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All but preludes thy end. Thou art the man
Whose rise, height, and descent is but a span. 19 Yet, set as he doth, and 'tis well. Have all
Thy beams home with thee: trim thy lamp, buy oil,
And then set forth; who is thus dressed, the fall
Furthers his glory, and gives death the foil.
Man is a summer's day; whose youth and fire
Cool to a glorious evening, and expire. 20 When night comes, list? thy deeds; make plain the
way 'Twixt heaven and thee; block it not with delays; But perfect all before thou sleep'st; then say * There's one sun more strung on my bead of days.'
What's good score up for joy; the bad, well scanned,
Wash off with tears, and get thy Master's hand. 21 Thy accounts thus made, spend in the grave one hour
Before thy time; be not a stranger there,
Where thou may'st sleep whole ages; life's poor flower
Lasts not a night sometimes. Bad spirits fear
This conversation; but the good man lies
Entombed many days before he dies. 22 Being laid, and dressed for sleep, close not thy eyes
Up with thy curtains; give thy soul the wing
In some good thoughts; so, when the day shall rise,
And thou unrak'st thy fire, those sparks will bring
New flames; besides where these lodge, vain heats
And die; that bush where God is shall not burn. 23 When thy nap's over, stir thy fire, and rake In that dead age; one beam i' the dark outvies
Two in the day; then from the damps and ache
Of night shut up thy leaves; be chaste; God pries
Through thickest nights; though then the sun be
Do thou the works of day, and rise a star.
24 Briefly, do as thou wouldst be done unto,
Love God, and love thy neighbour; watch and pray.
These are the words and works of life; this do,
And live; who doth not thus, hath lost heaven's way.
Oh, lose it not! look up, wilt change those lights
For chains of darkness and eternal nights?
Lord, since thou didst in this vile clay
That sacred ray,
Thy Spirit, plant, quickening the whole
With that one grain's infused wealth,
My forward flesh crept on, and subtly stole
Both growth and power; checking the health
And heat of thine. That little gate
And narrow way, by which to thee
The passage is, he termed a grate
And entrance to captivity;
Thy laws but nets, where some small birds,
And those but seldom too, were caught;
Thy promises but empty words,
Which none but children heard or taught.
This I believed: and though a friend
Came oft from far, and whispered, No;
Yet, that not sorting to my end,
I wholly listened to my foe.
Wherefore, pierced through with grief, my sad,
Seduced soul sighs up to thee;
To thee, who with true light art clad,
And seest all things just as they be.
Look from thy throne upon this roll
Of heavy sins, my high transgressions,
Which I confess with all
My God, accept of
It was last day,
Touched with the guilt of my own way,
I sat alone, and taking up,
The bitter cup,
Through all thy fair and various store,
Sought out what might outvie my score.
The blades of grass thy creatures feeding;
The trees, their leaves; the flowers, their seeding;
The dust, of which I am a part;
The stones, much softer than my heart;
The drops of rain, the sighs of wind,
The stars, to which I am stark blind;
The dew thy herbs drink up by night,
The beams they warm them at i' the light;
All that have signature or life
I summoned to decide this strife;
And lest I should lack for arrears,
A spring ran by, I told her tears;
But when these came unto the scale,
My sins alone outweighed them all.
O my dear God! my life, my love!
Most blessed Lamb! and mildest Dove !
Forgive your penitent offender,
And no more his sins remember;
Scatter these shades of death, and give
Light to my soul, that it may live;
Cut me not off for my transgressions,
Wilful rebellions, and suppressions ;
But give them in those streams a part
Whose spring is in my Saviour's heart.
Lord, I confess the heinous score,
pray I may
I do so no more;
Though then all sinners I exceed,
Oh, think on this, thy Son did bleed !
Oh, call to mind his wounds, his woes,
His agony, and bloody throes;
Then look on all that thou hast made,
And mark how they do fail and fade;
The heavens themselves, though fair and bright,
Are dark and unclean in thy sight;
How then, with thee, can man be holy,
Who dost thine angels charge with folly?
Oh, what am I, that I should breed
Figs on a thorn, flowers on a weed?
I am the gourd of sin and sorrow,
Growing o'er night, and gone to-morrow.
In all this round of life and death
Nothing 's more vile than is my breath;
Profaneness on my tongue doth rest,
Defects and darkness in my breast;
Pollutions all my body wed,
And even my soul to thee is dead;
Only in him, on whom I feast,
Both soul and body are well dressed;
His pure perfection quits all score,
And fills the boxes of his poor;
He is the centre of long life and light;
I am but finite, he is infinite.
Oh, let thy justice then in him confine,
And through his merits make thy mercy mine!
Ah! what time wilt thou come? when shall that cry,
• The Bridegroom's coming!' fill the sky?
Shall it in the evening run
When our words and works are done?
Or will thy all-surprising light
Break at midnight,
When either sleep or some dark pleasure
Possesseth mad man without measure?
Or shall these early, fragrant hours
Unlock thy bowers,
And with their blush of light descry
Thy locks crowned with eternity?
Indeed, it is the only time
That with thy glory doth best chime;
All now are stirring, every field
Full hymns doth yield;
The whole creation shakes off night,
And for thy shadow looks the light;
Stars now vanish without number,
Sleepy planets set and slumber,
The pursy clouds disband and scatter,
All expect some sudden matter;
Not one beam triumphs, but from far
Oh, at what time soever thou,
Unknown to us, the heavens wilt bow,
And, with thy angels in the van,
Descend to judge poor careless man,
Grant I may not like puddle lie
In a corrupt security,
Where, if a traveller water crave,