and quick to find,
Thou God most kind!
Give us love, hope, and faith, in Thee to trust,
Remit all our offences we entreat,
Most Good, most Great!
Grant that our willing, though unworthy quest, May through thy grace admit us 'mongst the blest.
Was born in London, but the year of his birth is uncertain. He was educated at the Charter House, and at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, and was afterwards, in 1637, fellow of Peter House, but was ejected during the rebellion for denying the covenant, and soon afterwards was converted, or as Pope says, "outwitted," to the Roman Catholic faith. He went to Paris in search of preferment; but his distresses and poverty became very great, till the benevolence of Cowley relieved him. He then went to Italy, became secretary to a cardinal, obtained a canonry in the church of Loretto, and died in 1650. He wrote "Epigramata Sacra;" "Steps to the Temple;" "The Delights of the Muses;" "Carmen Deo Nostro," &c. The last edition of his works was published in London in 1785.
The Poems of Crashaw display delicate fancy, great tenderness, and singular beauty of diction. Coleridge considered his verses "On a Prayer-Book," one of the greatest poems in the language. Pope declares his version of the "Dies Ira," the best of his compositions.
DIES IRE, DIES ILLA.
IN MEDITATION OF THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.
HEAR'ST thou, my soul, what serious things
Of a sure Judge, from whose sharp ray
O that fire! before whose face,
O that trump! whose blast shall run
Horror of nature, hell and death!
O that book! whose leaves so bright,
Ah! thou poor soul, what wilt thou say?
But thou givest leave, dread Lord, that we
Dear Lord, remember in that day
Who was the cause Thou camest this way:
Thy sheep was strayed, and Thou wouldst be Even lost Thyself in seeking me.
Shall all that labor, all that cost
Of love, and even that loss, be lost?
And this loved soul, judged worth no less
Than all that way and weariness?
Just mercy, then, thy reckoning bo
With my price, and not with me;
Mercy, my Judge, mercy I cry,
With blushing cheek, and bleeding eye:
Are red without, and pale within.
Oh! let thine own soft bowels pay
Those mercies which thy Mary found,
Though both my prayers and tears combine,
Oh! when thy last frown shall proclaim
When the dread "Ite" shall divide
Oh! hear a suppliant heart, all crushed
And crumbled into contrite dust;
My hope! my fear! my Judge! my friend!
CHORUS OF THE SHEPHERDS OF BETHLEHEM.
WELCOME! all wonders in one sight,
Eternity shut in a span ;
Summer in winter, day in night,
Heaven in Earth, and God in Man.