Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,
Weaved in my lone devout melancholy,
Thou which of good, hast, yea art treasury,
All changing unchanged Ancient of days,
But do not, with a vile crown of frail bays,
Reward my muse’s white sincerity,
But what thy thorny crown gained, that give me,
A crown of Glory, which doth flower always;
The ends crown our works, but thou crown’st our ends,
For at our end begins our endless rest,
The first last end, now zealously possess’d,
With a strong sober thirst, my soul attends.
‘Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high,
Salvation to all that will is nigh.
Salvation to all that will is nigh,
That All, which always is All everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo! faithful Virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He’ll wear
Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son, and Brother,
Whom thou conceiv’st, conceived; yea thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother,
Thou hast light in dark; and shutt’st in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves his well-beloved imprisonment,
There he hath made himself to his intent
Weak enough, now into our world to come;
But Oh, for thee, for him, hath th ‘Inne no room?
Yet lay him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars, and wise men will travel to prevent
Th’ effect of Herod’s jealous general doom;
See’st thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.
With his kind mother, who partakes thy woe,
Joseph turn back; see where your child doth sit,
Blowing, yea blowing out those sparks of wit,
Which himself on the doctors did bestow;
The Word but lately could not speak, and lo!
It suddenly speaks wonders, whence comes it,
That all which was, and all which should be writ,
A shallow seeming child, should deeply know?
His Godhead was not soul to his manhood,
Nor had time mellow’d him to this ripeness,
But as for one which hath a long task, ’tis good,
With the Sun to begin his business,
He in His age’s morning thus began
By miracles exceeding power of man.
By miracles exceeding power of man,
He faith in some, envy in some begat,
For, what weak spirits admire, ambitious hate:
In both affections many to him ran,
But O! the worst are most, they will and can,
Alas, and do, unto the immaculate,
Whose creature Fate is, now prescribe a fate,
Measuring self-life’s infinity to a span,
Nay to an inch. Lo!, where condemned he
Bears his own cross, with pain, yet by and by
When it bears him, he must bear more and die;
Now thou art lifted up, draw me to thee,
And at thy death giving such liberal dole,
Moist, with one drop of thy blood, my dry soul.
Moist, with one drop of thy blood, my dry soul
Shall – though she now be in extreme degree
Too stony hard, and yet too fleshly – be
Freed by that drop, from being starved, hard, or foul,
And life, by this death abled, shall control
Death, whom thy death slew; nor shall to me
Fear of first or last death, bring misery,
If in thy little book my name thou enroll,
Flesh in that long sleep is not putrified,
But made that there, of which, and for which ’twas;
Nor can by other means be glorified.
May then sins sleep, and deaths soon from me pass,
That waked from both, I again risen may
Salute the last, and everlasting day.
Salute the last, and everlasting day,
Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son,
Ye whose just tears, or tribulation
Have purely washed, or burnt your drossy clay;
Behold the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon,
Nor doth He by ascending, show alone,
But first he, and he first enters the way.
O strong Ram which hast battered heaven for me,
Mild Lamb, which with thy blood, hast marked the path;
Bright Torch, which shin’st, that I the way may see,
Oh, with Thy own blood quench Thy own just wrath.
And if the Holy Spirit, my Muse did raise,
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise.