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Thomas Dekker.

Born about 1500. Died 1638.

Sweet Content.

A RT thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers?
.** O, sweet content!
Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed?

O, punishment!
Dost thou laugh to see how fools are vexed
To add to golden numbers, golden numbers?

O, sweet content I O sweet, O sweet content!
Work apace, apace, apace, apace;
Honest labour bears a lovely face;
Then hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny!

Canst drink the waters of the crisped spring?

O, sweet content!
Swimm'st thou in wealth, yet sink'st in thine own tears?

O, punishment!
Then he that patiently want's burden bears
No burden bears, but is a king, a king!

O sweet content! O sweet, O sweet content l
Work apace, apace, apace, apace;
Honest labour bears a lovely face;
Then hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny I


PATIENCE! why 'tis the soul of peace:
Of all the virtues, 'tis nearest kin to heaven:
It makes men look like gods. The best of men
That e'er wore earth about him, was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit:
The first true gentleman that ever breathed.


Richard Crashaw.

Bom 1000. Died 1650.

The Mysteries Of The Incarnation.

THAT the great angel-blinding light should shrink
His blaze, to shine in a poor shepherd's eye;
That the unmeasured God so low should sink,
As prisoner in a few poor rags to lie;
That from His mother's breast He milk should drink,
Who feeds with nectar heaven's fair family;

That a vile manger His low bed should prove,
Who in a throne of Stars thunders above.

That He whom the sun serves, should faintly peep
Through clouds of infant flesh; that He, the old
Eternal Word, would be a child, and weep;
That He who made the fire should feel the cold;
That heaven's High Majesty His court should keep
In a clay cottage, by each blast controlled;

That Glory's Self should serve our griefs and fears,

And free Eternity submit to years.

And further, that the Law's eternal Giver,
Should bleed in His own law's obedience;
And to the circumcising knife deliver
Himself, the forfeit of His slaves' offence;
That the unblemished Lamb, blessed for ever,
Should take the mark of sin, of pain the sense:
These are the knotty riddles, whose dark doubt
Entangles our lost thoughts, past finding out.

Samuel Butler.

Born 1612. Died 1680.

The Weakness And Misery Of Man.

OUR pains are real things, and all
Our pleasures but fantastical.
Diseases of their own accord,
But cures come difficult and hard.
Our noblest piles and stateliest rooms
Are but outhouses to our tombs;
Cities though ne'er so great and brave
But mere warehouses to the grave.
Our bravery's but a vain disguise
To hide us from the world's dull eyes,
The remedy of a defect
With which our nakedness is decked,
Yet makes us smile with pride and boast
As if we had gained by being lost.

Henry Vaughan,

Born 1621. Died 1005.

Beyond The Veil.

THEY are all gone into the world of light;
And I alone sit lingering here;
Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear.

It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,

Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which this hill is drest,

After the sun's remove.

I see them walking in an air of glory,
Whose light doth trample on my days:

My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
Mere glimmering and decays.

O holy Hope! and high Humility,

High as the heavens above! These are your walks, and you have showed them me,

To kindle my cold love.

Dear, beauteous Death! the jewel of the just,

Shining no where, but in the dark; What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust;

Could man outlook that mark!

O Father of eternal life, and all

Created glories under Thee!
Resume thy spirit from this world of thrall,

Into true liberty.

Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
My perspective—still—as they pass:

Or else remove me hence unto that hill,
Where I shall need no glass.

The Retreat.

HAPPY those early days, when I
Shined in my angel-infancy I
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,

Or taught my soul to fancy aught
But a white celestial thought;
When yet I had not walked above
A mile or two from my first Love,
And looking back, at that short space,
Could see a glimpse of his bright face;
When on some gilded cloud or flower
My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity;
Before I taught my tongue to wound
My conscience with a sinful sound,
Or had the black art to dispense
A several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.
Oh how I long to travel back,
And tread again that ancient track!
That I might once more reach that plain
Where first I left my glorious train;
From whence the enlightened spirit sees
That shady City of palm-trees.
But ah! my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way!
Some men a forward motion love,
But I by backward steps would move;
And when this dust falls to the urn,
In that state I came return.

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