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of the phenomenon, to spend any time in elucidating
this. Once more a map, he is that of the two hemi-
spheres, in which the east of the one touches the
west of the other. Could anything be much more
unmusical than the line, " In all flat maps (and I
am one) are one".-* But the next stanza is worse.

Is the Pacific sea my home ? Or are
The eastern riches ? Is Jerusalem ?

Anvan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar ?

All straits, and none but straits are ways to them,
Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Sem.

The meaning of the stanza is this : there is no


earthly home : all these places are only straits that
lead home, just as they themselves cannot be reached
but through straits.

Let my reader now forget all but the first stanza,
and take it along with the following, the last two :

We think that Paradise and Calvary,

Christ's cross and Adam's tree, stood in one place :

Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me ;
As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.

So, in his purple wrapped, receive me, Lord ;
By these his thorns give me his other crown ;

And as to others' souls I preached thy word.
Be this my text, my sermon to mine own :
Therefore^ that he may raise, the Lord throws down.

Surely these are very fine, especially the middle
verse of the former and the first verse of the latter
stanza. The three stanzas together make us lovingly
regret that Dr. Donne should have ridden his Pegasus
over quarry and housetop, instead of teaching him
his paces.

The next I quote is artistic throughout. Perhaps
the fact, of which we are informed by Izaak Walton,
" that he caused it to be set to a grave and solemn
tune, and to be often sung to the organ by the
choristers of St. Paul's church in his own hearing,
especially at the evening service," may have some-
thing to do with its degree of perfection. There is
no sign of his usual haste about it. It is even ela-
borately rhymed after Norman fashion, the rhymes
in each stanza being consonant with the rhymes in
every stanza.



Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,

Which was my sin, though it were done before ? 1
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I nin,^
And do run still, though still I do deplore? —
When thou hast done, thou hast not done ;
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won

Others to sin, and made my sins their door?»
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score ? —
When thou hast done, thou hast not done ;
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I've spun

My last thread, I shall perish on the shore ;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine, as he shines now and heretofore ;
And having done that, thou hast done :
I fear no more.

In those days even a pun might be a serious thing :
witness the play in the last stanza on the words son
and sun — not a mere pun, for the Son of the Father
is the Sun of Righteousness : he is Life aitd Light.

What the Doctor himself says concerning the
hymn, appears to me not only interesting but of
practical value. He '' did occasionally say to a friend,
' The words of this hymn have restored to me the
same thoughts of joy that possessed my soul in my
sickness, when I composed it.'" What a help it

1 The guilt of Adam's first sin, supposed by the theologians of Dt
Donne's time to be imputed to Adam's descendants.

2 The past tense : ran.

' Their door to enter into sin — by his example.


would be to many, if in their more gloomy times
they would but recall the visions of truth they had,
and were assured of, in better moments !

Here is a somewhat strange hymn, which yet
possesses, rightly understood, a real grandeur ;


At the Author's last going into Germany,^

In what torn ship soever I embark,
That ship shall be my emblem of thy ark ;
What sea soever swallow me, that flood
Shall be to me an emblem of thy blood.
Though thou with clouds of anger do disguise
Thy face, yet through that mask I know those eyes,
Which, though they turn away sometimes —
They never will despise.

I sacrifice this island unto thee,
And all whom I love here and who love me :
When I have put this flood 'twixt them and me,
Put thou thy blood betwixt my sins and thee.
As the tree's sap doth seek the root below
In winter, in my winter ^ now I go
Where none but thee, the eternal root
Of true love, I may know.

Nor thou, nor thy religion, dost control
The amorousness of an harmonious soul ;
But thou wouldst have that love thyself : as thou
Art jealous, Lord, so I am jealous now.
Thou lov'st not, till from loving more thou free
My soul : who ever gives, takes liberty :
Oh, if thou car'st not whom I love,
Alas, thou lov'st not me 1

1 He was sent by James I. to assist an embassy to the Elector Pala-
tine, who had married his daughter Elizabeth.

2 He had lately lost his wife, for whom he had a rare love.


Seal then this bill of my divorce to all
On whom those fainter beams of love did fall ;
Marry those loves, which in youth scattered be
On face, wit, hopes, (false mistresses), to thee.
Churches are best for prayer that have least light :
To see God only, I go out of sight ;
And, to 'scape stormy days, I choose
An everlasting night.

