William Alexander

(1567-1640 / Scotland)

Doomes-Day: The Tenth Houre - Poem by William Alexander

The Argument


To this great Court, all come from every land,
T'attend the sentence of their joy, or paine,
And straight the blessed and the damned band,
Are here to part, no more to meet againe;
But first the wicked and the divell doe stand,
Against Christs justice grudging, to complaine:
Till both are straight transported unto hell,
Where they together must for ever dwell.
Heavens Monarch with great Majesty doth sit,
His count'nance flaming from a stately throne;
This processe doth no deputy admit,
But he himselfe is Iudge of every one;
Due reverence forc'd with circumstances fit,
Whil'st murmuring guiltinesse doth sadly grone,
The bookes of conscience open doe remaine,
And all accuse of that which they containe.

Some seeme not apt to heare by distance made,
(Much place possess'd) when all the world are met,
O! but his voyce (which they even heard when dead)
May to their eares who live soone passage get;
And some would thinke their noyse for feare who fade,
Should all heavens circuit with confusion set:
If from his Court each Iudge can tumult take,
Who order'd order may an order make.
Who can that Throne imagine in his minde,
Where starres would be but staines, and terrours grace?
Yet (as in gold a Diamond enshrin'd)
More glorious he who doth adorne that place;
All darknesse is, which any where hath shin'd,
If match'd with rayes of that majesticke face:
And all to crowne what further can be told?
There God in person his chiefe Court doth hold.
This mighty Iudge that comes downe from above,
No end at all in any sort can sway;
No intercession can his judgement move,
No Advocates defend, no, not delay,
No witnesse wants, nor circumstance to prove,
Time so to gaine, as something were away:
Hence none appeales, nor can revoke when done;
A doome eternall is concluded soone.
Large is the count of life (though short) when gone,
The parting violent, the passage short,
The judgement bitter, terrible the throne,
Which even from Saints a terrour must extort;
Huge are the faults, weake the discharge, else none,
The Iudge is just, which rigour doth import:
A court from whence all goe with God to dwell,
Or with the divels for ever in the hell.

The harvests Lord straight takes his fanne in hand,
And fines the fine, thence the refuse doth chase;
The guilty Goates are gathered in one band,
The Sheepe (as pretious) take apart their place;
The godly all are rang'd at his right hand,
And all the wicked wrap'd in blacke disgrace:
Then from the wheate, the darnell he removes,
A separation which eternall proves.
No shifting here, the processe must be short,
Whereas there needs no proofe, since none deny,
No torture strange, confession doth extort,
More fit mens patience, then the truth to try,
Which (joyn'd with conscience) witnesses report,
Whil'st thoughts depose what hid in hearts did lye:
Men, Angels, divels, not onely them accuse,
But God against themselves, themselves doth use.
All those who are for endlesse wrath prepar'd,
With, and within themselves (poore wretches) bring
Those witnesses, by which should be declar'd,
All ends, or aymes, each thought, or acted thing,
That (ere examin'd) damned, since despair'd,
Their guilty soules a thousand Serpents sting:
Breasts then transparent, hearts are clearely knowne,
And what was hid, to all the world is showne.
That which is clear'd, and by such sure records,
None can impugne, nor controvert in ought;
It were a folly to contest in words,
(Where deeds doe damne) with him who knowes each thought;
Then wit, nor power, no power to purge affords,
All science else to joyne with conscience brought:
Sinnes deeps long smooth'd (when stirr'd) do ugly grow,
And toss'd by monsters of themselves o're-flow.

The hoasts of darkenesse with accustom'd gall,
Mindes which they long have smooth'd to tosse beginne,
And (as their partners) privy unto all,
Cite every circumstance that proves the sinne,
Then urge, and aggravate each forme of fall,
(Since damn'd themselves) so to draw others in:
What refuge (ah) can guilty caitives chuse,
Within whil'st conscience, divels without accuse?
Ere Time dismiss'd, surrender up his charge,
To cleare old reck'nings, cited at this Throne,
Of all earst fayn'd to passe the fatall barge,
He (still a witnesse) tels each action gone;
And like a scroule wrapt up, (which had beene large,)
Past, present, future, all contract'd in one,
Straight (so united) straines his dying flight,
Else stayes accomplish'd ever all in sight.
Vaine mortalls sinnes in which they pleasure take,
Like mountaines them to crush remembred be,
Which swallow'd sweet, but bitter when spu'd backe,
Breed burning Agues, Pests of high degree;
So foule a forme, not Styx it selfe could make,
As in mindes glasse the gazing soule doth see:
The minde a fury, and the thoughts turn'd snakes,
To sting the soule, hels ugly monster shakes.
Those brests like earth-quakes, which rebounding grone,
Charg'd with a monstrous weight, press'd by despaire,
To driry dungeons, would with haste be gone,
Where of hels horrours, many thousands share:
It grieves the griev'd to stand, where any one,
Much more where numbers joyfull doe repaire:
Whil'st mock'd by divels, whose flight no more them blindes,
Their state no helpe, no, nor yet pitty findes.

