England's Antiphon eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 247 pages of information about England's Antiphon.
  But thou shall 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.

  PSALM CXXIII.

  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: 

  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.

CHAPTER IX.

A FEW OF THE ELIZABETHAN DRAMATISTS.

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 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.

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England's Antiphon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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