Spes alit occiduas qui Sublunaribus haeret;
Rivales JESUS non in Amore sinit.
Laetior una Dies, JESU, tua Sacra Canenti;
Quàm sine Te, melicis Secula mille Lyris.
O, DEUS, aut nullo caleat mihi Pectus ab Igne!
Aut solo caleat Pectus ab Igne Tui!
Languet ut Illa Deo, mihi Me ...
Whoso delights to burn in holy Fire
Of Virgin fair Theophila,
Joy, Salamander, ...
Mundus Opes, Animam Coelum, Terramque resumpsit
Terra: DEUS, Vitam cum tulit, Ipse dedit.
Solus Amor facit es ...
Panduntur Coeli, juvat hinc invisere Divûm
Atria, mortali non adeunda Pede:
Hîc, Animae pennis advecta Theophila, ...
Pango nec humanis Opus enarrabile Verbis,
Quae meliùs possem Mira silendo loqui!
Da, DEUS, Illa canam, quae Vo ...
ARGUMENT. What's potent Opulencie? What's remiss
Voluptuousness? World, what's All This,
Who Chance, Change, Hopes, and Fears can under bring;
Who can obey, yet rule each Thing,
And sleight Misfortune with a brave Disdain, He's King.
Fly, Fancie, Beauties arched Brow,
Darts, wing'd with Fire, thence sparkling flow.
From Flash of Lightning Eye--balls turn;
The Author musing here survay,
How He may THEOPHIL portray:
Where Others Art surpast you find,
They draw the Body, HE the Mind.
Those Ladies, Sir, we Virtuosa's call,
But Copies are to this Original;
Whose charming Empire of her Grace does Sense
We jangle not in Shools, but strain to set
Church--Musick, at which Saints being met,
May warble forth Heav'ns Praise, and thence Heav'ns
When that great Gen'ralissimo of all
Infernal Janizaries shall
His Legions of Temptations raise, enroul,
And muster Them 'gainst Thee, my Soul:
Alming to profit as to please, We bring
No usual Hawk to try her Wing.
Come, come Theoph'la, fresh as May:
A smooth clear Vein should have it Sourse
From Nature, and have Art but Nurse:
Which, though it Men at Athens feasts,
A hallow'd Poets Muse is Th' Holy Dove.
Parnassus th' Empyraean Height Above.
His lofty--soaring Pegasus Christs Love.
Leave, bashfull Muse, the too hot Latian Shore,
To Albions temperate Clime sail or'e;
Sing Learnings Tempe, where clear Oxfords Eye,
Ore--come me not with your Perfumes, ô Friends!
My greatest Worth, to shew I'm nothing, tends.
Praise, wait on Heav'n. Th' Host of an humble Heart
Edward Benlowes (July 12, 1603 – December 18, 1676) was an English poet, son of Andrew Benlowes of Brent Hall, Essex. He matriculated at St Johns College, Cambridge, in 1620, and on leaving the university he made a prolonged tour on the continent of Europe. He was a Roman Catholic in middle life, but became a convert to Protestantism in his later years. He dissipated his fortune by openhanded generosity to his friends and relations, and possibly by serving in the Civil War; so that he was in great poverty at the time of his death. The last eight years of his life were passed at Oxford. Many of his writings are in Latin. His most important work is Theophila, or Loves Sacrifice, a Divine Poem (1652). The poem deals with mystical religion, telling how the soul, represented by Theophila, ascends by humility, zeal and contemplation, and triumphs over the sins of the senses. It is written in a curious stanza of three lines of unequal length rhyming together.)
Theophila Or Loves Sacrifice. Canto I
THE PRELIBATION To the SACRIFICE.
Spes alit occiduas qui Sublunaribus haeret;
Rivales JESUS non in Amore sinit.
Quid mihi non sapiat Terrâ, mihi dum sapit Æther?
Sed sapiet, sapias nî mihi, CHRISTE, nihil.
Awake, Arise, Loves Steersman, and first tast
Delight; Sound That; ere Anchor's cast
On Joy; stere hence a pray'rful Course to Heav'n at last.
