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And after, when we fared had amiss,

Us wretches from the second death did save ;

And last, the food of life, which now we have,
Even he himself, in his dear sacrament.
To feed our hungry souls, unto us lent.

Then next, to love our brethren that were made
Of that self mould, and that self Maker's hand.

That! we, and to the same again shall fade.

Where they shall have like heritage of land, the samegrave-
However here on higher steps we stand ; [room.

Which also were with selfsame price redeemed.

That we, however, of us light esteemed. as.

And were they not, yet since that loving Lord

Commanded us to love them for his sake,
Even for his sake, and for his sacred word,

Which in his last bequest he to us spake,

We should them love, and with their needs partake ; share
Knowing that, whatsoe'er to them we give, {their needs.

We give to him by whom we all do live.

Such mercy he by his most holy rede instruction.

Unto us taught, and to approve it true,
Ensampled it by his most righteous deed,

Shewing us mercy, miserable crew !

That we the like should to the wretches^ shew,
And love our brethren ; thereby to approve
How much himself that loved us we love.

Then rouse thyself, O earth ! out of thy soil,

In which thou wallowest like to filthy swine.
And dost thy mind in dirty pleasures moyle, defile.

Unmindful of that dearest Lord of thine ;

Lift up to him thy heavy clouded eyne.
That thou this sovereign bounty mayst behold,
And read through love his mercies manifold.

^ " Of the same mould and hand as we."

* There was no contempt in the use of this word then.



HYMN OF HE A VENL Y LO VE. 69



Begin from first, where he encradled was

In simple cratch, wrapt in a wad of hay, a rack or crib.

Between the toilful ox and humble ass ;

And in what rags, and in what base array

The glory of our heavenly riches lay,
When him the silly ,^ shepherds came to see,
Whom greatest princes sought on lowest knee.

From thence read on the story of his life,

His humble carriage, his unfaulty ways.
His cankered foes, his fights, his toil, his strife.

His pains, his poverty, his sharp assays, temptations or trials.

Through which he passed his miserable days.
Offending none, and doing good to all,
Yet being maliced both by great and small.

And look at last, how of most wretched wights

He taken was, betrayed, and false accused ;
How with most scornful taunts and fell despites

He was reviled, disgraced, and foul abused ;

How scourged, how crowned, how buffeted, how bruised ;
And, lastly, how 'twixt robbers crucified.
With bitter wounds through hands, through feet, and -side I

*******
With sense whereof whilst so thy softened spirit

Is inly touched, and humbled with meek zeal
Through meditation of his endless merit.

Lift up thy mind to th' author of thy weal,

And to his sovereign mercy do appeal ;
Learn him to love that loved thee so dear.
And in thy breast his blessed image bear.

With all thy heart, with all thy soul and mind,

Thou must him love, and his behests embrace ; commands.
All other loves with which the world doth blind

Weak fancies, and stir up affections base.

Thou must renounce and utterly displace,
And give thyself unto him full and free,
That full and freely gave himself to thee.



^ Simple-hearted, therefore blessed j like the German seli^.



7C ENGLAND 'S ANTIPHON.

Thenceforth all world's desire will in thee die,
And all earth's glory, on which men do gaze,

Seem dust and dross in thy pure-sighted eye,
Compared to that celestial beauty's blaze,
Whose glorious beams all fleshly sense do daze

With admiration of their passing light,

Blinding the eyes and lumining the sprite.

Then shalt thy ravished soul inspired be

With heavenly thoughts far above human skill, reason.

And thy bright radiant eyes shall plainly see
The Idea of his pure glory present still
Before thy face, that all thy spirits shall fill

With sweet enragement of celestial love.

Kindled through sight of those fair things above.

There is a companion to the poem of which these
verses are a portion, called An Hymne of Heave?ily
Beautie, filled like this, and like two others on Beauty
and Love, with Platonic forms both of thought and
expression ; but I have preferred quoting a longer
part of the former to giving portions of both. My
reader will recognize in the extract a fuller force of
intellect brought to bear on duty ; although it would
be unwise to take a mind like Spenser's for a type
of more than the highest class of the age. Doubt-
less the division in the country with regard to many
of the Church's doctrines had its part in bringing
out and strengthening this tendency to reasoning
which is so essential to progress. Where religion
itself is not the most important thing with the indi-
vidual, all reasoning upon it must indeed degenerate
into strifes of words, vermiciilate questions, as Lord
Bacon calls them — such, namely, as like the hoarded
manna reveal the character of the owner by breeding



