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Love bade me welcome ; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lack'd any thing.
A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here :
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful ? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I ?
Truth, Lord, but I have marr'd them : let my shame
Go where it doth deserve. And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame ?
My dear, then I will serve. You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat :
So I did sit and eat.
Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace,
, good-will towards men.
ALMIGHTY Lord, who from thy glorious throne
Seest and rulest all things even as one :
The smallest Ant or Atom knows thy power,
Known also to each minute of an hour :
Much more do Commonweals acknowledge thee,
And wrap their policies in thy decree,
Complying with thy counsels, doing nought
Which doth not meet with an eternal thought.
But above all, thy Church and Spouse doth prove
Not the decrees of power, but bands of love.
Early didst thou arise to plant this Vine,
Which might the more endear it to be thine.
Spices come from the East; so did thy Spouse,
Trim as the light, sweet as the laden boughs
Of Noah's shady vine, chaste as the dove,
Prepared and fitted to receive thy love.
The course was westward, that the sun might light
As well our understanding as our sight.
Where th' Ark did rest, there Abraham began
To bring the other Ark from Canaan.
Moses pursued this : but King Solomon
Finish'd and fix'd the old religion.
When it grew loose, the Jews did hope in vain
By nailing Christ to fasten it again.
But to the Gentiles he bore cross and all,
Rending with earthquakes the partition-wall.
Only whereas the Ark in glory shone,
Now with the cross, as with a staff, alone,
Religion, like a pilgrim, westward bent,
Knocking at all doors, ever as she went.
Yet as the Sun, though forward be his flight,
Listens behind him, and allows some light,
Till all depart : so went the Church her way,
Letting, while one foot stepp'd, the other stay
Among the eastern nations for a time,
Till both removed to the western clime.
To Egypt first she came, where they did prove
Wonders of anger once, but now of love.
The ten Commandments there did flourish more
Than the ten bitter plagues had done before.
Holy Macarius and great Anthony
Made Pharaoh Moses, changing the history.
Goshen was darkness, Egypt full of lights,
Nilus for monsters brought forth Israelites.
Such power hath mighty Baptism to produce,
For things misshapen, things of highest use.
How dear to me, O God, thy counsels are !
with thee compare?
Religion thence fled into Greece, where Arts
Gave her the highest place in all men's hearts.
Learning was posed, Philosophy was set,
Sophisters taken in a Fisher's net.
Plato and Aristotle were at a loss,
And wheeld about again to spell Christ's-Cross.
Prayers chased syllogisms into their den,
And Ergo was transform'd into Amen.
Though Greece took horse as soon as Egypt did,
And Rome as both ; yet Egypt faster rid,
And spent her period and prefixed time
Before the other. Greece being past her prime,
Religion went to Rome, subduing those,
Who, that they might subdue, made all their foes.
The Warrior his dear scars no more resounds,
But seems to yield Christ hath the greater wounds ;
Wounds willingly endured to work his bliss,
Who by an ambush lost his Paradise.
The great heart stoops, and taketh from the dust
A sad repentance, not the spoils of lust :
Quitting his spear, lest it should pierce again
Him in his members, who for him was slain.
The Shepherd's hook grew to a Sceptre here,
Giving new names and numbers to the year.
But th' Empire dwelt in Greece, to comfort them,
Who were cut short in Alexander's stem.
In both of these Prowess and Arts did tame
And tune men's hearts against the Gospel came :
Which using, and not fearing skill in the one,
Or strength in th other, did erect her throne,
Many a rent and struggling th’Empire knew
(As dying things are wont), until it flew
At length to Germany, still westward bending,
And there the Church's festival attending :
That as before Empire and Arts made way
(For no less harbingers would serve than they),
So they might still, and point us out the place,
Where first the Church should raise her downcast face.
Strength levels grounds, Art makes a garden there ;
Then showers Religion, and makes all to bear.
Spain in the Empire shared with Germany,
But England in the higher victory;
Giving the Church a crown to keep her state,
And not go less than she had done of late.
Constantine's British line meant this of old,
And did this mystery wrap up and fold
Within a sheet of paper, which was rent
From Time's great Chronicle, and hither sent.
Thus both the Church and Sun together ran
Unto the farthest old meridian.
How dear to me, O God, thy counsels are!
Who may with thee compare ?
Much about one and the same time and place,
Both where and when the Church began her race,
Sin did set out of Eastern Babylon,
And travelld westward also : journeying on
He chid the Church away, where'er he came,
Breaking her peace, and tainting her good name.
At first he got to Egypt, and did sow
Gardens of gods, which every year did grow, ,
Fresh and fine deities. They were at great cost,
Who for a god clearly a sallet lost.
Ah, what a thing is man devoid of grace,
Adoring Garlic with an humble face,
Begging his food of that which he may eat,
Starving the while he worshippeth his meat !
Who makes a root his god, how low is he,
If God and man be sever'd infinitely !
What wretchedness can give him any room,
Whose house is foul, while he adores his broom?
None will believe this now, though money be
In us the same transplanted foolery.
Thus Sin in Egypt sneaked for a while ;
His highest was an ox or crocodile,
And such poor game. Thence he to Greece doth pass,
And being craftier much than Goodness was,