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Welcome! though not to gold nor silk,
To more than Cæsar's birthright is;
Two sister-seas of virgin-milk,
With many a rarely tempered kiss,
That breathes at once both maid and mother,
Warms in the one, cools in the other.
She sings thy tears asleep, and dips
Her kisses in thy weeping eye;
She spreads the red leaves of thy lips,
That in their buds yet blushing lie;
She 'gainst those mother-diamonds tries
The points of her young eagle eyes.
Welcome! though not to these gay flies,
Gilded i'th' beams of earthly kings;
Slippery souls in smiling eyes,
But to poor shepherds' homespun things;
Whose wealth's their flock, whose wit to be
Well read in their simplicity.
Yet when young April's husband-showers
Shall bless the fruitful Maia's bed,
We'll bring the firstfruits of her flowers,
To kiss thy feet, and crown thy head :
To Thee, dread Lamb! whose love must keep
The shepherds more than they their sheep.
To Thee, meek Majesty! soft King
Of simple graces, and sweet loves,
Each of us his lamb will bring,
Each his pair of silver doves ;
Till burnt at last in fire of thy fair eyes,
Ourselves become our own best sacrifice.
Oh! that it were as it was wont to be,
When thy old friends of fire, all full of Thee, Fought against frowns with smiles! gave glorious chase
To persecutions, and against the face
Of death and fiercest dangers durst, with brave
And sober pace, march on to meet a grave.
On their bold breasts about the world they bore Thee,
And to the teeth of hell stood up to teach Thee;
In centre of their inmost souls they wore Thee,
Where racks and torments strived in vain to reach Thee. Each wound of theirs was thy new morning,
And reinthroned Thee in thy rosy nest,
With blush of thine own blood thy day adorning :
It was the wit of love o'erflowed the bounds
Of wrath, and made the way through all these wounds.
Welcome, dear, all-adored name!
For sure there is no knee
That knows not Thee;
Or, if there be such sons of shame,
Alas! what will they do,
When stubborn rocks shall bow,
And hills hang down their heaven-saluting heads,
To seek for humble beds
Of dust, where, in the bashful shades of night,
Next to their own low nothing they may lie,
And couch before the dazzling light of thy dread Majesty ?
They that by love's mild dictate now
Will not adore Thee,
Shall then with just confusion bow,
And break before Thee.
ON A PRAYER-BOOK SENT TO MRS. R.
Lo! here a little volume, but great book,
(Fear it not, sweet,
It is no hypocrite,
Much larger in itself than in its look.
It is in one rich handful heaven and all-
Heaven's royal hosts encamped thus small ;
To prove that true, schools used to tell,
A thousand angels in one point can dwell.
It is love's great artillery,
Which here contracts itself, and comes to lie
Close couched in your white bosom, and from thence,
As from a snowy fortress of defence,
Against the ghostly foe to take your part,
And fortify the hold of your chaste heart.
It is the armory of light ;
Let constant use but keep it bright,
You'll find it yields
To holy hands and humble hearts
More swords and shields
Than sin hath snares or hell hath darts.
Only be sure
The hands be pure
That hold these weapons, and the eyes
Those of turtles, chaste and true,
Wakeful and wise,
Here is a friend shall fight for you.
Hold but this book before your heart,
Set prayer alone to play his part.
But oh! the heart
That studies this high art
Must be a sure housekeeper,
And yet no sleeper.
Dear soul, be strong,
Mercy will come ere long,
And bring her bosom full of blessings-
lowers of never-fading graces, To make immortal dressings,
For worthy souls whose wise embraces Store
themselves for Him who is alone The spouse of virgins, and the virgin's Son.
But if the noble Bridegroom, when he come,
Shall find the wandering heart from home,
Leaving her chaste abode
To gad abroad
Amongst the gay mates of the god of flies ;'
To take her pleasure and to play,
And keep the devil's holiday;
To dance in the sunshine of some smiling
Sphere of sweet and sugared lies;
Some slippery pair
Of false, perhaps as fair,
Flattering, but forswearing eyes ;-
Doubtless some other heart
Will get the start,
And, slipping in before,
Will take possession of the sacred store
Or hidden sweets and holy joys-
Words which are not heard with ears, (These tumultuous shops of noise,)
Effectual whispers, whose still voice The soul itself more feels than hears ;
Amorous languishments, luminous trances, Sights which are not seen with eyes,
Spiritual and soul-piercing glances,
Whose pure and subtle lightning flies
Home to the heart, and sets the house on fire,
And melts it down in sweet desire.
Yet doth not stay
To ask the window's leave to pass that way;
Delicious death, soft exhalations
Of soul, dear and divine annihilations ;
A thousand unknown rites
Of joys and rarefied delights ;
And many a mystic thing,
Which the divine embraces
Of the dear Spouse of spirits with them will bring;
For which it is no shame
That dull morality must not know a name.
Of all this hidden store
Of blessings, and ten thousand more,
If when He come,
He find the heart from home,
Doubtless he will unload
Himself some other where;
His precious sweets
On the fair soul whom first he meets.
O fair! O fortunate! O rich ! O dear!
O! happy and thrice happy she,
Dear silver-breasted dove,
Whoe'er she be,
Whose early love
With winged vows
Makes haste to meet her morning spouse,
And close with his immortal kisses !
Happy soul ! who never misses
To improve that precious hour ;
And every day
Seize her sweet prey,
All fresh and fragrant as he rises,
Dropping with a balmy shower,
A delicious dew of spices.
Oh ! let that happy soul hold fast
Her heavenly armful : she shall taste
At once ten thousand paradises :
She shall have power
To rifle and deflower
The rich and roseal spring of those rare sweets,
Which with a swelling bosom there she meets,
Boundless and infinite, bottomless treasures
Of pure inebriating pleasures.
Happy soul ! she shall discover
What joy, what bliss,
How many heavens at once it is To have a God become her lover.