S7/^ WALTER RALEIGH'S PILGRIMAGE. yi

of worms — yet on no questions may the light of the
candle of the Lord, that is, the human understanding,
be cast with greater hope of discovery than on
those of religion, those, namely, that bear upon man's
relation to God and to his fellow. The most partial
illumination of this region, the very cause of whose
mystery is the height and depth of its truth, is of
more awful value to the human being than perfect
knowledge, if such were possible, concerning every-
thing else in the universe; while, in fact, in this
very region, discovery may bring with it a higher
kind of conviction than can accompany the results
of investigation in any other direction. In these
grandest of all thinkings, the great men of this
time showed a grandeur of thought worthy of their
surpassing excellence in other noblest fields of
human labour. They thought greatly because they
aspired greatly.

Sir Walter Raleigh was a personal friend of Ed-
mund Spenser. They were almost of the same age,
the former born in 1552, the latter in the following
year. A writer of magnificent prose, itself full of
religion and poetry both in thought and expression,
he has not distinguished himself greatly in verse.
There is, however, one remarkable poem fit for my
purpose, which I can hardly doubt to be his. It
is called Sir Walter Raleigh's Pilgrimage. The
probability is that it was written just after his
condemnation in 1603 — although many years
passed before his sentence was carried into exe-
cution.



72 ENGLAND 'S ANTIPHON.



Give me my scallop-shell i of Quiet ;
My staff of Faith to walk upon ;
My scrip of Joy, immortal diet ;
My bottle of Salvation ;
My gowm of Glory, hope's true gage ;'
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.
Blood must be my body's balmer, —
No other balm will there be given —
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,
Travelleth towards the land of Heaven ;
Over the silver moimtains,
Where spring the nectar fountains —
There will I kiss
The bowl of Bliss,
And drink mine everlasting fill
Upon every milken hill :
My soul will be a-dry before,
But after, it will thirst no more.
Then by that happy blissful day,
More^ peaceful pilgrims I shall see,
That have cast off their rags of clay,
And walk apparelled fresh like me :
I'll take them first,
To quench their thirst,
And taste of nectar's suckets, sweet things — things

At those clear wells \to suck.

Where sweetness dwells,
Drawn up by saints in crystal buckets.
And when oiir bottles and all we
Are filled with immortality,
Then the blessed paths we'll travel,
Strowed with rubies thick as gravel.
Ceilings of diamonds ! sapphire floors !
High walls of coral, and pearly bowers ! —
From thence to Heaven's bribeless hall,
Where no corrupted voices brawl ;
No conscience molten into gold ;
No forged accuser bought or sold ;

i A shell plentiful on the coast of Palestine, and worn by pilgrims
o show that they had visited that country.



SIR WALTER RALEIGH'S PILGRIMAGE. 73



No cause deferred ; no vain-spent journey ;

For there Christ is the King's Attorney,

Who pleads for all without degrees, irrespective of rank.

And he hath angels, but no fees.

And when the grand twelve million jury

Of our sins, with direful fury,

'Gainst our souls black verdicts give,

Christ pleads his death, and then we live.

Be thou my speaker, taintless Pleader,

Unblotted Lawyer, true Proceeder !

Thou giv'st salvation even for alms, —

Not with a bribed lawyer's palms.

And this is my eternal plea

To him that made heaven, earth, and sea.

That, since my flesh must die so soon.

And want a head to dine next noon, —

Just at the stroke, when my veins start and spread.

Set on my soul an everlasting head :

Then am I ready, like a palmer fit.

To tread those blest paths which before I writ

Of death and judgment, heaven and hell

Who oft doth think, must needs die well.



This poem is a somewhat strange medley, with a
confusion of figure, and a repeated failure in dignity,
which is very far indeed from being worthy of
Raleigh's prose. But it is very remarkable how
wretchedly some men will show, who, doing their
own work well, attempt that for which practice has
not — to use a word of the time — enabled them.
There is real power in the poem, however, and the
confusion is far more indicative of the pleased success
of an unaccustomed hand than of incapacity for
harmonious work. Some of the imagery, especially
the "crystal buckets," will suggest those grotesque
drawings called Emblems^ which were much in use

7



74 ENGLAND 'S ANTIPHON

before and after this period, and, indeed, were only
a putting into visible shape of such metaphors and
similes as some of the most popular poets of the time,
especially Doctor Donne, indulged in ; while the pro-
fusion of earthly riches attributed to the heavenly
paths and the places of repose on the journey, may
well recall Raleigh's own descriptions of South Ame-
rican glories. Englishmen of that era believed in an
earthly Paradise beyond the Atlantic, the wonderful
reports of whose magnificence had no doubt a share
in Hfting the imaginations and hopes of the people
to the height at which they now stood.