As Theeves, the object of contempt, and shame,
Though others prove, and they their crime confesse,
Must stand till some their sentence doe proclame,
That righted rigour have lawes power to presse,
So those stain'd troupes whom sinnes black scroules defame,
Must stay a space to apprehend distresse;
Till all their processe formally be made,
That devills them thence to execution leade.
But whil'st pale squadrons shrinke (as pinch'd by feare)
And would themselves, even willingly destroy,
The bands design'd for blisse their Courage reare
Farre from each thought that can the soule annoy,
And (like bright starres triumphing in their spheare)
With shouts burst forth the height of heavenly joy;
Not as made happie, or from trouble free,
But ravish'd with delight their Lord to see.
Whil'st Pilgrimes here amidst afflictions field,
Though sometime foil'd, those still did fight with sinne,
And had of faith a diamantine shield,
Which oft was bruis'd, but never entred in;
Their forts they (forc'd) but for a time did yeeld,
To death by Covenant, life so to beginne;
Then marching hence with all that was their owne,
Left earth to th'earth, remov'd, but not o'rethrowne.
At that last conflict confidently bold,
Besides the earnest which they had before,
Then satisfi'd, their surety rests enroll'd,
Free from defects, not to be question'd more,
And (by good Angels naughty sprits contrould,
Who seeke their Shipwrack, when almost at shoare)
They with the world all worldly troubles leave:
Ere th'earth their bodies, heavens their soules receave.

Thus (farre from feare of any further ill)
Sweet Quiristers enstall'd in state above,
With troupes of Angels keeping concord still,
As then their life, so infinite their love;
Now that his worke their maker may fulfill,
Those come rebodied where they first did move;
Not to be judg'd, no, but to be made cleere,
And that in them Gods goodnesse may appeare.
And he who most affects the fruits of grace,
Ere forc'd to punish, franke to give reliefe,
Whose Clemency of justice takes the place,
As, even for heaven, held of all vertues chiefe,
He did afford, and doth confirme their peace,
To wicked men the first degree of griefe;
Who marke by them what happinesse they misse,
And weigh their torments by upbrayding blisse.
Christ lightning love surveighes that joyfull band,
Since them (even then while as they wretched seem'd)
He did foresee by grace reserv'd to stand,
And could not faile to know whom he redeem'd,
Their honour now (when plac'd at his right hand)
Can by no meanes be high enough esteem'd;
He doth delight in them as his owne broode,
Who had their being onely from his bloode.
That happie squadron is not question'd now,
What ill they did, what good they did neglect,
No circumstance is urg'd, when, where, nor how,
They oft had fail'd, in what God did direct;
He trusts, not tries, not counts, but doth allow;
The Lord in Israell will no fault detect,
But absolutely doth absolve them all,
And from their bondage to a kingdome call.

You whom my Father bless'd (noe more dismai'd)
Come, and enjoy that boundlesse kingdom now,
Which ere the worlds foundations first were lai'd,
By heavens decree hath beene prepar'd for you,
With raies more bright, then are the Sunnes, arrai'd,
Before the Throne you shall with reverence bow;
The height of pleasure which you should possesse,
No tongue of man is able to expresse.
When press'd by famine you me friendly fed,
And did with drinke my scorching thirst allay;
You with your garments mee (when naked) cled,
Whose kindely visits sickenesse could not stay;
No, even in prison, they mee comfort bred,
Thus (Charity extended every way)
Your treasures (kept in heaven) for int'rest gaine,
That you enrich'd eternally remaine.
With sprituall joy each one transported sings,
And (lifted up) to heaven in haste would flie,
But yet this speech so great amazement brings,
That modestly they (as with doubt) replie;
Unbounded Lord, when didst thou lack such things,
That there was cause our willingnesse to try?
Who nothing had but what thou gav'st to us;
How couldst thou need, or we afford it thus?
That which was given (as now I do reveale)
Unto the least of those whom I held deare,
(Saith Christ) deep grav'd with an eternall seale,
As due by me, I do acknowledge here;
Those were the objects prompted for your zeale,
By which your goodnesse onely could appeare;
“Best Magazines for wealth the poore did prove,
“Where, when laid up, no thiefe could it remove.

