Francis Turner Palgrave.

The treasury of sacred song : selected from the English lyrical poetry of four centuries, with notes explanatory and biographical online

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Online LibraryFrancis Turner PalgraveThe treasury of sacred song : selected from the English lyrical poetry of four centuries, with notes explanatory and biographical → online text (page 6 of 24)
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To GOD in heaven.'
Thought I, this echo is but vain,

To folly 'tis of kin ;
Anon, I heard it tell me plain,

Twas kill'd by sin.
Then I believed the former voice,

And rested well content ;
Laid down and slept, rose, did rejoice,

And then to Heaven went.

There I enquired for Peace, and found it true :
An heavenly plant it was, and sweetly grew.



WHERE the remote Bermudas ride
In the ocean's bosom unespied,
From a small boat that row'd along
The listening winds received this song :
' What should we do but sing His praise
That led us through the watery maze


Where He the huge sea-monsters wracks,

That lift the deep upon their backs,

Unto an isle so long unknown,

And yet far kinder than our own?

He lands us on a grassy stage,

Safe from the storms, and prelate's rage :

He gave us this eternal Spring

Which here enamels everything,

And sends the fowls to us in care

On daily visits through the air.

He hangs in shades the orange bright

Like golden lamps in a green night,

And does in the pomegranates close

Jewels more rich than Ormus shows :

He makes the figs our mouths to meet,

And throws the melons at our feet;

But apples plants of such a price.

No tree could ever bear them twice.

With cedars chosen by His hand

From Lebanon He stores the land ;

And makes the hollow seas that roar

Proclaim the ambergris on shore.

He cast (of -which we rather boast)

The Gospel's pearl upon our coast ;

And in these rocks for us did frame

A temple where to sound His name.

O let our voice His praise exalt

Till it arrive at Heaven's vault,

Which thence (perhaps) rebounding, may

Echo beyond the Mexique bay ! '

Thus sung they in the English boat

A holy and a cheerful note :

And all the way, to guide their chime,

With falling oars they kept the time.

A. Marvell


WHEN for the thorns with which I long, too long,
With many a piercing wound,
My Saviour's head have crown'd,
I seek with garlands to redress that wrong :

Through every garden, every mead,
I gather flowers (my fruits are only flowers),

Dismantling all the fragrant towers l
fhat once adorn'd my shepherdesse's head :


And now, when I have summ'd up all my store,

Thinking, (so I myself deceive),

So rich a chaplet thence to weave
As never yet the King of Glory wore :

Alas ! I find the Serpent old,

That, twining-in his speckled breast,

About the flowers disguised, does fold

With wreaths of fame and interest.
Ah, foolish man, that would'st debase with them,
And mortal glory, Heaven's diadem !
But Thou Who only could'st the Serpent tame,
Either his slippery knots at once untie,
And disentangle all his winding snare ;
Or shatter too, with him, my curious frame 2 ,
And let these wither so that he may die
Though set with skill, and chosen out with care :
That they, while Thou on both their spoils dost tread,
May crown Thy feet, that could not crown Thy head.

1 towers, garlands to crown a girl 2 frame, his own ingenious poetry


To my most merciful, my most loving, and dearly-loved REDEEMER,
the ever-blessed, the only HOLY and JUST ONE,

The Son of the living God, and the Sacred Virgin Mary.

DEAR LORD, 'tis finish'd ! and now he
That copied it, presents it Thee.
'Twas Thine first, and to Thee returns,
From Thee it shined, though here it burns.
If the sun rise on rocks, is 't right,
To call it their inherent light ?
No, nor can I say, this is mine,
For, dearest JESUS, 'tis all Thine,

As Thy clothes, when Thou with clothes wert clad
Both light from Thee, and virtue had;
And now as then within this place
Thou to poor rags dost still give grace.