Might Souls converse with Souls, by Angel--way,
Enfranchis'd from their pris'ning Clay,
What Strain by Intuition, would They then convay!
But, Spirits, sublim'd too fast, evap'rate may,
Without some interpos'd Allay;
And Notions, subtiliz'd too thin, exhale away.
The Gold (Sols Child) when in Earths Womb it lay
As precious was, though not so gay,
As, when refin'd, it doth It self abroad display.
Mount, Fancie, then through Orbs to Glories Sphere;
(Wilde is the Course that ends not there
You, who are Virtues Friends, lend to her Tongue an Ear.
Let not the wanton Love--fights, which may rise
From vocal Fifes, Flame--darting Eyes,
(Beauties Munition) Hearts wth Wounds unseen surprize:
Whose Basilisk--like Glances taint the Air
Of Virgin purenesse, and ensnare
Entangled Thoughts i'th' Trammels of their Ambush--hair.
Loves Captive view, who's Daies in warm Frosts spends;
On's Idol dotes, to Wit pretends;
Writes, blots, & rends; nor heeds where he begins or ends.
His Stock of Verse in Comick Fragments lies:
Higher than Ten'riffs Pique He flies:
Sols but a spark; Thou outray'st all Diamonds of the Skies.
Victorious Flames glow from thy brighter Eye;
Cloud those twin--lightning Orbs (They'l frie
An ice--vein'd Monk) cloud Them, or, Planet--struck, I die.
Indians, pierce Rocks for Gems; Negro's, the Brine
For Pearls; Tartars, to hunt combine
For Sables; Consecrate all Off'rings at Her Shrine.
Crouch low.--O, Vermeil--tinctur'd Cheek! for, thence
The Organs to my Optick Sense
Are dazled at the Blaze of so bright Angelence.
Does Troy--bane Hellen (Friend) with Angels share?
All Lawlesse Passions Idols are:
Frequent are fuco'd Cheeks; The Virtuosa's rare:
A Truth authentick. Let not skin--deep white
And red, perplex the nobler Light
O'th' Intellect; nor mask the Souls clear piercing Sight.
Burn Odes, Lusts Paperplots; Fly Playes, its Flame;
Shun guileful Courtisms; Forge for Shame
No Chains; Lip--traffick, and Eye--dialogues disclaim.
Hark how the frothy, empty Heads within
Roar and carouse i'th' jovial Sin,
Amidst the wilde Levalto's on their merry Pin!
Drain dry the ransackt Cellars, and resign
Your Reason up to Riot, joyn
Your Fleet, & sail by sugar--rocks through Floods of Wine:
Send Care to dead Sea of Phlegmattick Age;
Ride without Bit your restive Rage;
And act your Revel--rout Thus on the tipling Stage.
Swell us a lustie Brimmer,--more,--till most;
So Vast, that none may spie the Coast:
Wee'l down with All, though therein sail'd Lepanto's Host:
Top and Top--gallant hoise; We will out--rore
The bellowing Storms, though shipwrackt more
Healths are, than tempting'st Syrens did inchant of yore
Each Gallon breeds a Ruby;--Drawer, score 'um;
Cheeks dy'd in Claret seem o'th' Quorum,
When our Nose--carbuncles, like Link--boyes, blaze before'um.
Such are their Ranting Catches to unsoul,
And out--law Man; They stagger, rowl,
Their feet indent, their Sense being drunk with Circes Bowl.
Intombed Souls! Why rot ye thus alive,
Melting your Salt to Lees? and strive
To strangle Nature, and hatch Death? Healths, Health deprive.
The sinlesse Herd loaths your Sense--stifling Streams,
When long Spits point your Tale: Ye Breams
In Wine and Sleep, your Princes are but Fumes, and Dreams.
I'd rather be preserv'd in Brine, than rot
In Nectar. Now to Dice they're got:
Their Tables snare in both; Then what can be their Shot?
Yet Blades will throw at All, sans Fear, or Wit;
Oaths black the Night when Dice do'nt hit;
When Winners lose at Play, can Losers win by it?
Egypts Spermatick Nurse, when her spread Floor
Is flow'd 'bove sev'nteen Cubits ore,
Breeds Dearth: And Spend--thrifts waste, when they enflame the Score.