To do justice to this poem, the reader must take
some trouble to enter into the poet's mood.

It is in a measure distressing that, while I grant
with all my heart the claim of his "Muse's white
sincerity," the taste in — I do not say of- — some of his
best poems should be such that I will not present

Out of twenty-three Holy Sonnets, every one of
which, I should almost say, possesses something re-
markable, I choose three. Rhymed after the true
Petrarchian fashion, their rhythm is often as bad as
it can be to be called rhythm at all. Yet these are
very fine.

Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay ?

Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste ;

I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday.
I dare not move my dim eyes any way.

Despair behind, and death before doth cast

Such terror ; and my feeble flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh.
Only thou art above, and when towards thee

By thy leave I can look, I rise again ;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,

That not one hour myself I can sustain :
Thy grace may wing me to prevent his art, ;
And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart


If faithful souls be alike glorified

As angels, then my father's soul doth see,
And adds this even to full felicity,

That valiantly I hell's wide mouth o'erstride :

But if our minds to these souls be descried
By circumstances and by signs that be
Apparent in us — not immediately^ —

How shall my mind's white truth by them be tried ?
They see idolatrous lovers weep and mourn,

And, style blasphemous, conjurors to call

On Jesu's name, and pharisaical

Dissemblers feign devotion. Then turn,

O pensive soul, to God ; for he knows best

Thy grief, for he put it into my breast.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ;

For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death ; nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy picture be.

Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow ;

And soonest ^ our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery !

Thou'rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell ;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well.

And better than thy stroke. Why swell 'st^ thou then ?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more : Death, thou shalt die.

In a poem called The Cross, full of fantastic con-
ceits, we find the following remarkable lines, embo-
dying the profoundest truth.

As perchance car\'ers do not faces make.
But that away, which hid them there, do take :
Let crosses so take what hid Christ in thee,
And be his image, or not his, but he.

1 "If they know us not by intuition, but by judging from circumstances
and signs."

2 " With most wilUngness." * " Art proud."


One more, and we shall take our leave of Dr.
Donne. It is called a fragment ; but it seems to me
complete. It will serve as a specimen of his best
and at the same time of his most characteristic mode
of presenting fine thoughts grotesquely attired.


Sleep, sleep, old sun ; thou canst not have re-past 1
As yet the wound thou took'st on Friday last.
Sleep then, and rest : the world may bear thy stay ;
A better sun rose before thee to-day ;
Who, not content to enlighten all that dwell
On the earth's face as thou, enlightened hell,
And made the dark fires languish in that vale.
As at thy presence here our fires grow pale ;
Whose body, having walked on earth and now
Hastening to heaven, would, that he might allow
Himself unto all stations and fill all.
For these three days become a mineral.
He was all gold when he lay down, but rose
All tincture ; and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make even sinful flesh like his.
Had one of those, whose credulous piety
Thought that a soul one might discern and see
Go from a body, at this sepulchre been,
And issuing from the sheet this body seen,
He would have justly thought this body a soul,
If not of any man, yet of the whole.

What a strange mode of saying that he is our
head, the captain of our salvation, the perfect hu-
manity in which our life is hid ! Yet it has its
dignity. When one has got over the oddity of these

1 A strange use of the word ; but it evidently means recovered^ and
has some analogy with the French repasser.


last six lines, the figure contained in them shows itself
almost grand.

As an individual specimen of the grotesque form
holding a fine sense, regard for a moment the words,

He was all gold when he lay down, but rose
All tincture ;

which means, that, entirely good when he died, he
was something yet greater when he rose, for he had
gained the power of making others good : the tincture
intended here was a substance whose touch would
turn the basest metal into gold.

Through his poems are scattered many fine pas-
sages ; but not even his large influence on the better
poets who followed is sufficient to justify our listening
to him longer now.



