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That like a sort of busy ants that crawl
About some mole-hill, so they wandered;
And round about the waving sea were shed:
But for the silver sands, small pearls were sprinkled.
So curiously the underwork did creep,
And curling circlets so well shadowed lay,
That afar off the waters seem'd to sleep;
But those that near the margin pearl did play,
Hoarsely enwaved were with hasty sway,
As though they meant to rock the gentle ear,
And hush the former that enslumber'd were:
And here a dangerous rock the flying ships did fear.
But now the second morning from her bow'r
Began to glister in her beams, and now
The roses of the day began to flow'r
In th' eastern garden; for Heav'n's smiling brow
Half insolent for joy began to show;
The early Sun came lively dancing out,
And the brag lambs ran wantoning about, That Heav'n and Earth might seem in triumph both to shout. Th’ engladden’d spring, forgetful now to weep, Began t'emblazon from her leavy bed : The waking swallow broke her half-year's sleep, And every bush lay deeply purpured With violets; the wood's late wintry head
Wide flaming primroses set all on fire;
And his bald trees put on their green attire,
Among whose infant leaves the joyous birds conspire.
And now the taller sons (whom Titan warms)
Of unshorn mountains, blown with easy winds,
Dandled the morning's childhood in their arms,
And, if they chanc'd to slip the prouder pines,
The under corylets did catch the shines,
To gild their leaves; saw never happy year
Such joyful triumph and triumphant cheer,
As though the aged world anew created were.
Say, Earth, why hast thou got thee new attire,
And stick'st thy habit full of daisies red ?
Seems that thou dost to some high thought aspire,
And some new-found-out bridegroom mean'st to wed:
Tell me, ye trees, so fresh apparelled,
So never let the spiteful canker waste you,
So never let the Heav'ns with lightning blast you,
Why go you now so trimly drest, or whither haste you?
Answer me, Jordan, why thy crooked tide
So often wanders from his nearest way,
As though some other way thy stream would slide,
And fain salute the place where something lay?
And you, sweet birds, that, shaded from the
ray, Sit carolling, and piping grief away,
The while the lambs to hear you dance and play,
Tell me, sweet birds, what is it you so fain would say?
And thou, fair spouse of Earth, that every year
Gett’st such a numerous issue of thy bride,
How chance thou hotter shin'st and draw'st more near?
Sure thou somewhere some worthy sight hast spy'd,
That in one place for joy thou canst not hide;
And you, dead swallows, that so lively now
Through the fleet air your winged passage row,
How could new life into your frozen ashes flow?
Ye primroses, and purple violets,
Tell me, why blaze ye from your leavy bed,
And woo men's hands to rent you from your sets,
As though you would somewhere be carried,
With fresh perfumes, and velvets garnished
But ah! I need not ask, 'tis surely so,
You all would to your Saviour's triumphs go: There would ye all await, and humble homago do.
“ Toss up your heads, ye everlasting, gates,
And let the Prince of Glory enter in;
At whose brave volley of sidereal states,
The Sun to blush, and stars grow pale were seen ;
When, leaping first from Earth, he did begin
To climb his angels' wings, then open hang
Your crystal doors;" so all the chorus sang
Of heav'nly birds, as to the stars they nimbly sprang.
Hark how the floods clap their applauding hands,
The pleasant valleys singing for delight,
And wanton mountains dance about the lands,
The while the fields, struck with the heav'nly light,
Set all their flow’rs a-smiling at the sight;
The trees laugh with their blossoms, and the sound
Of the triumphant shout of praise, that crown'd
The flaming lamb, breaking through Heav'n hath passage
Out leap the antique patriarchs all in haste,
To see the pow'rs of Hell in triumph led,
And with small stars a garland intercha'st
Of olive-leaves they bore to crown his head,
That was before with thorns degloried :
After them flew the prophets, brightly stolid
In shining lawn, and wimpled manifold,
Striking their ivory harps, strung all in cords of gold.
To which the saints victorious carols sung,
Ten thousand saints at once, that with the sound
The hollow vaults of Heav'n for triumph rung:
The cherubims their clamours did confound
With all the rest, and clapt their wings around:
Down from their thrones the dominations flow,
And at his feet their crowns and sceptres throw,
And all the princely souls fell on their faces low.
