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Or as a ship transported with the tide,
Which in their passage leave no print behind.
Of which swift little time so much we spend,
While some few things we through the sense do That our short race of life is at an end, (strain,
Ere we the principles of skill attain.
Or God (who to vain ends hath nothing done)
In vain this appetite and pow'r hath giv’n; Or else our knowledge, which is here begun,
Hereafter must be perfected in Heav'n.
God never gave a pow'r to one whole kind,
But most part of that kind did use the same : Most eyes have perfect sight, though some be
blind; Most legs can nimbly run, though some be lame.
But in this life, no soul the truth can know
So perfectly, as it hath pow'r to do: If then perfection be not found below,
An higher place must make her mount thereto.
Drawn from the motion of the soul.
Again, how can she but immortal be,
When, with the motions of both will and wit, She still aspireth to eternity,
And never rests, till she attain to it?
Water in conduit-pipes can rise no higher
She cannot be but an eternal thing.
“ All moving things to other things do move, Of the same kind which shows their nature
such :" So earth falls down, and fire doth mount above,
Till both their proper elements do touch.
And as the moisture, which the thirsty earth
Sucks from the sea, to fill her empty veins, * From out her womb at last doth take a birth,
And runs a lymph along the grassy plains :
Long doth she stay, as loth to leave the land,
From whose soft side she first did issue make : She tastes all places, turns to ev'ry hand,
Her flow'ry banks unwilling to forsake:
Yet Nature so her streams doth lead and carry,
As that her course doth make no final stay, Till she herself unto the ocean marry,
Within whose watry bosom first she lay.
E'en so the soul, which in this earthly mould
The spirit of God doth secretly infuse, Because at first she doth the earth behold,
And only this material world she views :
* The soul compared to a rhér.
At first her mother-earth she holdeth dear,
And doth embrace the world, and worldly things; She flies close by the ground, and hovers here,
And mounts not up with her celestial wings :
Yet under Heav'n she cannot light on aught
That with her heav'nly nature doth agree : She cannot rest, she cannot fix her thought,
She cannot in this world contented be.
For who did ever yet, in honour, wealth,
Or pleasure of the sense, contentment find? Who ever ceas'd to wish, when he had health ?
Or, having wisdom, was not vex'd in mind ?
Then as a bee which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet flow'rs, with lustre fresh and She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all; (gay;
But, pleas'd with none, doth rise, and soar away:
So, when the soul finds here no true content,
And, like Noah's dove, can no sure footing take, She doth return from whence she first was sent,
And flies to Him that first her wings did make.
Wit, seeking truth, from cause to cause ascends,
And never rests till it the first attain :
But never stays till it the last do gain.
Now God the truth and first of causes is;
God is the last good end, which lasteth still ; Being alpha and omega nam'd for this;
Alpha to wit, omega to the will.
Since then her heavenly kind she doth display,
In that to God she doth directly move ; And on no mortal thing can make her stay,
She cannot be from hence, but from above.
And yet this first true cause, and last good end,
She cannot here so well and truly see; For this perfection she must yet attend,
Till to her Maker she espoused be.
As a king's daughter, being in person sought
Of divers princes, who do neighbour near, On none of them can fix a constant thought,
Though she to all do lend a gentle ear:
Yet she can love a foreign emperor,
Whom of great worth and pow'r she hears to be, If she be woo'd but by ambassador,
Or but his letters or his pictures see:
For well she knows, that when she shall be brought
Into the kingdom where her spouse doth reign; Her eyes shall see what she conceiv'd in thought,
Himself, his state, his glory, and his train.
So while the virgin soul on Earth doth stay,
She woo'd and tempted in ten thonsand ways, By these great pow'rs, which on the Earth bear sway;
The wisdom of the world, wealth, pleasure, praise :
With these sometimes she doth her time beguile,
These do by fits her fantasy possess ; But she distastes them all within awhile, And in the sweetest finds a tediousness.
But if upon the world's Almighty King,
She once doth fix her humble loving thought, Who by his picture drawn in ev'ry thing,
And sacred messages, her love hath sought;
Of him she thinks she cannot think too much;
This honey tasted still is ever sweet;
As almost here she with her bliss doth meet:
But when in Heav'n she shall his essence see,
This is her sov'reign good, and perfect bliss ; Her longing, wishings, hopes, all finish'd be;
Her joys are full, her motions rest in this :
There is she crown'd with garlands of content;
There doth she manna eat, and nectar drink: That presence doth such high delights present, As never tongue could speak, nor heart could
From contempt of death in the better sort of spirits. For this, the better souls do oft despise
The body's death, and do it oft desire;
The empty part is lifted up the higher:
But if the body's death the soul should kill,
Then death must needs against her nature be; And were it so, all souls would fly it still,
For nature hates and shuns her contrary.