Joseph Hall, born in 1574, a year after Dr. Donne,
bishop, first of Exeter, next of Norwich, is best known
by his satires. It is not for such that I can mention
him : the most honest satire can claim no place
amongst religious poems. It is doubtful if satire ever
did any good. Its very language is that of the half-
brute from which it is well named.

Here are three poems, however, which the bishop
wrote for his choir.


Lord, what am I ? A worm, dust, vapour, nothing !

What is my life ? A dream, a daily dying 1
What is my flesh ? My soul's uneasy clothing !
What is my time ? A minute ever flying :
My time, my flesh, my life, and I,
What are we. Lord, but vanity ?

Where am I, Lord ? Down in a vale of death.

What is my trade ? Sin, my dear God oflfending ;
My sport sin too, my stay a puff of breath.
What end of sin ? Hell's horror never ending :
My way, my trade, sport, stay, and place,
Help to make up my doleful case.


Lord, what art thou ? Pure life, power, beauty, bliss.

Where dwell'st thou ? Up above in perfect light.
What is thy time ? Eternity it is.

What state ? Attendance of each glorious sprite :
Thyself, thy place, thy days, thy state
Pass all the thoughts of powers create.

How shall I reach thee, Lord ? Oh, soar above,
Ambitious soul. But which way should I fly ?
Thou, Lord, art way and end. What wings have I ?
Aspiring thoughts — of faith, of hope, of love :
Oh, let these wings, that way alone
Present me to thy blissful throne.


Immortal babe, who this dear day
Didst change thine heaven for our clay,
And didst with flesh thy Godhead veil,
Eternal Son of God, all hail !

Shine, happy star ! Ye angels, sing

Glory on high to heaven's king !

Run, shepherds, leave your nightly watch !

See heaven come down to Bethlehem's cratch ! manger.

Worship, ye sages of the east.

The king of gods in meanness drest !

O blessed maid, smile, and adore

The God thy womb and arms have bore !

Star, angels, shepherds, and wise sages !
Thou virgin -glory of all ages!
Restored frame of heaven and earth !
Joy in your dear Redeemer's birth.

Leave, O my soul, this baser world below ;

O leave this doleful dungeon of woe ;

And soar aloft to that supernal rest

That maketh all the saints and angels blest ;
Lo, there the Godhead's radiant throne,
Like to ten thousand suns in one 1


Lo, there thy Saviour dear, in glory dight, dressed.

Adored of all the powers of heavens bright !
Lo, where that head that bled with thorny wound,
Shines ever with celestial honour crowned !

That hand that held the scornful reed

Makes all the fiends infernal dread.

That back and side that ran with bloody streams
Daunt angels' eyes with their majestic beams ;
Those feet, once fastened to the cursed tree.
Trample on Death and Hell, in glorious glee.
Those lips, once drenched with gall, do make
With their dread doom the world to quake.

Behold those joys thou never canst behold ;
Those precious gates of pearl, those streets ot gold.
Those streams of life, those trees of Paradise
That never can be seen by mortal eyes !

And when thou seest this state divine,

Think that it is or shall be thine.

See there the happy troops of purest sprites
That live above in endless true delights !
And see where once thyself shalt ranged be,
And look and long for immortality !

And now beforehand help to sing

Hallelujahs to heaven's king.

Polished as these are in comparison to those of
Dr. Donne, and fine, too, as they are intrinsically,
there are single phrases in his that are worth them
all — except, indeed, that one splendid line.

Trample on Death and Hell in glorious glee.

George Sandys, the son of an archbishop of York,
and born in 1577, is better known by his travels in
the east than by his poetry. But his version of the
Psalms is in good and various verse, not unfrequently


graceful, sometimes fine. The following is not only
in a popular rhythm, but is neat and melodious as


Thou who art enthroned above,

Thou by whom we live and move,

O how sweet, how excellent

Is't with tongue and heart's consent,

Thankful hearts and joyful tongues.

To renown thy name in songs !

"When the morning paints the skies.

When the sparkling stars arise,

Thy high favours to rehearse,

Thy firm faith, in grateful verse !

