« PreviousContinue »
• Would it were day!'
One everlasting Sabbath there shall run
Without succession, and without a sun.
“But go thou thy way until the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.'—Dan. xii. 13.
'Tis now clear day: I see a rose
Bud in the bright east, and disclose
The pilgrim-sun. All night have I
Spent in a roving ecstasy
To find my Saviour. I have been
As far as Bethlehem, and have seen
His inn and cradle; being there
I met the wise men, asked them where
He might be found, or what star can
Now point him out, grown up a man?
To Egypt hence I fled, ran o'er
All her parched bosom to Nile's shore,
Her yearly nurse; came back, inquired
Amongst the doctors, and desired
To see the temple, but was shown
A little dust, and for the town
A heap of ashes, where, some said,
A small bright sparkle was abed,
Which would one day (beneath the pole)
Awake, and then refine the whole.
Tired here, I came to Sychar, thence
To Jacob's well, bequeathed since
Unto his sons, where often they,
In those calın, golden evenings, lay
Watering their flocks, and having spent
Those white days, drove home to the tent
Their well-fleeced train; and here (O fate!)
I sit where once my Saviour sate.
The angry spring in bubbles swelled,
Which broke in sighs still, as they filled,
And whispered, Jesus had been there,
But Jacob's children would not hear.
Loth hence to part, at last I risc,
But with the fountain in mine eyes,
And here a fresh search is decreed :
He must be found where he did bleed.
I walk the garden, and there see
Ideas of his agony,
And moving anguishments, that set
His blest face in a bloody sweat;
I climbed the hill, perused the cross,
Hung with my gain, and his great loss :
Never did tree bear fruit like this,
Balsam of souls, the body's bliss.
But, О his grave! where I saw lent
(For he had none) a monument,
An undefiled, a new-hewed one,
But there was not the Corner-stone.
Sure then, said I, my quest is vain,
He'll not be found where he was slain;
So mild a Lamb can never be
'Midst so much blood and cruelty.
I'll to the wilderness, and can
Find beasts more merciful than man;
He lived there safe, 'twas his retreat
From the fierce Jew, and Herod's heat,
And forty days withstood the fell
And high temptations of hell;
With seraphim there talked he,
His Father's flaming ministry,
He heavened their walks, and with his eyes
Made those wild shades a paradise.
Thus was the desert sanctified
To be the refuge of his bride.
I'll thither then; see, it is day!
The sun's broke through to guide my way.
But as I urged thus, and writ down
What pleasures should my journey crown,
What silent paths, what shades and cells,
Fair virgin-flowers and hallowed wells,
I should rove in, and rest my head
Where my dear Lord did often tread,
Sugaring all dangers with success,
Methought I heard one singing thus:
Sure here he must
Is not the way,
Search well another world; who studies this,
Travels in clouds, seeks manna where none is.
• That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far off from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being.'- Acts xvii. 27, 28.
ISAAC'S MARRIAGE. • And Isaac went out to pray in the field at the eventide, and he lifted up
bis eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.'-GEN. xxiv. 63.
Praying! and to be married! It was rare,
But now 'tis monstrous; and that pious care
Though of ourselves, is so much out of date,
That to renew 't were to degenerate.
But thou a chosen sacrifice wert given,
And offered up so early unto Heaven,
Thy flames could not be out; religion was
Rayed into thee like beams into a glass;
Where, as thou grew'st, it multiplied, and shined
The sacred constellation of thy mind.
But being for a bride, prayer was such
A decried course, sure it prevailed not much.
Hadst ne'er an oath nor compliment? thou wert
An odd, dull suitor; hadst thou but the art
Of these our days, thou couldst have coined thee twenty
New several oaths, and compliments, too, plenty.
O sad and wild excess! and happy those
White days, that durst no impious mirth expose:
When conscience by lewd use had not lost sense,
Nor bold-faced custom banished innocence!
Thou hadst no pompous train, nor antic crowd
young, gay swearers, with their needless, loud
Retinue; all was here smooth as thy bride,
And calm like her, or that mild evening-tide.
Yet hadst thou nobler guests : angels did wind
And rove about thee, guardians of thy mind;
These fetched thee home thy bride, and all the way
Advised thy servant what to do and say;
These taught him at the well, and thither brought
The chaste and lovely object of thy thought.
But here was ne'er a compliment, not one
Spruce, supple cringe, or studied look put on.
All was plain, modest truth : nor did she come
In rolls and curls, mincing and stately dumb;
But in a virgin's native blush and fears,
Fresh as those roses which the day-spring wears.
O sweet, divine simplicity! O grace
Beyond a curled lock or painted face!
A pitcher too she had, nor thought it much
To carry that, which some would scorn to touch;
With which in mild, chaste language she did woo
To draw him drink, and for his camels too.
And now thou knew’st her coming, it was time To get thee wings on, and devoutly climb Unto thy God; for marriage of all states Makes most unhappy, or most fortunates. This brought thee forth, where now thou didst undress Thy soul, and with new pinions refresh Her wearied wings, which, so restored, did fly Above the stars, a track unknown and high; And in her piercing flight perfumed the air, Scattering the myrrh and incense of thy prayer. So from Lahai-roi's? well some spicy cloud, 1. Lahai-roi:' a well in the south country where Jacob dwelt, between Kadesh and Bered; Heb., The well of him that liveth and seeth me.