Thus helpfull almes the off'ring most esteem'd,
Doth men on th'earth, the Lord in heaven content,
How many are (if time might be redeem'd)
Who wish they thus their revenues had spent?
If this on th'earth so profitable seem'd,
What Usurer would for others gaines be bent?
But would the poore with plenty oft supply,
Though they themselves for want were like to die.
Those who (affecting vaine ambitions end)
To gaine opinion muster all in show,
And (prodigall) superfluously spend,
All what they have, or able are to owe,
For pleasures fraile whil'st straying fancies tend,
As Paradise could yet be found below:
Still pamp'ring flesh with all that th'earth can give,
No happinesse more seek but here to live.
Those if not gorgeous who do garments scorne,
And not in warmnesse, but for cost exceed,
Though as of wormes they have the entrails worne,
Wormes shall at last upon their entrails feed;
Those dainty tastes who (as for eating borne)
That they may feast, strive appetite to breed:
And (curious gluttons) even of vilenesse vaunt,
Whil'st surfetting when thousands starve for want.
The worlds chiefe Idoll, nurse of fretting cares,
Dumbe trafficker, yet understood o're all,
States chaine, lifes maintenance, load-starre of affaires,
Which makes all Nations voluntar'ly thrall,
A subtle Sorcerer, alwayes laying snares;
How many (money) hast thou made to fall!
The generall jewell, of all things the price,
To vertue sparing, lavish unto vice.

The foole that is unfortunately rich,
His goods perchance doth from the poore extort,
Yet leaves his brother dying in a ditch,
Whom one excesse (if spar'd) would well support;
And (whil'st the love of gold doth him bewitch)
This Misers misery gives others sport;
“The prodigall Gods creatures doth abuse,
And them the wretch not necessar'ly use.
Those roving thoughts which did at randome soare,
And (though they had conveniently to live)
Would never look behinde, but farre before,
And (scorning goodnesse) to be great did strive;
For (still projecting how to purchase more)
Thus (bent to get) they could not dreame to give.
“Such mindes whom envy hath fill'd up with grudge,
Have left no roome, where charity may lodge.
Ah! who of those can well expresse the griefe,
Whom once this earth did for most happy hold?
Of all their neighbours still esteem'd the chiefe,
Whil'st strai'd opinion ballanc'd worth by gold;
That which to thousands might have given reliefe,
Wrong spent, or spar'd, is for their ruine told;
Thus pleasures past, what anguish now doth even?
We see how hardly rich men go to heaven.
That speech pronounc'd to the elected band,
May make the wicked apprehend their part,
Whose black accounts, ere them the Iudge demand,
Strict conscience offers, summ'd in every heart:
Thus (freez'd with horrour) they dejected stand,
Not hoping help by power, nor yet from Art:
And whil'st their souls are swallow'd up by feare,
This fatall sentence thunders in each eare.

You souls accurst who have provok'd mine ire,
(Detested crue) not worthy of my sight,
Go, get you hence to hels tormenting fire,
Which hath of heat, that which it lacks of light;
Where (with his Angels) Satan must retire,
To be entomb'd in an eternall night:
This as their due was first for them prepard
But (since their Mates) it must with you be shar'd.
When I was hungry, you refus'd me meat;
When I was thirsty, would afford no drink;
When I was naked, cloth'd me not of late;
When I was sick, did of no kindenesse think,
And when a stranger, held me at the gate;
Then when in prison, quite away did shrink:
Thus as compassion never mov'd your minde,
You from henceforth shall no compassion finde.
Though griev'd to look upon his flaming face,
They thus dare tempt, yet without hope to move;
When saw we thee (O Lord!) in any place,
Where our support might have procur'd thy love?
Who had not wish'd that he himselfe might grace,
By helping one descended from above?
If such can here be found, damn'd may they be,
Who would not lodge, feed, clothe, and visit thee.
With fortunes trifles confidently proud,
And puffed up with an applauding noise,
You for the poore (saith Christ) no share allow'd,
Yet choak'd your owne desires with pleasures choice,
Whil'st at your feet they (fainting) humbly bow'd,
Though heard in heaven, you scorn'd to heare their voice;
These men thus us'd who were my members pris'd,
Even me in them you likewise then despis'd.

