Giles Fletcher The Younger (1588 - 1623 / Alderton, Suffolk)
Christ's Triumph after Death (excerpts)
But now the second Morning, from her bow'r,
Began to glister in her beams, and now
The roses of the day began to flow'r
In th' eastern garden; for Heav'ns smiling brow
Half insolent for joy begun to show:
The early Sun came lively dancing out,
And the brag lambs ran wantoning about,
That heav'n, and earth might seem in triumph both to shout.
Th' engladded Spring, forgetfull now to weep,
Began t' eblazon from her leafy bed,
The waking swallow broke her half-year's sleep,
And every bush lay deeply purpured
With violets, the wood's late-wintry head
Wide flaming primroses set all on fire,
And his bald trees put on their green attire,
Among whose infant leaves the joyous birds conspire.
And now the taller Sons (whom Titan warms)
Of unshorn mountains, blown with easy winds,
Dandled the morning's childhood in their arms,
And, if they chanc'd to slip the prouder pines,
The under Corylets did catch the shines,
To gild their leaves; saw never happy year
Such joyfull triumph, and triumphant cheer,
As though the aged world anew created were.
Say Earth, why hast thou got thee new attire,
And stick'st thy habit full of daisies red?
Seems that thou dost to some high thought aspire,
And some new-found-out bridegroom mean'st to wed:
Tell me ye Trees, so fresh apparelled,
So never let the spitefull canker waste you,
So never let the heav'ns with lightening blast you,
Why go you now so trimly drest, or whither haste you?
Answer me Jordan, why thy crooked tide
So often wanders from his nearest way,
As though some other way thy stream would slide,
And fain salute the place where something lay?
And you sweet birds, that shaded from the ray,
Sit carolling, and piping grief away,
The while the lambs to hear you dance, and play,
Tell me sweet birds, what is it you so fain would say?
And, thou fair Spouse of Earth, that every year,
Gett'st such a numerous issue of thy bride,
How chance thou hotter shin'st, and draw'st more near?
Sure thou somewhere some worthy sight hast spied,
That in one place for joy thou canst not bide:
And you dead swallows, that so lively now
Through the flit air your winged passage row,
How could new life into your frozen ashes flow?
Ye primroses, and purple violets,
Tell me, why blaze ye from your leafy bed,
And woo men's hands to rent you from your sets,
As though you would somewhere be carried,
With fresh perfumes, and velvets garnished?
But ah, I need not ask, 'tis surely so,
You all would to your Saviour's triumphs go,
There would ye all await, and humble homage do.
There should the Earth herself with garlands new
And lovely flow'rs embellished adore,
Such roses never in her garland grew,
Such lilies never in her breast she wore,
Like beauty never yet did shine before:
There should the Sun another Sun behold,
From whence himself borrows his locks of gold,
That kindle heav'n, and earth with beauties manifold.
There might the violet, and primrose sweet
Beams of more lively, and more lovely grace,
Arising from their beds of incense meet;
There should the swallow see new life embrace
Dead ashes, and the grave unheal his face,
To let the living from his bowels creep,
Unable longer his own dead to keep:
There heav'n and earth should see their Lord awake from sleep.
Their Lord, before by other judg'd to die,
Now Judge of all himself; before forsaken
Of all the world, that from his aid did fly,
Now by the Saints into their armies taken;
Before for an unworthy man mistaken,
Now worthy to be God confess'd; before
With blasphemies by all the basest tore,
Now worshipped by Angels, that him low adore.
Whose garment was before indipt in blood,
But now, imbrighten'd into heav'nly flame,
The Sun itself outglitters, though he should
Climb to the top of the celestial frame,
And force the stars go hide themselves for shame:
Before that under earth was buried,
But now about the heavens is carried,
And there for ever by the Angels heried.
So fairest Phosphor the bright morning star,
But newly wash'd in the green element,
Before the drowsy Night is half aware,
Shooting his flaming locks with dew besprent,
Springs lively up into the orient,
And the bright drove, fleec'd all in gold, he chases
To drink, that on the Olympic mountain grazes,
The while the minor Planets forfeit all their faces.
So long he wander'd in our lower sphere,
That heav'n began his cloudy stars despise,
Half envious, to see on earth appear
A greater light, than flam'd in his own skies:
At length it burst for spite, and out there flies
A globe of winged angels, swift as thought,
That on their spotted feathers lively caught
The sparkling earth, and to their azure fields it brought.
The rest, that yet amazed stood below,
With eyes cast up, as greedy to be fed,
And hands upheld, themselves to ground did throw,
So when the Trojan boy was ravished,
As through th' Idalian woods they say he fled,
His aged guardians stood all dismay'd,
Some lest he should have fallen back afraid,
And some their hasty vows, and timely prayers said.
Toss up your heads ye everlasting gates,
And let the Prince of Glory enter in:
At whose brave volley of siderial states,
The sun to blush, and stars grow pale were seen,
When, leaping first from earth, he did begin
To climb his angels' wings; then open hang
Your chrystal doors, so all the chorus sang
Of heav'nly birds, as to the stars they nimbly sprang.
Hark how the floods clap their applauding hands,
The pleasant valleys singing for delight,
And wanton mountains dance about the lands,
The while the fields, struck with the heav'nly light,
Set all their flow'rs a smiling at the sight,
The trees laugh with their blossoms, and the sound
Of the triumphant shout of praise, that crown'd
The flaming Lamb, breaking through heav'n, hath passage found.
Out leap the antique Patriarchs, all in haste,
To see the pow'rs of Hell in triumph led,
And with small stars a garland interchas'd
Of olive leaves they bore, to crown his head,
That was before with thorns degloried,
After them flew the Prophets, brightly stol'd
In shining lawn, and wimpled manifold,
Striking their ivory harps, strung all in chords of gold.
To which the Saints victorious carols sung,
Ten thousand Saints at once, that with the sound,
The hollow vaults of heav'n for triumph rung:
The Cherubins their clamours did confound
With all the rest, and clapp'd their wings around:
Down from their thrones the Dominations flow,
And at his feet their crowns, and sceptres throw,
And all the princely Souls fell on their faces low.
Nor can the Martyrs wounds' them stay behind,
But out they rush among the heav'nly crowd,
Seeking their heav'n out of their heav'n to find,
Sounding their silver trumpets out so loud,
That the shrill noise broke through the starry cloud,
And all the virgin Souls, in pure array,
Came dancing forth, and making joyous play;
So him they lead along into the courts of day.
So him they lead into the courts of day,
Where never war, nor wounds abide him more,
But in that house, eternal peace doth play,
Acquieting the souls, that new before
Their way to heav'n through their own blood did score,
But now, estranged from all misery,
As far as heav'n and earth discoasted lie,
Swelter in quiet waves of immortality.
Comments about this poem (Christ's Triumph after Death (excerpts) by Giles Fletcher The Younger )
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