My dear Redeemer, the world's light,
And life too, and my heart's delight !
For all Thy mercies and Thy truth,
Shew'd to me in my sinful youth,
For my sad failings and my wild
Murmurings at Thee, when most mild ;


For all my secret faults, and each

Frequent relapse and wilful breach,

For all designs meant against Thee,

And every publish'd vanity

Which Thou divinely hast forgiven,

While Thy blood wash'd me white as Heaven,

I nothing have to give to Thee,

But this Thy own gift, given to me.

Refuse it not ! for now Thy token

Can tell Thee where a heart is broken.

H. Vaitghan

HAPPY those early days, when I
Shined in my Angel-infancy!
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
Or taught my soul to fancy ought
But a white celestial thought ;
When yet I had not walk'd above
A mile or two from my first Love,
And looking back at that short space
Could see a glimpse of His bright face :
When on some gilded cloud, or flower,
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity :
Before I taught my tongue to wound
My Conscience with a sinful sound,
Or had the black art to dispense
A several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.

O how I long to travel back,
And tread again that ancient track !
That I might once more reach that plain
Where first I left my glorious train 1 ;
From whence the enlighten'd spirit sees
That shady City of Palm-trees.
But ah ! my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way !
Some men a forward motion love,
But I by backward steps would move ;
And when this dust falls to the urn,
In that state I came, return.
1 See Note




I CANNOT reach it ; and my striving eye
Dazzles at it, as at eternity.

Were now that Chronicle alive,
Those white 1 designs which children drive 2 ,
And the thoughts of each harmless hour,
With their content, too, in my power,
Quickly would I make my path even,
And by mere playing go to Heaven.

Dear, harmless age ! the short, swift span
Where weeping Virtue parts with man ;
Where love without lust dwells, and bends
What way we please without self-ends.

An age of mysteries ! which he
Must live twice 3 that would God's face see ;
Which angels guard, and with it play;
Angels ! which foul men drive away.

How do I study now, and scan
Thee more than e'er I studied man,
And only see through a long night
Thy edges and Thy bordering light !
O for Thy centre and mid-day !
For sure that is the narrow way. 4

1 white, innocent 2 drive, pursue 3 See S. John ; iii, 3

4 Apparently, O that I knew how to carry childhood through later life



LET me climb

_ When I lie down ! The pious soul by night
Is like a clouded star, whose beams, though said
To shed their light
Under some cloud,
Yet are above,
And shine and move
Beyond that misty shroud.

So in my bed,

That curtain'd grave, though sleep, like ashes, hide
My lamp and life, both shall in Thee abide.




WHEN first thy eyes unveil, give thy soul leave
To do the like ; our bodies but forerun
The spirit's duty. True hearts spread, and heave
Unto their GOD, as flowers do to the sun.

Give Him thy first thoughts then ; so shall thou keep
Him company all day, and in Him sleep.

Yet never sleep the sun up; Prayer should
Dawn with the day. There are set, awful hours
'Twixt Heaven, and us. The manna was not good
After sun-rising; fair '-day sullies flowers.

Rise to prevent the sun ; sleep doth sins glut,

And Heaven's gate opens, when this world's is shut.

Walk with thy fellow-creatures : note the hush
And whispers amongst them. There 's not a spring,
Or leaf but hath his morning-hymn ; Each bush
And oak doth know I AM. Canst thou not sing?
O leave thy cares and follies ! go this way,
And thou art sure to prosper all the day.

To heighten thy devotions, and keep low
All mutinous thoughts, what business e'er thou hast,
Observe GOD in His works ; here fountains flow,
Birds sing, beasts feed, fish leap, and th* earth stands fast ;
Above are restless motions, running lights,
Vast circling azure, giddy clouds, days, nights.

