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When he would speak ;
A chair or litter shows the bier
Which shall convey him to the house of death.

Man, ere he is aware,
Hath put together a solemnity,
And dress'd his hearse, while he has breath

As yet to spare.
Yet, Lord, instruct us so to die,
That all these dyings may be life in death.

DECAY.

Sweet were the days, when thou didst lodge with Lot,
Struggle with Jacob, sit with Gideon,
Advise with Abraham, when thy power could not
Encounter Moses' strong complaints and moan :

Thy words were then, Let me alone.

One might have sought and found thee presently
At some fair oak, or bush, or cave, or well :
Is my God this way? No, they would reply;
He is to Sinai gone, as we heard tell :

List, ye may hear great Aaron's bell.

But now thou dost thyself immure and close
In some one corner of a feeble heart :
Where yet both Sin and Satan, thy old foes,
Do pinch and straiten thee, and use much art

To gain thy thirds and little part.

I see the world grows old, when as the heat
Of thy great love once spread, as in an urn

Doth closet up itself, and still retreat,
Cold sin still forcing it, till it return,

And calling Justice, all things burn.

MISERY.

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LORD, let the Angels praise thy name. Man is a foolish thing, a foolish thing;

Folly and Sin play all his game.
His house still burns; and yet he still doth sing,

Man is but grass,
He knows it, fill the glass.

How canst thou brook his foolishness ?
Why, he'll not lose a cup of drink for thee :

Bid him but temper his excess ;
Not he : he knows, where he can better be,

As he will swear,
Than to serve thee in fear.

What strange pollutions doth he wed,
And make his own ? as if none knew, but he.

No man shall beat into his head
That thou within his curtains drawn canst see:

They are of cloth,
Where never yet came moth.

The best of men, turn but thy hand For one poor minute, stumble at a pin :

They would not have their actions scann'd,
Nor any sorrow tell them that they sin,

Though it be small,
And measure not their fall.

They quarrel thee, and would give over
The bargain made to serve thee : but thy love

Holds them unto it, and doth cover
Their follies with the wing of thy mild Dove,

Not suffering those
Who would, to be thy foes.

My God, Man cannot praise thy name : Thou art all brightness, perfect purity;

The Sun holds down his head for shame,
Dead with eclipses, when we speak of thee.

How shall infection
Presume on thy perfection ?

As dirty hands foul all they touch, And those things most, which are most pure and fine :

So our clay hearts, even when we crouch
To sing thy praises, make them less divine.

Yet either this
Or none thy portion is.

Man cannot serve thee; let him

go
And serve the swine: there, there is his delight :

He doth not like this virtue, no;
Give him his dirt to wallow in all night;

These Preachers make
His head to shoot and ache.

O foolish man! where are thine eyes ?
How hast thou lost them in a crowd of cares?

Thou pull’st the rug, and wilt not rise,
No, not to purchase the whole pack of stars :

There let them shine,
Thou must go sleep, or dine.

The bird that sees a dainty bower
Made in the tree, where she was wont to sit,

Wonders and sings, but not his power
Who made the arbour : this exceeds her wit.

But Man doth know
The spring whence all things flow :

And yet, as though he knew it not, His knowledge winks, and lets his humours reign:

They make his life a constant blot,
And all the blood of God to run in vain.

Ah, wretch! what verse
Can thy strange ways rehearse ?

Indeed at first Man was a treasure, A box of jewels, shop of rarities,

A ring, whose posie was, My pleasure:
He was a garden in a Paradise :

Glory and grace
Did crown his heart and face.

But sin hath foold him. Now he is
A lump of flesh, without a foot or wing

To raise him to the glimpse of bliss :
A sick toss'd vessel, dashing on each thing;

Nay, his own shelf:
My God, I mean myself.

JORDAN

When first my lines of heavenly joys made mention,
Such was their lustre, they did so excel,
That I sought out quaint words, and trim invention ;

My thoughts began to burnish, sprout, and swell, Curling with metaphors a plain intention, Decking the sense, as if it were to sell.

Thousands of notions in my brain did run,
Offering their service, if I were not sped:
I often blotted what I had begun ;
This was not quick enough, and that was dead.
Nothing could seem too rich to clothe the Sun,
Much less those joys which trample on his head.

As flames do work and wind, when they ascend;
So did I weave myself into the sense.
But while I bustled, I might hear a friend
Whisper, How wide is all this long pretence!
There is in love a sweetness ready penn'd:
Copy out only that, and save expense.

PRAYER.

Of what an easy quick access,
My blessed Lord, art thou ! how suddenly

May our requests thine ear invade!
To show that state dislikes not easiness,
If I but lift mine eyes, my suit is made :
Thou canst no more not hear, than thou canst die.

Of what supreme Almighty power Is thy great arm which spans the East and West,

And tacks the Centre to the Sphere ! By it do all things live their measured hour : We cannot ask the thing, which is not there, Blaming the shallowness of our request.

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