O king, whose greatness none can comprehend,
Whose boundless goodness doth to all extend!
Light of all beauty! ocean without ground,
That standing flowest, giving dost abound!
Rich palace, and indweller ever blest,
Never not working, ever yet in rest!
What wit cannot conceive, words say of thee,
Here, where, as in a mirror, we but see
Shadows of shadows, atoms of thy might,
Still owly-eyed while staring on thy light,
Grant that, released from this earthly jail,
And freed of clouds which here our knowledge veil,
In heaven’s high temples, where thy praises ring,
I may in sweeter notes hear angels sing.
That is, “May I in heaven hear angels sing what wit cannot conceive here.”
Drummond excels in nobility of speech, and especially in the fine line and phrase, so justly but disproportionately prized in the present day. I give an instance of each:
Here do seraphim Burn with immortal love; there cherubim With other noble people of the light, As eaglets in the sun, delight their sight.
* * * * *
Like to a lightning through the welkin
That scores with flames the way, and every eye
With terror dazzles as it swimmeth by.
Here are six fine verses, in the heroic couplet, from An Hymn of the Resurrection.
So a small seed that in the earth lies
And dies—reviving bursts her cloddy side;
Adorned with yellow locks, of new is born,
And doth become a mother great with corn;
Of grains bring hundreds with it, which when old
Enrich the furrows with a sea of gold.
But I must content myself now with a little madrigal, the only one fit for my purpose. Those which would best support what I have said of his music are not of the kind we want. Unfortunately, the end of this one is not equal to the beginning.
CHANGE SHOULD BREED CHANGE.
New doth the sun
The mountains’ snows decay;
Crowned with frail flowers comes forth the baby year.
My soul, time posts away;
And thou yet in that frost,
Which flower and fruit hath lost,
As if all here immortal were, dost stay!
For shame! thy powers awake;
Look to that heaven which never night makes black;
And there, at that immortal sun’s bright rays,
Deck thee with flowers which fear not rage of days.
THE BROTHERS FLETCHER.
I now come to make mention of two gifted brothers, Giles and Phineas Fletcher, both clergymen, the sons of a clergyman and nephews to the Bishop of Bristol, therefore the cousins of Fletcher the dramatist, a poem by whom I have already given Giles, the eldest, is supposed to have been born in 1588. From his poem Christ’s Victory and Triumph, I select three passages.