The dreadful night with darksomeness
Had overspread the light,
And sluggish sleep with drowsiness
Had overpressed our might:
A glass wherein you may behold
Each storm that stops our breath,
Our bed the grave, our clothes like mould,
And sleep like dreadful death.
Yet as this deadly night did last
But for a little space,
And heavenly day, now night is past,
Doth shew his pleasant face;
So must we hope to see God’s face
At last in heaven on high,
When we have changed this mortal place
This is not so bad, but it is enough. There are six stanzas more of it. I transcribe yet another, that my reader may enjoy a smile in passing. He is “moralizing” the aspects of morning:
The carrion crow, that loathsome beast,
Which cries against the rain,
Both for his hue and for the rest,
The Devil resembleth plain;
And as with guns we kill the crow,
For spoiling our relief,
The Devil so must we overthrow,
With gunshot of belief.
So fares the wit, when it walks abroad to do its business without the heart that should inspire it.
Here is one good stanza from his De Profundis:
But thou art good, and hast of mercy
Thou not delight’st to see a sinner fall;
Thou hearkenest first, before we come to call;
Thine ears are set wide open evermore;
Before we knock thou comest to the door.
Thou art more prest to hear a sinner cry, ready.
Than he is quick to climb to thee on high.
Thy mighty name be praised then alway:
Let faith and fear
True witness bear
How fast they stand which on thy mercy stay.
Here follow two of unknown authorship, belonging apparently to the same period.
THAT EACH THING IS HURT OF ITSELF.
Why fearest thou the outward foe,
When thou thyself thy harm dost feed?
Of grief or hurt, of pain or woe,
Within each thing is sown the seed.
So fine was never yet the cloth,
No smith so hard his iron did beat,
But th’ one consumed was with moth,
Th’ other with canker all to-freate. fretted away.
The knotty oak and wainscot old
Within doth eat the silly worm;
Even so a mind in envy rolled
Always within it self doth burn.
Thus every thing that nature wrought,
Within itself his hurt doth bear!
No outward harm need to be sought,
Where enemies be within so near.
Lest this poem should appear to any one hardly religious enough for the purpose of this book, I would remark that it reminds me of what our Lord says about the true source of defilement: it is what is bred in the man that denies him. Our Lord himself taught a divine morality, which is as it were the body of love, and is as different from mere morality as"the living body is from the dead.