There may be an appearance of irreverence in the
way in which he contrasts the bribeless Hall of
Heaven with the proceedings at his own trial, where
he was browbeaten, abused, and, from the very
commencement, treated as a guilty man by Sir
Edward Coke, the king's attorney. He even puns
with the words angels and fees. Burning from a
sense of injustice, however, and with the solemnity of
death before him, he could not be guilty of coftscious
irreverence, at least. But there is another remark I
have to make with regard to the matter, which will
bear upon much of the literature of the time: even
the great writers of that period had such a delight
in words, and such a command over them, that like
their skilful horsemen, who enjoyed making their
steeds show off the fantastic paces they had taught
them, they played with the words as they passed
through their hands, tossing them about as a juggler
might his balls. But even herein the true master of



AN ASPIRATION. 75



speech showed his masterdom : his play must not be
by-play ; it must contribute to the truth of the idea
which was taking form in those words. We shall see
this more plainly when we come to transcribe some
of Sir Philip Sidney's work. There is no irreverence
in it. Nor can I take it as any sign of hardness that
Raleigh should treat the visual image of his own
anticipated death with so much coolness, if the writer
of a little elegy on his execution, when Raleigh was
fourteen years older than at the presumed date of
the foregoing verses, describes him truly when he
says:

I saw in every stander-by
Pale death, life only in thy eye.

The following hymn is also attributed to Raleigh.
If it has less brilliance of fancy, it has none of the
faults of the preceding, and is far more artistic in
construction and finish, notwithstanding a degree of
irregularity.

Rise, oh my soul, with thy desires to heaven ;

And with divinest contemplation use
Thy time, where time's eternity is given ;

And let vain thoughts no more thy thoughts abuse,
But down in darkness let them lie :
So live thy better, let thy worse thoughts die !

And thou, my soul, inspired with holy flame.
View and review, with most regardful eye,
That holy cross, whence thy salvation came,
On which thy Saviour and thy sin did die !
For in that sacred object is much pleasure.
And in that Saviour is my life, my treasure.



76 ENGLAND'S ANTIPHON.

To thee, O Jesus, I direct my eyes ;

To thee my hands, to thee my humble knees,
To thee my heart shall offer sacrifice ;
To thee my thoughts, who my thoughts only sees —
To thee myself, — myself and all I give ;
To thee I die ; to thee I only live !

See what an effect of stately composure quiet
artistic care produces, and how it leaves the ear of
the mind in a satisfied peace !

There are a few fine lines in the poem. The last
two lines of the first stanza are admirable ; the last
two of the second very weak. The last stanza is
good throughout.

But it would be very unfair to judge Sir Walter by
his verse. His prose is infinitely better, and equally
displays the devout tendency of his mind — a tendency
common to all the great men of that age. The worst
I know of him is the selfishly prudent advice he left
behind for his son. No doubt he had his faults, but
we must not judge a man even by what he says in
an over-anxiety for the prosperity of his child.

Another remarkable fact in the history of those
great men is that they were all men of affairs.
Raleigh was a soldier, a sailor, a discoverer, a politi-
cian, as well as an author. His friend Spenser was
first secretary to Lord Grey when he was Governor
of Ireland, and afterwards Sheriff of Cork. He has
written a large treatise on the state of Ireland. But
of all the men of the age no one was more variously
gifted, or exercised those gifts in more differing
directions, than the man who of them all was most in
favour with queen, court, and people — Philip Sidney.



SIJi PHILIP SIDNEY. 77

I could write much to set forth the greatness, culture,
balance, and scope of this wonderful man. Renowned
over Europe for his person, for his dress, for his car-
riage, for his speech, for his skill in arms, for his
horsemanship, for his soldiership, for his statesman-
ship, for his learning, he was beloved for his friend-
ship, his generosity, his steadfastness, his simplicity,
his conscientiousness, his religion. Amongst the
lamentations over his death printed in Spenser's
works, there is one poem by Matthew Roydon, a few
verses of which I shall quote, being no vain eulogy.
Describing his personal appearance, he says :

A sweet, attractive kind of grace,
A full assurance given by looks,
Continual comfort in a face,

The lineaments of Gospel books ! —
I trow, that countenance cannot lie
Whose thoughts are legible in the eye.