When Seasons change, then lay before thine eyes
His wondrous method ; mark the various scenes
In heaven ; hail, thunder, rain-bows, snow, and ice,
Calms, tempests, light, and darkness, by His means ;

Thou canst not miss His praise ; each tree, herb, flower
Are shadows of His wisdom, and His power.
ifiur, in original text (1650), far


BRIGHT shadows of true Rest ! some shoots of bliss ;
Heaven once a week ;

The next world's gladness prepossest in this ;
A day to seek ;


Eternity 5n time ; the steps by which
We climb above all ages ; Lamps that light
Man through his heap of dark days ; and the rich
And full redemption of the whole week's flight !

The pulleys 2 unto headlong man; Time's bower;

The narrow way ;
Transplanted Paradise ; GOD'S walking hour,

The cool o' th' day :

The Creature's jubilee ; God's parle with dust ;
Heaven here ; Man 3 on those hills of myrrh, and flowers ;
Angels descending ; the returns of trust ;
A gleam of glory, after six-days-showers !

1 Son-days, so spelt here, probably only for Sundays
5 pulleys, ropes to restrain or guide 3 See Note


OTHY bright looks ! Thy glance of love
Shown, and but shown, me from above !
Rare looks ! that can dispense such joy
As without wooing wins the coy,
And makes him mourn, and pine and die,
Like a starved eaglet for Thine eye.
Some kind herbs here, though low and far,
Watch for and know their loving star.
O let no star compare with Thee !
Nor any herb out-duty me !
So shall my nights and mornings be
Thy time to shine, and mine to see.


ETERNAL GOD ! Maker of all
That have lived here since the Man's fall !
The Rock of Ages ! in whose shade
They live unseen, when here they fade ;

Thou knew'st this paper, when it was
Mere seed, and after that, but grass ;
Before 'twas drest or spun ; and when
Made linen, who did wear it then :
What were their lives, their thoughts and deeds,
Whether good corn, or fruitless weeds,
c 2


Thou knew'st this tree, when a green shade
Cover' d it, since a cover 1 made,
And where it flourish'd, grew, and spread,
As if it never should be dead.

Thou knew'st this harmless beast, when he
Did live and feed by Thy decree
On each green thing ; then slept, well-fed
Clothed with this skin, which now lies spread
A covering o'er this aged book,
Which makes me wisely weep, and look
On my own dust ; mere dust it is,
But not so dry and clean as this.
Thou knew'st and saw'st them all, and though
Now scatter'd thus, dost know them so.

O knowing, glorious Spirit ! when
Thou shalt restore trees, beasts and men,
When Thou shalt make all new again,
Destroying only death and pain,
Give him amongst Thy works a place,
Who in them loved and sought Thy face !

1 caver, literal boards


OBOOK ! Life's guide ! how shall we part,
And thou so long seized l of my heart ?
Take this last kiss; and let me weep
True thanks to thee before I sleep.

Thou wert the first put in my hand

When yet I could not understand,

And daily didst my young eyes lead

To letters, till I learnt to read.

But as rash youths, when once grown strong,

Fly from their nurses to the throng,

Where they new consorts choose, and stick

To those till either hurt or sick ;

So with that first light gain'd from thee

Ran I in chase of vanity,

Cried* dross for gold, and never thought

My first cheap book 5 had all I sought

Long reign 'd this vogue ; and thou, cast by,

With meek, dumb looks didst woo mine eye,


And oft left open, would'st convey

A sudden and most searching ray

Into my soul, with whose quick touch

Refining still 3 , I struggled much.

By this mild art of love at length

Thou overcam'st my sinful strength,

And having brought me home, didst there

Shew me that pearl I sought elsewhere,

Gladness, and peace, and hope, and love,

The secret favours of the Dove 4 ;

Her quickening kindness, smiles and kisses,

Exalted pleasures, crowning blisses,

Fruition, union, glory, life,

Thou didst lead to, and still all strife.

Living, thou wert my soul's sure ease,

And dying mak'st me go in peace :

Thy next effects no tongue can tell ;

Farewell, O book of GOD ! farewell !