Tell me, ye pybald Butterflies, who poise
Extrinsick with intrinsick Joyes;
What gain ye from such short--liv'd, fruitless, empty Toys?
Ye Fools, who barter Gold for Trash, report,
Can Fire in Pictures warm? Can Sport
That stings, the mock--sense fill? How low's your Heav'n! how short!
Go, chaffer Blisse for Pleasure, which is had
More by the Beast, than Man; the Bad
Swim in their Mirth: (CHRIST wept, nere laught) The Best are sad.
Brutes covet nought but what's terrene; Heav'ns Quire
Do in eternal Joyes conspire;
Man 'twixt them Both does intermediate Things desire.
Had we no Bodies, we were Angels; and
Had we no Souls, we were unmann'd
To Beasts: Brutes are all Flesh, all Spirit the Heav'nly Band.
At first GOD made them One thus, by subjecting
The Sense to Reason; and directing
The Appetite by th' Spirit: But Sin by infecting
Mans free--born Will, so shatters Them; that They
At present nor cohabite may
Without Regret, nor without Grief depart away.
Go, cheating World, that dancest ore thy Thorns;
Lov'st what undoes; hat'st what adorns:
Go, idolize thy Vice, and Virtue load with Scorns.
Thy luscious Cup, more deadly then Asps Gall,
Empoys'neth Souls for Hell: Thou all
Times Mortalls dost enchant with thy delusive Call.
Who steals from Time, Time steals from him the Prey:
Pastimes passe Time, passe Heav'n away:
Few like the blessed Thief do steal Salvations Day.
Fools rifle Times rich Lott'rie: Who mispend
Lifes peerlesse Gemme, alive descend;
And Antidate with Stings their never--ending End.
Whose vast Desires engrosse the boundlesse Land
By Fraud, or Force; Like Spiders stand,
Squeezing small Flies; Such are their Nets, & such their Hand.
When Nimrods Vulture--Talons par'd shall be,
Their Houses Name soon chang'd you'l see;
For their Bethesda shall be turn'd to Bethanie.
Better destroy'd by Law, than rul'd by Will;
What Salves can cure, if Balsams kill?
That Good is worst that does degenerate to Ill.
Had not GOD left the Best within the Power
Of Persecutors, who devoure;
We had nor Martyrs had, nor yet a SAVIOUR.
Saints melt as Wax, Fools--clay grows hard at Cries
Of that scarce--breathing Corse, who lies
With dry Teeth, meager Cheeks, thin Maw, & hollow Eyes.
GOD made Life; Give't to Man; By opening Veins,
Death's sluc'd out, and Pleuretick Pains:
Make GOD thy Pattern, Cure thy self, Alms are best gains.
Heav'ns Glorie to atchieve, what scantling Span
Hath the frail Pilgrimage of Man!
Which sets, when risen; ends, when it but now began.
Who fight with outward Lusts, win inward Peace;
Judgements against Self--Judges cease:
Who face their Cloaks with Zeal do but their Woes increase.
The Mighty, mighty Torments shall endure,
If impious: Hell admits no Cure.
The best Securitie is ne're to be secure.
Oaks, that dare grapple with Heav'ns Thunder sink
All shiver'd; Coals that scorch do shrink
To Ashes; Vap'ring Snuffs expire in noysom Stink.
Time, strip the writhel'd Witch; Pluck the black Bags
From off Sins grizly Scalp; the Hags
Plague--sores shew then more loathsom than her leprous Rags.
'Twas She slew guiltlesse Naboth; 'twas she curl'd
The painted Jezabel; she hurl'd
Realms from their Center; She unhing'd the new--fram'd World.
Blest then who shall her dash 'gainst Rocks; (her Grones,
Our Mirth) and wash the bloody Stones
With her own cursed Gore; repave them with her Bones.
By Salique Law She should not reign: Storms swell
By her, which Halcyon Dayes dispell:
Nought's left that's good where she in Souls possest does dwell.
'Twas her Excesse bred Plagues! Infecting Stars,
Infesting Dearth, Intestine Wars
Surfeit with Graves the Earth, 'mongst Living making Jars.