The sentenc'd squadron sunk below despaire,
At first o're-whelm'd (as if distract'd) remaine;
And have their breasts all torne with stormy care,
Both for their losse, and for th'approaching paine,
Yet mindes perverse their course doth still declare,
Who when condemn'd, do straight accuse, and plaine:
Not that they seek to have the truth be seene,
No, hate, and envy do provoke their spleene.
That which thou hast decreed obey we must,
Nor will we seek (say they) the same to breake,
Yet since as judge most great, so be most just,
Ere damn'd for ever, heare us once to speake;
Ah! abject creatures fetter'd in the dust,
In minde, and body, every way too weake:
Though huge our sinnes, and scarce to be excus'd,
To make us fall too many wayes were us'd.
Each seed must grow as by the labourer sown,
Though earthen vessels, vessels of thy hand,
We were expos'd (to make thy justice known)
Where sinne was strong, a weake neglected band,
And those whom thou selected for thine owne,
(As mercies objects) strengthned were to stand;
Thus as at first made fit for wrath, or grace,
How could thy creatures but direct their race?
How could we scape where dangers were so rife,
Of thy support whom thou didst quite deprive?
Since those whom thou appointed had'st for life,
By thy protection did securely live;
And thou wast still when they succumb'd in strife,
As first to helpe, straight ready to forgive:
And oft in them who have beene guarded thus,
Thou pardon'd more then punish'd is in us.

What way could we, fraile fortresses, defend,
Against Hels Lord with legions bent for ill,
Who even in heaven so proudly durst contend,
Whil'st flying armies shining fields did fill?
And though he fail'd in compassing his end,
Yet here below was refractary still;
Though by this meanes unto confusion brought,
Whil'st bold to vaunt, that once with God he fought.
Our earth-bred Parents when they seem'd most sure,
With vigorous souls, both strong, and free from staine,
These monsters straight their ruine did procure,
And made them lose what they themselves not gaine,
Even Paradise where we had liv'd secure,
Were not for others faults what we sustaine:
Thus long ere borne our processe did begin,
When so made weake, and apt for further sinne.
That roaring Tyrant who still loath'd the light,
Did first tempt thee to have made bread of stones,
Then would have mov'd thee from a Temples height,
By falling headlong to have crush'd thy bones;
Last, on a Mountaine (mounted out of sight)
The worlds great kingdomes offred all at once;
He durst demand that thou should'st him adore,
Then judge by these if his assaults were sore.
Still compassing the earth his prey to spie,
Not onely of him selfe he aym'd at all,
But by direction did some persons plie,
Who were given o're to his invasion thrall;
As when he made proud Achabs Prophets lye,
And train'd him forth where as ordain'd to fall;
What mortall strength could scape to be subdu'd,
When warranted by God, the devill pursu'd?

Thus left by thee, and by him courted still,
Thy grace with-drawn, his favours mustred faire,
How could poore wretches wrestling with selfe-will,
But soone be catch'd by such a subtle snare?
We but through weaknesse, not in spite wrought ill,
Kept from repentance onely by despaire:
Then let not rigour take up mercies place,
Thy greatest glory is in giving grace.
All tendernesse by justice quite exil'd,
Whil'st this their grudge doth indignation move,
That Lambe of God who still hath beene so milde,
Of Iudas Tribe doth then the Lyon prove,
And marking them whom filthie sinnes defil'd,
Like abject swine not looking up above:
At their repining taking just offence,
Perchance his answer may import this sense.
O faulty Fathers, execrable race,
Though by your birth you but of death could boast,
What forfeitures have I restor'd by grace?
You might have gain'd more then your Parents lost,
Some (forcing heaven) with zeale did me embrace,
Who now triumph as a victorious hoast;
To do the like they oft did you exhort,
Whom I (if sought) was ready to support.
For frivolous toyes (if with true joyes compar'd)
You rebels first, then obstinate did prove,
And drunk with vanity, by pleasures snar'd,
Still (mocking mercy) did contemne my love;
Whil'st glu'd to th'earth you for no further car'd,
But how things fraile by pleasure to improve:
And working mischiefe more then words can even,
Rais'd mounts of sinne to barre your selves from heaven.