1 seized, legal term fat possessed of 2 cried, cried up

6 See Note * the Dove, the Holy Spirit



FAIR, solitary path ! whose blessed shades
The old, white prophets planted first and drest ;
Leaving for us whose goodness quickly fades,
A shelter all the way, and bowers to rest;

Who is the man that walks in thee? who loves
Heaven's secret solitude, those fair abodes,

Where turtles build, and careless sparrows move,
Without to-morrow's evils and future loads ?

Who hath the upright heart, the single eye,

The clean, pure hand, which never meddled pitch 1

Who sees invisibles, and doth comply 1

With hidden treasures that make truly rich?

He that doth seek and love

The things above,

Whose spirit ever poor, is meek and low ;
Who simple still and wise,

Still homewards flies,
Quick to advance, and to retreat most slow.


Whose acts, words, and pretence,

Have all one sense,

One aim and end ; who walks not by his sight ;
Whose eyes are both put out,

And goes about
Guided by faith, not by exterior light

Who spills no blood, nor spreads

Thorns in the beds

Of the distrest, hasting their overthrow ;
Making the time they had

Bitter and sad,
Like chronic pains', which surely kill, though slow.

Who knows Earth nothing hath

Worth love or wrath,
But in his Hope and Rock is ever glad :
Who seeks and follows peace,

When with the ease
And health of conscience it is to be had.

Who bears his cross with joy,

And doth employ

His heart and tongue in prayers for his foes;
Who lends, not to be paid,

And gives full aid
Without that bribe which usurers impose.

Who never looks on 3 Man

Fearful and wan,

But firmly trusts in GOD; The great man's measure,
Though high and haughty, must

Be ta'en in dust;
But the good man is GOD'S peculiar treasure.

Who doth thus, and doth not

These good deeds blot

With bad, or with neglect ; and heaps not wrath
By secret filth, nor feeds

Some snake, or weeds,
Cheating himself; That man walks in this path.

1 comply , accord with Misprinted prayers (Grosart)

3 looks on, regards




'Y God and King! to Thee

I bow my knee;

I bow my troubled soul, and greet
With my foul heart Thy holy feet.
Cast it 1 , or tread it! it shall do
Ev'n what Thou wilt, and praise Thee too.

My GOD, could I weep blood,

Gladly I would ;

Or if Thou wilt give me that art,
Which through the eyes pours out the heart,
I will exhaust it all, and make
Myself all tears, a weeping lake.

O ! 'tis an easy thing

To write and sing ;
But to write true, unfeigned verse
Is very hard ! O GOD, disperse
These weights, and give my spirit leave
To act as well as to conceive !

O my GOD, hear my cry ;
Or let me die !

1 cast it, [away]


OGOD ! I know and do confess
My sins are great and still prevail :
Most heinous sins and numberless !
But Thy compassions cannot fail :
If Thy sure mercies can be broken,
Then all is true my foes have spoken.

But while Time runs, and after it

Eternity, which never ends,
Quite through them both, still infinite,
Thy Covenant by CHRIST extends ;
No sins of frailty, nor of youth,
Can foil His merits, and Thy truth.


Wherefore with tears tears by Thee sent

I beg my faith may never fail !
And when in death my speech is spent,
O let that silence then prevail !

O chase in that cold calm my foes,
And hear my heart's last private throes !


T T NFOLD ! unfold ! Take in His light,

\^_J Who makes thy cares more short than night.

The joys which with His day-star rise

He deals to all but drowsy eyes ;

And, what the men of this world miss,

Some drops and dews of future bliss.

Hark ! how the winds have changed their note !
And with warm whispers call thee out;
The frosts are past, the storms are gone,
And backward life at last comes on.
The lofty groves in express joys
Reply unto the turtle's voice ;
And here in dust and dirt, O here
The lilies of His love appear!