Was ever eye did see that face,

Was ever ear did hear that tongue,
Was ever mind did mind his grace
That ever thought the travel long ?
But eyes and ears, and every thought,
Were with his sweet perfections caught.

His Arcadia is a book full of wisdom and beauty.
None of his writings were printed in his lifetime ;
but the Arcadia was for many years after his death
one of the most popular books in the country. His
prose, as prose, is not equal to his friend Raleigh's,
being less condensed and stately. It is too full of
fancy in thought and freak in rhetoric to find now-
a-days more than a very limited number of readers ;

7*



78 ENGLAND'S ANTIPHON.

and a good deal of the verse that is set in it, is
obscure and uninteresting, partly from some false
notions of poetic composition which he and his friend
Spenser entertained when young ; but there is often
an exquisite art in his other poems.

The first I shall transcribe is a sonnet, to which
the Latin words printed below it might be prefixed
as a title : Splendidis longum valedico nugis.

A LONG FAREWELL TO GLITTERING TRIFLES.

Leave me, O love, which reachest but to dust ;

And thou, my mind, aspire to higher things ;
Grow rich in that which never taketh rust :

What ever fades but fading pleasure brings.
Draw in thy beams, and humble all thy might

To that sweet yoke where lasting freedoms be;
Which breaks the clouds, and opens forth the light

That doth both shine and give us sight to see.
Oh take fast hold ; let that light be thy guide,

In this small course which birth draws out to death ;
And think how evil ^ becometh him to slide

Who seeketh heaven, and comes of heavenly breath.
Then farewell, world ; thy uttermost I see :
Eternal love, maintain thy life in me.

Before turning to the treasury of his noblest verse,
I shall give six lines from a poem in the Arcadia —
chiefly for the sake of instancing what great questions
those mighty men delighted in :

What essence destiny hath ; if fortune be or no ;
Whence our immortal souls to mortal earth do stow 2;



^ Evil was pronounced almost as a monosyllable, and was at last
contracted to ///.

'■^ " Come to find a place." The transitive verb stow means to put
in a place : here it is used intransitively.



PSALMS OF SIR PHILIP AND LADY MARY. 79

What life it is, and how that all these lives do gather,

With outward maker's force, or like an inward father.

Such thoughts, me thought, I thought, and strained my single mind,

Then void of nearer cares, the depth of things to find.

Lord Bacon was not the only one, in such an age,
to think upon the mighty relations of physics and
metaphysics, or, as Sidney would say, " of naturall
and supernaturall philosophie." For a man to do
his best, he must be upheld, even in his speculations,
by those around him.

In the specimen just given, we find that our reli-
gious poetry has gone down into the deeps. There
are indications of such a tendency in the older times,
but neither then were the questions so articulate, nor
were the questioners so troubled for an answer. The
alternative expressed in the middle couplet seems to
me the most imperative of all questions — both for the
individual and for the church: Is man fashioned by
the hands of God, as a potter fashioneth his vessel ;
or do we indeed come forth from his heart .!* Is
power or love the making might of the universe.^
He who answers this question aright possesses the
key to all righteous questions.

Sir Philip and his sister Mary, Countess of Pem-
broke, made between them a metrical translation of
the Psalms of David. It cannot be determined which
are hers and which are his ; but if I may conclude
anything from a poem by the sister, to which I shall
by and by refer, I take those I now give for the
brother's work.

The souls of the following psalms have, in the



8o ENGLAND'S ANTIPHON.

version I present, transmigrated into fairer forms than
I have found them occupy elsewhere. Here is a
grand hymn for the whole world : Sing unto tlie
Lord.

PSALM XCVI.

Sing, and let your song be new,

Unto him that never endeth !
Sing all earth, and all in you —
Sing to God, and bless his name.

Of the help, the health he sendeth,
Day by day new ditties frame.

Make each country know his worth :

Of his acts the wondered story
Paint unto each people forth.
For Jehovah great alone.

All the gods, for awe and glory,
Far above doth hold his throne.

For but idols, what are they

Whom besides mad earth adoreth ?
He the skies in frame did lay.
Grace and honour are his guides ;

Majesty his temple storeth ;
Might in guard abojit him bides.

Kindreds come ! Jehovah give —

O give Jehovah all together,
Force and fame whereso you live.
Give his name the glory fit : .

Take your off 'rings, get you thither,
Where he doth enshrined sit.

Go, adore him in the place

Where his pomp is most displayed.
Earth, O go with quaking pace,
Go proclaim Jehovah king :

Stayless world shall now be stayed ;
Righteous doom his rule shall bring.



