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God, only wise, to punish pride of wit,

Among men's wits hath this confusion wrought; As the proud tower whose points the clouds did hit,

By tongues' confusion was to ruin brought.

But Thou, which didst man's soul of nothing make,

And when to nothing it was fallen again, “ To make it new, the form of man didst take,

And God with God becamest a man with men."

Thou that hast fashioned twice this soul of ours,

So that she is by double title thine,
Thou only knowest her nature and her powers ;

Her subtle form Thou only canst define.

To judge herself, she must herself transcend,

As greater circles comprehend the less;
But she wants power her own powers to extend,

As fettered men cannot their strength express.

But Thou bright morning star, Thou rising sun,

Which in these later times hast brought to light Those mysteries, that since the world begun

Lay hid in darkness and eternal night,

Thou (like the sun) dost with an equal ray

Into the palace and the cottage shine ;
And shewest the soul both to the clerk and lay,

By the clear lamp of oracle divine.

This lamp through all the regions of my brain,

Where my soul sits, doth spread such beams of grace, As now methinks I do distinguish plain

Each subtle line of her immortal face.

The soul a substance and a spirit is,

Which God Himself doth in the body make, Which makes the man; for every man from this

The nature of a man and name doth take.

And though this spirit be to the body knit

As an apt means her powers to exercise,
Which are life, motion, sense, and will and wit ;

Yet she survives although the body dies.



Her only end is never-ending bliss,

Which is the eternal face of God to see,
Who last of ends and first of causes is;

And to do this she must eternal be.

How senseless then, and dead a soul hath he

Which thinks his soul doth with his body die ;
Or thinks not so, but so would have it be,

That he might sin with more security.

For though these light and vicious persons say,

“Our soul is but a smoke or airy blast, Which during life doth in her nostrils play,

And when we die doth turn to wind at last ;"

Although they say, “Come, let us eat and drink;

Our life is but a spark which quickly dies ;"
Though thus they say, they know not what to think,

But in their minds ten thousand doubts arise.

Therefore no heretics desire to spread

Their light opinions like those Epicures ;
For so their staggering thoughts are comforted,

And other men's assent their doubt assures.

Yet though these men against their conscience strive,

There are some sparkles in their finty breasts,
Which cannot be extinct, but still revive,

That though they would, they cannot quite be beasts.

But whoso makes a mirror of his mind,

And doth with patience view himself therein, His soul eternity shall clearly find,

Though other beauties be defaced with sin.


FIRST, in man's mind we find an appetite

To learn and know the truth of every thing, Which is co-natural and born with it,

And from the essence of the soul doth spring.

With this desire she hath a native might,

To find out every truth if she had time; Th' innumerable effects to sort aright,

And by degrees from cause to cause to climb.

But since our life so fast away doth slide,

As doth a hungry eagle through the wind; 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 strain, That our short race of life is at an end,

Ere we the principles of skill attain.

Or God, who to vain ends hath nothing done,

In vain this appetite and power hath given, Or else our knowledge, which is here begun,

Hereafter must be perfected in heaven.

God never gave a power 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 power to do: If, then, perfection be not found below,

An higher place must make her mount thereto.


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

Than the well-head from whence it first doth spring: Then, since to eternal God she doth aspire,

She cannot be but an eternal thing.

All moving things to other things do move

Of the same kind, which shews 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 the first did issue make; She tastes all places, turns to every hand,

Her flowery 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 watery 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,

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 heaven she cannot light on aught

That with her heavenly 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 ceased to wish when he had wealth?

Or having wisdom was not vexed in mind ?

Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,

Which seem sweet flowers with lustre fresh and gay, She lights on that and this, and tasteth all;

But pleased 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; Will, seeking good, finds many middle ends;

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 named to this,

Alpha to wit, Omega to the will,

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