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Thus with glad sorrow did she sweetly plain her,
Upon his neck, a welcome load, depending;
Herself her champions highly all commending.
There sweet delights, which know nor end nor measure;
No chance is there, nor dating times succeeding;
Pleasure full-grown yet ever freshly breeding :
There are they gone; there will they ever bide;
Swimming in waves of joy, and heavenly loving:
Their hearts in love, like spheres, still constant moving.
And as in state they thus in triumph ride,
The boys and damsels their just praises chant :
While all the hills glad hymens loudly vaunt ;
Upon his lightning brow Love proudly sitting,
Flames out in power, shines out in majesty;
Displays the marks of highest Deity :
Upon her forehead, thousand cheerful graces
Seated on thrones of spotless ivory;
His bow unbent, disclaims all tyranny:
Upon her cheek doth beauty's self implant
The freshest garden of her choicest flowers;
Her eyes would swell and burst and melt in showers:
Full of his father shines his glorious face,
As far the sun surpassing in his light,
Sweet influence streaming from his quickening sight;
All heaven shines forth in her sweet face's frame;
Her seeing stars (which we miscall bright eyes,)
More fruitful than the May-time geminies ;
These two fair suns in heavenly spheres are placed,
Where, in the centre, joy triumphing sits ;
Her mid-day bliss no future night admits;
His locks, like raven's plumes, or shining jet,
Fall down in curls along his ivory neck;
And with love-knots their comely hangings deck.
Her amber hair like to the sunny ray,
With gold enamels fair the silver white;
Firing their darts in that wide flaming light:
His breast a rock of purest alabaster,
Where Love's self sailing, shipwrecked often sitteth; Hers a twin-rock, unknown but to th’ ship-master,
Which harbours him alone, all other splitteth. Where better could her love than here have rested ? Or he his thoughts than here more sweetly feasted ? Than both their love and thoughts in each are ever rested.
Run, now, you shepherd swains, ah! run you thither,
Where this fair bridegroom leads the blessed way; And haste you lovely maids, haste you together,
With this sweet bride, while yet the sun shine day Guides your blind steps; while yet loud summons call, That every wood and hill resounds withal : “Come, Hymen, Hymen, come, drest in thy golden pall.”
The sounding echo back the music flung,
While heavenly spheres unto the voices played :
And sporting bathes with that fair ocean maid. Stoop now thy wing, my muse, now stoop thee low; Hence may’st thou then freely play, and rest thee now; While here I hang my pipe upon the willow-bough.
Was born in London, but the year of his birth is uncertain ; he was educated at the Charter-House, and took his degree at Cambridge, where he published his sacred poem of Steps to the Temple. He obtained a fellowship, but he was ejected from it for refusing to subscribe the Covenant. Soon after he went abroad, and conformed to the Roman Catholic faith. He died in Italy about 1650.
The Poems of Crashaw are less known than they ought to be; they display delicate fancy, great tenderness, and singular beauty of diction. They have been highly recommended by the best critics; Coleridge considered his verses, On a Prayer-Book, as one of the greatest poems in the language.
HEAR'st thou, my soul, what serious things
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
Shall all that labour, all that cost
Just mercy, then, thy reckoning be
Mercy, my Judge, mercy I cry,
Oh! let thine own soft bowels pay