My Soul, enlabyrinth'd in Grief, spend Years
In Sackcloth, chamleted with Tears,
Retir'd to Rocks dark entrals, court unwitnest Fears.
There passe with Heraclite a gentler Age,
Free from the sad Account of Rage,
That acts the toilsome World on its tumultuous Stage.
There sweet Religion strings, and tunes, and skrues
The Souls Theorb', and doth infuse
Grave Dorick Epods in th' Enthusiastick Muse.
There Love turns trumpets into Harps, which call
Off Sieges from the gun--shot Wall;
Alluring them to Heav'n, her Seat Imperial.
Thence came our Joy, and Thence Hymns eas'd our Grief;
Of which th' Angelical was chief;
Glory to GOD; Earth Peace; Good Will for Mans Relief.
Quills, pluckt from Venus Doves, impresse but shame:
Then, give your Rimes to Vulcans Flame;
Hee'l elevate your badger Feet: He's free, though lame.
Things fall, and Nothings rise! Old Virtue fram'd
Honour for Wisdom: Wisdom fam'd
Old Virtue: Such Times were! Wealth then Arts Page was nam'd
Lambeth was Oxfords Whetstone: Yet above
Preferments Pinnacle they move,
Who string the Universe, and bracelet It for Love.
Virtues magnifick Orb inflames their Zeal;
By high--rais'd Anthems Plagues they heal;
And threefork'd Thunders in Heavns outstretcht Arm repeal.
Shall Larks with shrill--chirpt Mattens rouze from Bed
Of curtain'd Night Sols orient Head?
And shall quick Souls lie numb'd, as wrapt in Sheets of Lead?
Awake from slumbring Lethargie; The gay
And circling Charioter of Day,
In's Progress through the azure Fields sees, checks our Stay.
Arise; and rising, emulate the rare
Industrious Spinsters, who with fair
Embroid'ries checker--work the Chambers of the Air
Ascend; Sol does on Hills his Gold display,
And, scatt'ring Sweets, does spice the Day,
And shoots delight through Nature with each arrow'd Ray.
The Opal--colour'd Dawns raise Fancie high;
Hymns ravish those who Pulpets fly;
Convert dull Lead to active Gold by Love--chymie.
As Natures prime Confectioner, the Bee,
By her Flow'r--nibling Chymistrie,
Turns Vert to Or: So, Verse gross Prose does rarifie.
Pow'rs cannot Poets, as They Pow'rs up--buoy;
Whose Soul--enliv'ning Charms Decoy
Each wrinkled Care to the Pacifick Sea of Joy.
As, where from Jewels sparkling Lustre darts,
Those Rayes enstarre the duskie Parts:
So, Beams of Poesie give Light, Life, Soul to Arts.
Rich Poesie! Thy more irradiant Gems
Give Splendor unto Diadems,
And with coruscant Rayes emblazest Honours Stems.
Thee Muse (Arts ambient Air, Inventions Door,
The Stage of Wits) both Rich and Poor
Do court.--A Prince may glory to become thy Wooer.
Poets ly 'entomb'd by Kings. Arts Gums dispence;
By Rumination bruis'd, are thence
By Verse so fir'd, that their Perfume Enheav'ns the Sense.
Its The'ory makes All wiser, yet Few better;
Practise is Spirit, Art the Letter;
Use artlesse doth enlarge, Art uselesse does but fetter.
Sharp Sentences are Goads to make Deeds go;
Good Works are Males, Words Females show:
Whose Lives act Presidents, prevent the Laws, and Do.
So far We know, as we obey GOD; and
He counts We leave not his Command,
When as our Interludes but 'twixt our Acts do stand.
Honours brave Soul is in that Body shrin'd,
Which floats not with each giddy Winde,
(Fickle as Courtly Dress) but Wisdoms Sea does find:
Steering by Graces Pole--star, which is fast
In th' Apostollick Zodiack plac't,
Whose Course at first four Evangelick Pilots trac't:
The Theanthropick Word; That mystick Glasse
Of Revelations; That masse
Of Oracles; That Fu'el of Pray'r; That Wall of Brass;
That Print of Heav'n on Earth; That Mercies Treasure,
And Key; That Evidence, and Seisure;
Faiths Card, Hopes Anchor; Loves full Sail; Abyss of Pleasure.
