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Man is the world's High Priest : he doth present
The sacrifice for all; while they below
Unto the service mutter an assent,
Such as springs use that fall, and winds that blow.
He that to praise and laud thee doth refrain,
Doth not refrain unto himself alone,
But robs a thousand who would praise thee fain ;
And doth commit a world of sin in one.
The beasts say, Eat me; but, if beasts must teach, The tongue is
yours to eat, but mine to praise. The trees say, Pull me: but the hand you stretch Is mine to write, as it is yours to raise.
Wherefore, most sacred Spirit, I here present
For me and all my fellows praise to thee :
And just it is that I should pay the rent,
Because the benefit accrues to me.
We all acknowledge both thy power and love
To be exact, transcendent, and divine ;
Who dost so strongly and so sweetly move,
While all things have their will, yet none but thine.
For either thy command, or thy permission
Lay hands on all : they are thy right and left:
The first puts on with speed and expedition ;
The other curbs sin's stealing pace and theft ;
Nothing escapes them both : all must appear, And be disposed, and dress’d, and tuned by thee, Who sweetly temper'st all. If we could hear Thy skill and art, what music would it be !
Thou art in small things great, not small in any :
Thy even praise can neither rise nor fall.
Thou art in all things one, in each thing many :
For thou art infinite in one and all.
Tempests are calm to thee, they know thy hand,
And hold it fast, as children do their father's,
Which cry and follow. Thou hast made poor sand
Check the proud sea, even when it swells and gathers.
Thy cupboard serves the world : the meat is set
Where all may reach : no beast but knows his feed.
Birds teach us hawking : fishes have their net :
The great prey on the less, they on some weed.
Nothing engender'd doth prevent his meat;
Flies have their table spread, ere they appear;
Some creatures have in winter what to eat;
Others do sleep, and envy not their cheer.
How finely dost thou times and seasons spin,
And make a twist checker'd with night and day!
Which as it lengthens, winds, and winds us in,
As bowls go on, but turning all the way. .
Each creature hath a wisdom for his good.
The pigeons feed their tender offspring crying,
When they are callow ; but withdraw their food,
When they are fledged, that need may teach them flying.
Bees work for man; and yet they never bruise
Their master's flower, but leave it, having done,
As fair as ever, and as fit to use :
So both the flower doth stay, and honey run.
Sheep eat the grass, and dung the ground for more :
, Trees after bearing drop their leaves for soil : Springs vent their streams, and by expense get store : Clouds cool by heat, and baths by cooling boil.
Who hath the virtue to express the rare
And curious virtues both of herbs and stones?
Is there an herb for that? O that thy care
Would show a root, that gives expressions !
And if an herb hath power, what have the stars ?
A rose, besides his beauty, is a cure.
Doubtless our plagues and plenty, peace and wars,
Are there much surer than our art is sure.
Thou hast hid metals : man may take them thence
But at his peril : when he digs the place,
He makes a grave : as if the thing had sense,
And threaten'd man, that he should fill the space.
Even poisons praise thee. Should a thing be lost?
Should creatures want, for want of heed, their due?
Since where are poisons, antidotes are most ;
The help stands close, and keeps the fear in view.
The sea, which seems to stop the traveller,
Is by a ship the speedier passage made.
The winds, who think they rule the mariner,
Are ruled by him, and taught to serve his trade.
And as thy house is full, so I adore
Thy curious art in marshalling thy goods
The hills with health abound, the vales with store;
The South with marble ; North with furs and woods.
Hard things are glorious ; easy things good cheap ;
The common all men have; that which is rare,
Men therefore seek to have, and care to keep.
The healthy frosts with summer-fruits compare.
Light without wind is glass : warm without weight
Is wool and furs : cool without closeness, shade :
Speed without pains, a horse : tall without height,
A servile hawk : low without loss, a spade.
All countries have enough to serve their need :
If they seek fine things, thou dost make them run
For their offence; and then dost turn their speed
To be commerce and trade from sun to sun.
Nothing wears clothes, but Man; nothing doth need
But he to wear them. Nothing useth fire,
But Man alone, to show his heavenly breed :
And only he hath fuel in desire.
When th' earth was dry, thou madest a sea of wet:
When that lay gather'd, thou didst broach the mountains :
When yet some places could no moisture get,
The winds grew gardeners, and the clouds good fountains.
Rain, do not hurt my flowers; but gently spend
Your honey drops : press not to smell them here ;
When they are ripe, their odour will ascend,
And at your lodging with their thanks appear.
How harsh are thorns to pears! and yet they make
A better hedge, and need less reparation.
How smooth are silks, compared with a stake,
Or with a stone! yet make no good foundation.
Sometimes thou dost divide thy gifts to man.
Sometimes unite. The Indian nut alone
Is clothing, meat and trencher, drink and can,
Boat, cable, sail and needle, all in one.
Most herbs that grow in brooks, are hot and dry.
Cold fruit's warm kernels help against the wind.
The lemon's juice and rind cure mutually.
The whey of milk doth loose, the milk doth bind.
Thy creatures leap not, but express a feast,
Where all the guests sit close, and nothing wants.
Frogs marry fish and flesh; bats, bird and beast;
Sponges, nonsense and sense; mines, th’ earth and plants.
To show thou art not bound, as if thy lot
Were worse than ours, sometimes thou shiftest hands.
Most things move th' under-jaw; the Crocodile not.
Most things sleep lying, th' Elephant leans or stands.
But who hath praise enough ? nay, who hath any ?
, None can express thy works, but he that knows them ; And none can know thy works, which are so many, And so complete, but only he that owes them.
All things that are, though they have several ways,
Yet in their being join with one advice
To honour thee : and so I give thee praise
In all my other hymns, but in this twice.
Each thing that is, although in use and name
go for one, hath many ways in store
To honour thee ; and so each hymn thy fame
Extolleth many ways, yet this one more.