GOD IS OUR REFUGE. 8i



Starry roof and earthy floor,

Sea, and all thy wideness yieldeth,
Now rejoice, and leap, and roar.
Leafy infants of the wood.

Fields, and all that on you feedeth.
Dance, O dance, at such a good I

For Jehovah cometh, lo !

Lo to reign Jehovah cometh !
Under whom you all shall go.
He the world shall rightly guide —

Truly, as a king becometh,
For the people's weal provide.

Attempting to give an ascending scale of excellence
— I do not mean in subject but in execution — I now
turn to the national hymn, God is our Refuge.

PSALM XLIV.

God gives us strength, and keeps us sound —

A present help when dangers call ;
Then fear not we, let quake the ground,

And into seas let mountains fall ;

Yea so let seas withal
In watery hills arise,

As may the earthly hills appal
With dread and dashing cries.

For lo, a river, streaming joy,

With purling murmur safely slides.
That city washing from annoy.

In holy shrine where God resides.

God in her centre bides :
What can this city shake ?

God early aids and ever guides :
Who can this city take ?

When nations go against her bent,

And kings with siege her walls enround ;

The void of air his voice doth rent.
Earth fails their feet with melting ground.
S.L. IV. Q



82 ENGLAND'S AN TIP HON.

To strength and keep us sound,
The God of armies arms ;

Our rock on Jacob's God we found.
Above the reach of harms.

O come with me, O come, and view

The trophies of Jehovah's hand !
"What wrecks from him our foes pursue !

How clearly he hath purged our land !

By him wars silent stand :
He brake the archer's bow,

Made chariot's wheel a fiery brand.
And spear to shivers go.

Be still, saith he ; know, God am I ;

Know I will be with conquest crowned
Above all nations — raised high.

High raised above this earthly round.

To strength and keep us sound,
The God of armies arms ;

Our rock on Jacob's God we found,
Above the reach of harms.

** The God of armies arms " is a grand line.

Now let us have a hymn of Nature — a far finer, I

think, than either of the preceding : Praise waiteth

for thee.

PSALM LXV.

Sion it is where thou art praised,

Sion, O God, where vows they pay thee :

There all men's prayers to thee raised,
Return possessed of what they pray thee.

There thou my sins, prevailing to my shame,

Dost turn to smoke of sacrificing flame.

Oh ! he of bliss is not deceived, disappointed.

Whom chosen thou unto thee takest ;
And whom into thy court received,

Thou of thy checkrole ^ number makest :

1 The list of servants then kept in large houses, the number of such
being far greater than it is now.



PRAISE WAITETH FOR THEE. 83



The dainty viands of thy sacred store
Shall feed him so he shall not hunger more.

From thence it is thy threat'ning thunder—

Lest we by wrong should be disgraced —
Doth strike our foes with fear and wonder,

O thou on whom their hopes are placed,
Whom either earth doth stedfastly sustain,
Or cradle rocks the restless wavy plain.

Thy virtue stays the mighty mountains, power.

Girded with power, with strength abounding.
The roaring dam of watery fountains the " dam of fountains "

Thy beck doth make surcease her sounding. \is the ocean.

When stormy uproars toss the people's brain,

That civil sea to calm thou bring'st again. politkal, as opposed to

[natural.
Where earth doth end with endless ending.

All such as dwell, thy signs affright them ;
And in thy praise their voices spending,

Both houses of the sun delight them —
Both whence he comes, when early he awakes,
And where he goes, when evening rest he takes.
Thy eye from heaven this land beholdeth.

Such fruitful dews down on it raining,
That storehouse -hke her lap enfoldeth

Assured hope of ploughman's gaining :
Thy flowing streams her drought doth temper so,
That buried seed through yielding grave doth grow.

Dnmk is each ridge of thy cup drinking ;

Each clod relenteth at thy dressing ; groweth soft.

Thy cloud-borne waters inly sinking,

Fair spring sprouts forth, blest with thy blessing.
The fertile year is with thy bounty crowned ;
And where thou go'st, thy goings fat the ground.

Plenty bedews the desert places ;

A hedge of mirth the hills encloseth ;
The fields with flocks have hid their faces ;

A robe of com the valleys clotheth.
Deserts, and hills, and fields, and valleys all.
Rejoice, shout, sing, and on thy name do calL

G 2



84 ENGLAND'S ANTIPHON.



The first stanza seems to me very fine, especially


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Online LibraryGeorge MacDonaldEngland's antiphon → online text (page 5 of 19)