SINCE I in storms used most to be,
And seldom yielded flowers,
How shall I get a wreath for Thee
From those rude, barren hours?
The softer dressings of the Spring,

Or Summer's later store,
I will not for Thy temples bring,
Which thorns, not roses, wore.

But a twined wreath of grief and praise,
Praise soil'd with tears, and tears again
Shining with joy, like dewy days,
This day I bring for all Thy pain ;
Thy causeless pain ! and, sad as death,
Which sadness breeds in the most vain,


O not in vain now beg Thy breath,
Thy quickening breath, which gladly bears
Through saddest clouds to that glad place,
Where cloudless quires sing without tears,
Sing Thy just praise, and see Thy face.



O whither didst thou fly!
W When did I grieve Thine holy eye,
When Thou didst mourn to see me lost,
And all Thy care and counsels crost ?
O do not grieve, where'er Thou art !
Thy grief is an undoing smart,
Which doth not only pain, but break
My heart, and makes me blush to speak.
Thy anger I could kiss, and will ;
But- O- Thy grief, Thy grief, doth kill!


F any have an ear '

Saith holy John, ' then let him hear !
He, that into captivity
Leads others, shall a captive be.
Who with the sword doth others kill,
A sword shall his blood likewise spill.
Here is the patience of the saints,
And the true faith, which never faints.'

For in this bright, instructing verse

Thy saints are not the conquerers,

But patient, meek, and overcome

Like Thee, when set at nought and dumb.

Armies Thou hast in Heaven, which fight

And follow Thee, all clothed in white;

But here on Earth though Thou hadst need-

Thou wouldst no legions, but wouldst bleed.

The sword wherewith Thou dost command

Is in Thy mouth, not in Thy hand ;

And all Thy saints do overcome

By Thy blood, and their martyrdom.


But seeing soldiers long ago

Did spit on Thee, and smote Thee too ;

Crown'd Thee with thorns, and bow'd the knee,

But 2 in contempt, as still we see,

I '11 marvel not at aught they do,

Because they used my Saviour so;

Since of my LORD they had their will,

Thy servant must not take it UL

Dear JESUS, give me patience here,
And faith to see my crown as near,
And almost reach'd, because 'tis sure
If I hold fast, and slight the lure.
Give me humility and peace,
Contented thoughts, innoxious ease,
A sweet, revengeless, quiet mind,
And to my greatest haters, kind.
Give me, my GOD ! a heart as mild
And plain, as when I was a child.
That when Thy throne is set, and all
These conquerors before it fall,
I may be found preserved by Thee
Amongst that chosen company,
Who by no blood here overcame,
But the blood of the Blessed Lamb.

1 See Note but, only


MY soul, there is a country
Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry

All skilful in the wars :
There above noise, and danger,

Sweet Peace sits crown'd with smiles,
And One born in a manger

Commands the beauteous files 1 .
He is thy gracious Friend,

And O my soul awake !
Did in pure love descend,

To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,

There grows the flower of Peace,
The Rose that cannot wither,

Thy fortress, and thy ease.


Leave then thy foolish ranges,

For none can thee secure,
But One, Who never changes,

Thy GOD, thy life, thy cure.

1 files, of the heavenly host


AND do they so ? have they a sense
Of aught but influence ?
Can they their heads lift, and expect,
And groan too ? why the Elect

Can do no more ; my volumes said

They were all dull, and dead ;
They judged them senseless, and their state
Wholly inanimate.
Go, go ; Seal up thy looks,
And burn thy books !

Sometimes I sit with Thee, and tarry

An hour or so, then vary.
Thy other creatures in this scene

Thee only aim, and mean ;
Some rise to seek Thee, and with heads

Erect, peep from their beds ;
Others, whose birth 2 is in the tomb,

And cannot quit the womb,

Sigh there, and groan for Thee,
Their liberty.

