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So, when the soul finds here no true content,
And, like Noah's dove, can no sure footing take, She doth return from whence she first was sent,
And flies to Him that first her wings did make.
Wit, seeking truth, from cause to cause ascends,
And never rests till it the first attain :
But never stays till it the last do gain.
God is the last good end, which lasteth still; Being Alpha and Omega named for this;
Alpha to wit, Omega to the will.
Since then her heavenly kind she doth display,
In that to God she doth directly move; And on no mortal thing can make her stay,
She cannot be from hence, but from above.
And yet this first true cause, and last good end,
She cannot here so well and truly see;
Till to her Maker she espouséd be.
Of divers princes, who do neighbour near,
Though she to all do lend a gentle ear: Yet she can love a foreign emperor,
Whom of great worth and power she hears to be, If she be wooed but by ambassador,
Or but his letters or his pictures see.
For well she knows that, when she shall be brought
Into the kingdom where her spouse doth reign, Her
eyes shall see what she conceived in thought, Himself, his state, his glory, and his train.
So while the virgin soul on earth doth stay,
She, wooed and tempted in ten thousand ways,
With these sometimes she doth her time beguile,
These do by fits her fantasy possess; But she distastes them all within a while,
And in the sweetest finds a tediousness.
But if upon the world's Almighty King,
She once doth fix her humble, loving thought, Who by his picture drawn in every thing,
And sacred messages, her love hath sought.
This honey tasted still is ever sweet;
As almost here she with her bliss doth meet.
But when in heaven she shall his essence see,
This is her sovereign good, and perfect bliss ; Her longings, wishings, hopes, all finished be;
Her joys are full, her motions rest in this.
There is she crowned with garlands of content;
There doth she manna eat and nectar drink; That presence doth such high delights present,
As never tongue could speak, nor heart could think,
From the general desire of immortality.
Which all men have of immortality;
But all men's minds in this united be.
Then this desire of Nature is not vain,
She covets not impossibilities;
But one assent of all is ever wise."
From hence that general care and study springs,
That launching and progression of the mind, Which all men have so much, of future things
That they no joy do in the present find.
From this desire that main desire proceeds,
Which all men have surviving fame to gain, By tombs, by books, by memorable deeds;
For she, that this desires, doth still remain. Hence, lastly, springs care of posterities,
For things their kind would everlasting make : Hence is it that old men do plant young tres,
The fruit whereof another age shall take.e If we this rule unto ourselves apply,
And view them by reflection of the mind, All these true notes of immortalitytten find
In our hearts' tables we shall wri
CONCLUSION OF THE ARGUMENT.
0! ignorant poor man! what dost thou bear
Locked up within the casket of thy breast? What jewels and what riches hast thou there?
What heav'nly treasures in so weak a chest ?
Look in thy soul, and thou shalt beauties find,
Like those which drowned Narcissus in the flood : Honour and pleasure both are in thy mind,
And all that in the world is counted good.
Think her worth, and think that God did mean,
This worthy mind should worthy things embrace: Blot not her beauties with thy thoughts unclean,
Nor her dishonour with thy passion base. Kill not her quick’ning power with surfeitings:
Mar not her sense with sensuality: Cast not away her wit on idle things :
Make not her free will slave to vanity.
And when thou think'st of her eternity,
Think not that death against her nature is : Think it a birth : and when thou go'st to die,
Sing like a swan; as if thou went'st to bliss.
And if thou, like a child, did'st fear before,
Being in the dark, where thou did'st nothing see; Now I have brought thee torch-light, fear no more;
Now when thou diest, thou can'st not hood-winked be. And thou, my soul, which turn'st with curious eye
To view the beams of thine own form divine, Know, that thou can’st know nothing perfectly,
While thou art clouded with this flesh of mine. Take heed of overweening, and compare
Thy peacock's feet with thy gay peacock's train : Study the best and highest things that are,
But of thyself an humble thought retain.
The glory of thy Maker's sacred name;
Which gives thee power to be, and use the same.
(1614.) In a small quarto volume of twenty-two leaves, published in 1614, appeared a poem of one hundred and seventy-four stanzas, entitled “I Would and Would Not." An address to the reader, which follows this brief title, is signed B. N., which letters have been ingeniously assumed by Mr. George Stevens to be the inverted initials of Nicholas Breton. This poetical tract presents a series of dilemmas in which a taste and conscience, too fastidious and delicate for action, find themselves. It is “ composed of a string of vacillating wishes and desires, to be everything and to be nothing: there being such an equipoise of reasons for and against all extremes that the author's fancy suggested, as to leave him a pyrrhonist: until he arbitrates with himself to steer a middle course and seek the golden mean.” The work is further and more justly said by Sir Egerton Brydges, the author of the rather too cavalier account we have quoted, to be “not unworthy the ingenuity, fertility, fluency, metrical ease, and moral force of Breton's commendable pen."
“Machivell's Dogge” is the title of another short poem, in quarto, published in 1617, three years after the issue of “I Would and Would Not.” This production incorporates all the following stanzas—with the exception only of the pairs which respectively begin and end the extractalthough it presents them in a slightly different sequence. During the greater part of this quaintly vigorous satire, the "Dogge” is tutored with such precepts as are calculated to fit him for worthily sustaining the character of the ancestral cur that kennelled in the tub of Diogenes. A better spirit finally comes over the animal, as if a surreptitious baptism had been administered into the principles of Christian benevolence.
We have not been able to discover any, the most fugitive, speculation as to the reason of the partial identity of these two poems: it would seem not unfair to presume that only an identity of authorship could justify so extensive, and venture upon so open, an appropriation.
To tell you truly, what I wish to be,