Nor can the martyrs' wounds them stay behind,
But out they rush among the heav'nly crowd,
Seeking their Heav'n out of their Heav'n to find,
Sounding their silver trumpets out so loud,
That the shrill noise broke through the starry cloud:
And all the virgin souls in pure array
Came dancing forth and making joyous play;
So him they led along into the courts of day.
So him they led along into the courts of day,
Where never war, nor wounds abide him more,
But in that house eternal peace doth play,
Acquieting the souls that new besoar
Their way to Heav’n through their own blood did score,
But now, estranged from all misery,
As far as Heav'n and Earth discoasted lie, Swelter in quiet waves of immortality.
THE KINGDOM OF THE BLESSED.
Their sight drinks lovely fires in at their eyes,
Their brain sweet incense with fine breath accloys,
That on God's sweating altar burning lies ;
Their hungry ears feed on the heay’nly noise,
That angels sing, to tell their untold joys ;
Their understanding naked truth, their wills
The all, and self-sufficient goodness fills;
That nothing here is wanting, but the want of ills.
No sorrow now hangs clouding on their brow,
No bloodless malady empales their face,
No age drops on their hairs his silver snow,
No nakedness their bodies doth embase,
No poverty themselves and theirs disgrace,
No fear of death the joy of life devours,
No unchaste sleep their precious time deflowers, No loss, no grief, no change, wait on their winged hours.
But now their naked bodies scorn the cold,
And from their eyes joy looks, and laughs at pain;
The infant wonders how he came so old,
And old man how he came so young again ;
Still resting, though from sleep they still restrain ;
Where all are rich, and yet no gold they owe;
And all are kings, and yet no subjects know; All full, and yet no time on food they do bestow.
For things that pass are past, and in this field
The indeficient spring no winter fears ;
The trees together fruit and blossom yield,
Th’unfading lily leaves of silver bears,
And crimson rose a scarlet garment wears,
And all of these on the saints' bodies grow,
Not, as they wont, on baser earth below :
Three rivers here of milk, and wine, and honey flow.
About the holy city rolls a flood
Of molten crystal, like a sea of glass,
On which weak stream a strong foundation stood,
Of living diamonds the building was,
That all things else, besides itself, did pass :
Her streets, instead of stones, the stars did pave,
And little pearls, for dust, it seem'd to have, On which soft-streaming manna, like pure snow, did wave.
In midst of this city celestial,
Where the eternal temple should have rose,
Light’ned the Idea Beatifical;
End and beginning of each thing that grows;
Whose self no end nor yet beginning knows,
That hath no eyes to see, nor ears to hear;
Yet sees, and hears, and is all eye, all ear,
That no where is contain'd, and yet is every where.
Changer of all things, yet immutable;
Before, and after all, the first, and last :
That moving all, is yet immovable;
Great without quantity, in whose forecast
Things past are present, things to come are past;
Swift without motion, to whose open eye
The hearts of wicked men unbreasted lie;
At once absent, and present to them, far, and nigh.
It is no flaming lustre, made of light;
No sweet consent; or well-tim'd harmony;
Ambrosia, for to feast the appetite;
Or flow'ry odour, mixt with spicery;
No soft embrace, or pleasure bodily:
And yet it is a kind of inward feast;
A harmony, that sounds within the breast;
An odour, light, embrace, in which the soul doth rest.
A heav'nly feast no hunger can consume;
A light unseen, yet shines in every place;
A sound no time can steal; a sweet perfume
No winds can scatter; an entire embrace,
That no satiety can e'er unlace:
Ingrac'd into so high a favour, there
The saints, with their beau-peers, whole worlds outwear; And things unseen do see, and things unheard do hear, Ye blessed souls, grown richer by your spoil, Whose loss, though great, is cause of greater gains; Here may your weary spirits rest from toil, Spending your endless evening that remains Amongst those white flocks and celestial trains
That feed upon their Shepherd's eyes; and frame
That heav'nly music of so wond'rous fame, Psalming aloud the holy honours of his name !