I would I were a stone, or tree,

Or flower by pedigree,
Or some poor highway herb, or spring

To flow, or bird to sing !
Then should I tied to one sure state

All day expect my date 3 ;
But I am sadly loose, and stray

A giddy blast each way ;

O let me not thus range !
Thou canst not change.

1 See Note 2 others, whose birth, perhaps, gems, or crystals

3 date, end of life



FRESH fields and woods ! the Earth's fair face !
GOD'S footstool ! and man's dwelling-place !
I ask not why the first believer 1
Did love to be a country liver ?
Who to secure pious content
Did pitch by groves and wells his tent ;
Where he might view his boundless sky,
And all those glorious lights on high :
With flying meteors, mists, and showers :
Subjected hills, trees, meads, and flowers :
And every minute bless the King
And wise Creator of each thing.

I ask not why he did remove
To happy Mamre's holy grove,
Leaving the cities of the plain
To Lot and his successless train ?
All various lusts in cities still
Are found ; they are the thrones of ill ;
The dismal sinks, where blood is spill'd,
Cages with much uncleanness fill'd :
But rural shades are the sweet sense 2
Of piety and innocence ;
They are the meek's calm region, where
Angels descend, and rule the sphere ;
Where Heaven lies leiguer 3 , and the Dove
Duly as dew comes from above.
If Eden be on Earth at all,
'Tis that which we the country call.

1 Abraham 2 May probably be fence

3 leiguer, (for lieger), at rest ; or (by confusion with leaguer), encamped



WITH what deep murmurs, through Time's silent stealth.
Dost thy transparent, cool, and watery wealth
Here flowing fall,
And chide 1 and call,
As if his liquid, loose retinue 2 stay'd
Lingering, and were of this steep place afraid ;
The common pass,
As clear as glass,


All must descend

Not to an end,

But quicken'd by this deep and rocky grave,
Rise to a longer course, more bright and brave.

Dear stream ! dear bank ! where often I
Have sate, and pleased my pensive eye ;
Why, since each drop of thy quick store
Runs thither where it flow'd before,
Should poor souls fear a shade or night,
Who came sure from a sea of light ?
Or, since those drops are all sent back
So sure to thee that none doth lack,
Why should frail flesh doubt any more
That what GOD takes He '11 not restore ?

O useful element and clear !
My sacred wash and cleanser here ;
My first consigner 3 unto those
Fountains of life, where the Lamb goes !
What sublime truths and wholesome themes
Lodge in thy mystical, deep streams !
Such as dull man can never find,
Unless that Spirit lead his mind,
Which first upon thy face did move
And hatch'd all with His quickening love.
As this loud brook's incessant fall
In streaming rings restagnates all,
Which reach by course the bank, and then
Are no more seen : just so pass men.
O my invisible estate,
My glorious liberty, still late !
Thou art the channel my soul seeks,
Not this* with cataracts and creeks.

1 chide, make a ringing sound 2 retinue, the waters regarded as the

Stream's troop or following 3 consigner, in Baptism * Not this . . .

I look for the passage into heavenly freedom, not to glide down like the stream


IWALK'D the other day, (to spend my hour),
Into a field,
Where I sometimes had seen the soil to yield

A gallant flower ;
But Winter now had ruffled all the bower

And curious store,
I knew there heretofore.


Yet I, whose search loved not to peep and peer

I' th' face of things,
Thought with myself, there might be other springs

Besides this here,
Which, like cold friends, sees us but once a year;

And so the flower
Might have some other bower.

Then taking up what I could nearest spy,

I digg'd about
That place where I had seen him to grow out;

And by and by
I saw the warm Recluse alone to lie,

Where fresh and green
He lived of us unseen.

Many a question intricate and rare

Did I there strow ' ;
But all I could extort was, that he now

Online LibraryFrancis Turner PalgraveThe treasury of sacred song : selected from the English lyrical poetry of four centuries, with notes explanatory and biographical → online text (page 6 of 24)