Take the lute and violin,

Let the solemn harp begin,

Instruments strung with ten strings,

While the silver cymbal rings.

From thy works my joy proceeds ;

How I triumph in thy deeds !

Who thy wonders can express ?

All thy thoughts are fathomless —

Hid from men in knowledge blind.

Hid from fools to vice inclined.

W^ho that tyrant sin obey,

Though they spring like flowers in May —

Parched with heat, and nipt with frost.

Soon shall fade, for ever lost.

Lord, thou art most great, most high ;

Such from all eternity.

Perish shall thy enemies.

Rebels that against thee rise.

All who in their sins delight.

Shall be scattered by thy might.

But thou shalt exalt my horn

Like a youthful unicorn,

Fresh and fragrant odours shed

On thy crowned prophet's head.


I shall see my foes' defeat, "

Shortly hear of their retreat ;

But the just like palms shall flourish

Which the plains of Judah nourish.

Like tall cedars mounted on

Cloud-ascending Lebanon.

Plants set in thy court, below

Spread their roots, and upwards grow ;

Fruit in their old age shall bring,

Ever fat and flourishing.

This God's justice celebrates :

He, my rock, injustice hates.


Thou mover of the rolling spheres,
I, through the glasses of my tears,

To thee my eyes erect.
As servants mark their master's hands,
As maids their mistress's commands,

And liberty expect.

So we, depressed by enemies
And growing troubles, fix our eyes

On God, who sits on high ;
Till he in mercy shall descend,
To give our miseries an end,

And turn our tears to joy.

O save us, Lord, by all forlorn.
The subject of contempt and scorn :

Defend us from their pride
Who live in fluency and ease,
Who with our woes their malice please,

And miseries deride.

Here is a part of the 66th Psalm, which makes a
complete little song of itself :

S.L. IV. K


Bless the Lord. His praise be sung

While an ear can hear a tongue.

He our feet establisheth ;

He our souls redeems from death.

Lord, as silver purified,

Thou hast with affliction tried,

Thou hast driven into the net,

Burdens on our shoulders set.

Trod on by their horses' hooves,

Theirs whom pity never moves,

We through fire, with flames embraced,

We through raging floods have passed,

Yet by thy conducting hand,

Brought into a wealthy land.



From the nature of their adopted mode, we cannot
look for much poetry of a devotional kind from the
dramatists. That mode admitting of no utterance
personal to the author, and requiring the scope of a
play to bring out the intended truth, it is no wonder
that, even in the dramas of Shakspere, profound as
is the teaching they contain, we should find nothing
immediately suitable to our purpose ; while neither
has he left anything in other form approaching in
kind what we seek. Ben Jonson, however, born in
1574, who may be regarded as the sole representative
of learning in the class, has left, amongst a large
number of small pieces, three Poems of Devotion^
whose merit may not indeed be great, but whose
feeling is, I think, genuine. Whatever were his faults,
and they were not few, hypocrisy was not one of
them. His nature was fierce and honest. He might
boast, but he could not pretend. His oscillation
between the reformed and the Romish church can
hardly have had other cause than a vacillating
conviction. It could not have served any prudential

K 2


end that we can see, to turn catholic in the reign of
Elizabeth, while in prison for killing in a duel a player
who had challenged him.



O holy, blessed, glorious Trinity
Of persons, still one God in Unity,
The faithful man's believed mystery,

Help, help to lift
Myself up to thee, harrowed, torn, and bruised
By sin and Satan, and my flesh misused.
As my heart lies — in pieces, all confused —

O take my gift.

All-gracious God, the sinner's sacrifice,

A broken heart, thou wert not wont despise,

But, 'bove the fat of rams or bulls, to prize

An olifering meet
For thy acceptance : Oh, behold me right,
And take compassion on my grievous plight !
What odour can be, than a heart contrite,

To thee more sweet ?