Such Saints high Tides n'ere ebbe so low, to shelf
Them on the Quicksand of their self--
Swallowing Corruption: Sin's the Wrack, They fly that Elf.
Gloomier than West of Death; than North of Night;
Than Nest of Triduan Blacks, with Fright
Which Egypt scar'd, when He brought Darkness, Who made Light.
Compar'd to whose Storm, thund'ring Peals are calm:
Compar'd to whose Sting, Asps yield Balm:
Compar'd to whose loath'd Charm, Death is a Mercy--Psalm.
Her Snares escap'd, soar, Muse, to Him, whose bright
Turns Damps to glorious Dayes; turns Fogs to radiant Light.
Religion's Wisdoms Study; That display,
LORD, countermand what goes astray;
And smite the Ass (rude Flesh) when it does start or bray.
Soul, thou art lesse than Mercies least; Three ne're
Depart from Sin; Shame, Guilt, and Fear:
Fear, Shame, Guilt, Sin, are Four; Yet All in One appear.
Crest--faln by Sin, how wretchedly I stray!
Me thinks 'tis Pride in me to pray:
Heav'n aid me strugling under this sad Load of Clay.
No Man may merit, yet did One, we hold;
Who most do vant their Zeal, are cold:
Thus Tin for Silver goes with these, and Brasse for Gold.
Renew my Heart, direct my Tongue; unseal
My Hand, inspire my Faith, reveal
My Hope, encrease my Love, and my Backslidings heal!
Let Language (Mans choice Glory) serve the Minde:
Thy Spirit on Bezaliel shin'd:
Help, Bloud, by Faith apply'd! Thy Spittle cur'd the Blinde.
Turn Sense to Spirit; Nature's chang'd alone
By Grace; That is the Chymick--stone:
And thy all--pow'rful Word is pure Projection;
Truths Touchstone, surest Rule that ere was fra'md,
(Tradition, Mans dark Map, 's disclaim'd)
The Paper burns me not, yet I am all inflam'd:
For, as I read, such inward Splendor glowes;
Such Life--renewing Vigour flowes,
That All, what's known of thy most righteous Will, It showes:
Whose Spells make Enochs walk with Thee; withhold
Corruption, and translate e're old:
All Vaticans are drosse; This, Magisterial Gold.
Thus, poor numm'd Tartars, when th' are brought into
Warm Persias Gem--pav'd Court, are so
Reviv'd, that then They live; till then half dead wth Snow.
Good Thoughts from Thee infus'd I do derive;
Good Words effus'd Thou dost me give;
Good Works diffus'd by Thee, in Thee do live, & thrive.
Nerve--stretching Muse, thy Bow's new strung; shoot then
Hymns to the BEST, from worst of Men;
Make Arts thy Tributaries, twist Heart, Tongue, & Pen.
But how can Eves degenerate Issue, bent
To Sin, in its weak Measures vent.
Thy Praise? Unmeasurable! and Omnipotent!
Shrubs cannot Cedars, nor Wrens Eagles praise;
Nor purblinde Owls on Sols Orb gaze:
What is a drop to Seas, a Beam to boundlesse Raies?
Yet Hope, and Love may raise my drooping Flight;
And Faith in Thee embeam my Night:
Great Love, supply Faiths Nerves, with winged Hope--i write.
My Spirit, LORD, my Soul, my Bodie, all
My Thoughts, Words, Works hereafter shall
Praise THEE, and Sin bemone.
JESU, how lov'dst THOU me!
Me blessed, thy LOVE make!
Me raised, Thy LOVE take!
JESU, my pretious ONE!
May This, LOVES OFFERING be.
My Heart, Tongue, Eye, Hand, bowed knee,
As All came from, let All return to THEE!
Nunc sacra primus habet Finem, mea Cura, Libellus;
Jàm precor impellat sanctior Aura ratem!
I felix, rapidas diffindas Caerula Syrtes;
Te Divina regit Dextera; Sospes abi.
NON NOBIS DOMINE.