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Or if I stray, he doth convert,

And bring my mind in frame :
And all this not for my desert,

But for his holy name.

Yea, in death's shady, black abode

Well may I walk, not fear :
For thou art with me, and thy rod

To guide, thy staff to bear.

Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine,

Even in my enemies' sight;
My head with oil, my cup with wine

Runs over day and night.

Surely thy sweet and wondrous love

Shall measure all my days;
And as it never shall remove,

So neither shall my praise.



When blessed Mary wiped her Saviour's feet (Whose precepts she had trampled on before), And wore them for a Jewel on her head,

Showing his steps should be the street,

Wherein she thenceforth evermore With pensive humbleness would live and tread :

She being stain'd herself, why did she strive
To make him clean, who could not be defiled ?

Why kept she not her tears for her own faults,

And not his feet? Though we could dive

In tears like Seas, our sins are piled Deeper than they, in words, and works, and thoughts.

Dear soul, she knew who did vouchsafe and deign
To bear her filth : and that her sins did dash
Even God himself: wherefore she was not loath,

As she had brought wherewith to stain,

So to bring in wherewith to wash : And yet in washing one, she washed both.


HOLINESS on the head,
Light and perfections on the breast,
Harmonious bells below, raising the dead
To lead them unto life and rest.

Thus are true Aarons drest.

Profaneness in my head,
Defects and darkness in my breast,
A noise of passions ringing me for dead
Unto a place where is no rest :

Poor Priest thus am I drest.

Only another head
I have, another heart and breast,
Another music, making live, not dead,
Without whom I could have no rest :

In him I am well drest.

Christ is my only head,
My alone only heart and breast,
My only music, striking me even dead;
That to the old man I may rest,

And be in him new drest.

So holy in my head, Perfect and light in my dear breast, My doctrine tuned by Christ (who is not dead, But lives in me while I do rest),

Come, people ; Aaron's drest.


2 Cor. ii.

How sweetly doth My Master sound! My Master!
As ambergris leaves a rich scent

Unto the taster :
So do these words a sweet content,
An Oriental fragrancy, My Master.

With these all day I do perfume my mind,
My mind even thrust into them both;

That I might find
What Cordials make this curious broth,
This broth of smells, that feeds and fats my mind.

My Master, shall I speak? O that to thee
My Servant were a little so,

As flesh may be ;
That these two words might creep and grow
To some degree of spiciness to thee !

Then should the Pomander, which was before
A speaking sweet, mend by reflection,

And tell me more :
For pardon of my imperfection
Would warm and work it sweeter than before.

For when My Master, which alone is sweet,
And even in my unworthiness pleasing,

Shall call and meet,
My Servant, as thee not displeasing,
That call is but the breathing of the sweet.

This breathing would with gains by sweetening me (As sweet things traffic when they meet)

Return to thee.
And so this new commerce and sweet
Should all my life employ, and busy me.


If we could see below
The sphere of virtue, and each shining grace,

As plainly as that above doth show;
This were the better sky, the brighter place.

God hath made stars the foil
To set off virtues : griefs to set off sinning :

Yet in this wretched world we toil,
As if grief were not foul, nor virtue winning.


THE Harbingers are come. See, see their mark;
White is their colour, and behold my head.
But must they have my brain ? must they dispark
Those sparkling notions, which therein were bred ?

Must dulness turn me to a clod ?
Yet have they left me, Thou art still my God.

Good men ye be, to leave me my best room,
Even all my heart, and what is lodged there :
I pass not, I, what of the rest become,
So, Thou art still my God, be out of fear.

He will be pleased with that ditty;
And if I please him, I write fine and witty.

Farewell sweet phrases, lovely metaphors :
But will ye leave me thus ? when ye before
Of stews and brothels only knew the doors,
Then did I wash you with my tears, and more,

Brought you to Church well drest and clad :
My God must have my best, even all I had.

Lovely enchanting language, sugar-cane,
Honey of roses, whither wilt thou fly?
Hath some fond lover 'ticed thee to thy bane ?
And wilt thou leave the Church, and love a sty?

Fie, thou wilt soil thy broider'd coat,
And hurt thyself, and him that sings the note.

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