Eternal Father, God, who didst create
This All of nothing, gav'st it form and fate,
And breath'st into it life and light, with state

To worship thee I
Eternal God the Son, who not deniedst
To take our nature, becam'st man, and diedst,
To pay our debts, upon thy cross, and criedst

AlVs done in me!
Eternal Spirit, God from both proceeding,
Father and Son — the Comforter, in breeding
Pure thoughts in man, with fiery zeal them feeding

For acts of grace !
Increase those acts, O glorious Trinity
Of persons, still one God in Unity,
Till I attain the longed-for mystery

Of seeing your face,


Beholding one in three, and three in one,

A Trinity, to shine in Union —

The gladdest light, dark man can think upon —

O grant it me.
Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, you three,
All co-eternal in your majesty.
Distinct in persons, yet in unity

One God to see ;

My Maker, Saviour, and my Sanctifier,
To hear, to mediate, 1 sweeten my desire,
"With grace, with love, with cherishing entire !

O then, how blest
Among thy saints elected to abide.
And with thy angels placed, side by side !
But in thy presence truly glorified.

Shall I there rest !


Hear me, O God !

A broken heart

Is my best part :
Use still thy rod,

That I may prove

Therein thy love.

If thou hadst not

Been stern to me,

But left me free,
I had forgot

Myself and thee.

For sin's so sweet

As minds ill bent that.

Rarely repent
Until they meet

Their punishment.

Who more can crave
Than thou hast done ?
Thou gav'st a Son

1 To understood : to sweeten.


To free a slave,

First made of nought,
With all since bought

Sin, death, and hell

His glorious name

Quite overcame ;
Yet I rebel.

And slight the same.

But I'll come in

Before my loss

Me farther toss,
As sure to win

Under his cross.


I sing the birth was bom to-night,
The author both of life and light ;

The angels so did sound it.
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid.

Yet searched, and true they found it.

The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring.

And freed the soul from danger ;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word which heaven and earth did make.

Was now laid in a manger.

The Father's \\-isdom willed it so ;
The Son's obedience knew no No ;

Both wills were in one stature ;
And, as that -wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made flesh indeed,

And took on him our nature.

What comfort by him do we win.
Who made himself the price of sin,

To make us heirs of glory !
To see this babe, all innocence,
A martyr bom in our defence ! —

Can man forget this story ?



Somewhat formal and artificial, no doubt ; rugged
at the same time, like him who wrote them. When
a man would utter that concerning which he has only-
felt, not thought, he can express himself only in the
forms he has been taught, conventional or traditional.
Let his powers be ever so much developed in respect
of other things, here, v/here he has not meditated,
he must understand as a child, think as a child,
speak as a child. He can as yet generate no sufficing
or worthy form natural to himself But the utterance
is not therefore untrue. There was no professional
bias to cause the stream of Ben Jonson's verses to
flow in that channel. Indeed, feeling without thought,
and the consequent combination of impulse to speak
with lack of matter, is the cause of much of that
common-place utterance concerning things of religion
which is so wearisome, but which therefore it is not
always fair to despise as cant.

About the same age as Ben Jonson, though the
date of his birth is unknown, I now come to men-
tion Thomas Heywood, a most voluminous writer of
plays, who wrote also a book, chiefly in verse, called
The Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels, a strange work,
in which, amongst much that is far from poetic, occur
the following remarkable metaphysico-reiigious verses.
He had strong Platonic tendencies, interesting himself
chiefly however in those questions afterwards pursued
by Dr. Henry More, concerning witches and such like
subjects, which may be called the shadow of Platonism.

I have wandered like a sheep that's lost,
To find Thee out in every coast :


Without I have long seeking bin, beeij.

Whilst thou, the while, abid'st within.

Through every broad street and strait lane

Of this world's city, but in vain,

I have enquired. The reason why?

I sought thee ill : for how could I

Find thee abroad, when thou, mean space,

Hadst made within thy dwelling-place ?

I sent my messengers about,
To try if they could find thee out ;
But all was to no purpose still,
Because indeed they sought thee ill :
For how could they discover thee
That saw not when thou entered'st me?

Mine eyes could tell me ? If he were*
Not coloured, sure he came not there.
If not by sound, my ears could say
He doubtless did not pass my way.
My nose could nothing of him tell,

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