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No less renown'd than war: new foes arise
Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains.
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.
XII. TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER.
VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better senator ne'er held
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repell'd
The fierce Epirot and the African bold,
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states hard to be spell'd,
Then to advise how war may, best upheld,
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
In all her equipage: besides, to know
Both spiritual power and civil, what each means,
What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few have done: The bounds of either sword to thee we owe;
Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.
XIII. ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT.
AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and stones,
Forget not in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese that roll'd
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who, having learn'd thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
XIV. ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bert
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest,
They also serve who only stand and wait.
XV. TO MR. LAWRENCE.
LAWRENCE, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire, Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire Help waste a sullen day, what may be won From the hard season gaining? Time will run
On smoother, till Favonius reinspire
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well-touch'd, or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
XVI. TO CYRIAC SKINNER.
CYRIAC, whose grandsire, on the royal bench
Of British Themis, with no mean applause,
Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws,
Which others at their bar so often wrench;
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench
In mirth, that after no repenting draws;
Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,
And what the Swede intends, and what the French.
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know
Toward solid good what leads the nearest way;
For other things mild Heaven a time ordains,
And disapproves that care, though wise in show,
That with superfluous burden loads the day,
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.
XVII. TO THE SAME.
CYRIAC, this three years' day these eyes, though clear,
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light their seeing have forgot,
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
In liberty's defence, my noble task,
Of which all Europe rings from side to side.
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
Content though blind, had I no better guide.
ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.
METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the old law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in heaven without restraint,
Came, vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But oh, as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night.
PSALM I. DONE INTO VERSE, 1653.
BLESS'D is the man who hath not walk'd astray
In counsel of the wicked, and i' the way
Of sinners hath not stood, and in the seat
Of scorners hath not sat. But in the great
Jehovah's law is ever his delight,
And in his law he studies, day and night.
He shall be as a tree which planted grows
By watery streams, and in his season knows
To yield his fruit, and his leaf shall not fall,
And what he takes in hand shall prosper all.
Not so the wicked, but as chaff which fann'd
The wind drives, so the wicked shall not stand
In judgment, or abide their trial then,
Nor sinners in the assembly of just men.
For the Lord knows the upright way of the just,
And the way of bad men to ruin must.
PSALM II. DONE AUG. 8, 1653. TERZETTI.
WHY do the Gentiles tumult, and the nations
Muse a vain thing, the kings of the earth upstand
With power, and princes in their congregations
Lay deep their plots together through each land
Against the Lord and his Messiah dear?
Let us break off, say they, by strength of hand,
Their bonds, and cast from us, no more to wear,
Their twisted cords. He, who in heaven doth dwell,
Shall laugh; the Lord shall scoff them, then severe
Speak to them in his wrath, and, in his fell
And fierce ire, trouble them. But I, saith he,
Anointed have my King (though ye rebel)
On Sion my holy hill. A firm decree
I will declare; the Lord to me hath said,
Thou art my Son, I have begotten thee
This day; ask of me, and the grant is made;
As thy possession I on thee bestow
The Heathen; and, as thy conquest to be sway'd,
Earth's utmost bounds: them shalt thou bring full low
With iron sceptre bruised, and them disperse,
Like to a potter's vessel, shiver'd so.
And now be wise at length, ye kings averse,
Be taught, ye judges of the earth; with fear
Jehovah serve, and let your joy converse
With trembling; kiss the Son, lest he appear
In anger, and ye perish in the way,
If once his wrath take fire, like fuel sere.
Happy all those who have in him their stay.
PSALM III. AUG. 9, 1653.
WHEN HE FLED FROM ABSALOM.
LORD, how many are my foes!
How many those
That in arms against me rise!
Many are they
That of my life distrustfully thus say,
No help for him in God there lies.
But thou, Lord, art my shield, my glory,
Thee through my story
The exalter of my head I count;
Aloud I cried
Unto Jehovah, he full soon replied,
And heard me from his holy mount
I lay and slept, I waked again,
Was the Lord. Of many millions
The populous rout
I fear not, though, encamping round about,
They pitch against me their pavilions.
Rise, Lord, save me, my God; for thou
Hast smote ere now
On the cheek-bone all my foes,
Of men abhorr'd
Hast broke the teeth. This help was from the Lord; Thy blessing on thy people flows.