Though long ere done, your faults were knowne to me,
For which in vaine selfe-love excuses frames,
I them discern'd, but never did decree;
No time, nor place could bound the deities beames;
In contemplation of what was to be,
I from lifes books excluded had your names:
And did foresee, but not fore-doome your parts,
My mercies were more ready then your hearts.
For many wrongs which Israel had indur'd,
The Lord their safety, Pharaohs ruine sought,
As Surgeons for their practise have procur'd
An executed corps, when odious thought,
His heart (pass'd hope) of purpose was obdur'd,
That for our glory wonders might be wrought:
Thus meanes were us'd exempling such a one,
That Achab might by bloud fall from his Throne.
Your wayes were cross'd by many a stumbling block,
But you gave eare to every whispered charme,
Whil'st waving pleasures plastred ruines rock,
Where Satans ambush lay to do you harme;
Nor shall that Traitor at your judgement mock,
Who still his troups against all good did arme:
Come sprits impure, come and receive your due,
You never would repent, but now must rue.
To muse what muster every Monster makes,
I scarce for feare my fancies dare engage;
If every one a hideous bodie takes,
Vile like their minde, to tread this fatall stage:
What Gorgons, Hidras, Lynx, Chimeras, snakes,
By hissing, howling, lowing, roaring rage?
What strange aspects, what intricated sounds,
A dreadfull horrour all in one confounds?

But all such masks (poore jugling tricks) grow stale,
Though they (like Bug-beares) frighted some before,
They now themselves defend, none else assaile,
And terrour take, not give; all them abhorre,
But at this time no person can grow pale,
Since apprehensions power can move no more;
Each doubtfull thing, that day doth fully cleare,
And as first made, all creatures must appeare.
Infernall fiends now no man can affright,
For all the godly whom they oft had brav'd,
Do look upon them, comfortably bright,
As glad to thinke that they from such were sav'd;
And in the wicked anguish (at the height)
Then shows can move, hath deeper thoughts engrav'd:
So that this object all with ease can beare,
“Despaire, and confidence, both banish feare.
Yet marking them by whom so many fell,
Huge exclamations burst abruptly out;
Those vagabonds who did from God rebell,
To tempt (it seemes) still walk'd the world about,
And (bent with guests to grace their driry hell)
Made oft toss'd souls of their salvation doubt:
Who when for heaven they hunting were the way,
Turn'd headlong backward, train'd by them to stray.
Great Naturalists, of Art chiefe masters made,
By starres, and times, they could each course disclose,
And marking still when lifes first powers were spread,
What influence affections did dispose,
Or to what custome education led,
Where every heart for pleasure did repose:
They having found each inclinations square,
As best might fit the same did frame some snare.

When lustfull fancies had enflam'd the minde,
Then liberall beauties charm'd the wand'ring eye;
When to contention one was knowne inclin'd,
Occasions offred were franke wrath to try;
When Avarice did make the judgement blinde,
Straight meanes were us'd that it might never dye;
Thus did they nurse by tempting objects still,
The vice predominant that swayd the will.
This generall course (extended unto all)
Not onely did insensibly betray,
Whil'st souls for pleasure voluntar'ly thrall,
Were (by prevailing) made their enemies prey;
Some whom they did perswade, or else appall,
For feare, or gaine, did to their will give way:
Yet (heaven exchang'd for toyes which th'earth affords)
Were but deluded by ambiguous words.
Those with much passion bitterly declare
How they the devill (by him seduc'd) ador'd,
Who storm'd by sea, and thundred in the aire,
(As he affirm'd) of all the world sole Lord;
That they with him should (when dissolv'd) repaire,
Where they should be with all contentment stor'd:
Thus pointing out how they had beene abus'd,
The great accuser is by them accus'd.
But he who once durst dreame in heaven to raigne,
Whose pride prepostrous (swolne with madnesse) raves
Though that designe attempted was in vaine,
And he throwne headlong to Tartarian caves:
Loe, when at last, even ready to arraigne,
He doth not seek to purge, nor pardon craves;
Though just excuses something might acquite,
But this bursts forth with his accustom'd spite.

Since fled from heaven to pacifie your spleene,
Whose jealousies my fall could onely free,
I of your wrath a minister have beene,
To execute all what you did decree:
Thus all your ends to take effect were seene,
Whil'st still the hate reflected back on me,
To whom the world imputed every ill,
Though all my power was bounded by your will.
That excrement of th'earth, that drosse of dust,
Who wanting courage publick force to try,
Though not so stout, yet did prove as unjust,
And would have beene like thee, as well as I;
He serv'd for nothing but in thee to trust,
Yet for all this, did oft thy name deny:
He broke thy law, had power to do no more,
Yet by his fault is better than before.
From abject basenesse rais'd to such a state,
Till damn'd to die, no bounds could man containe;
Nor was his change by that decree made great,
Since, but by it whence drawne, turn'd backe againe;
Yet though these worms were still (when grac'd) ingrate,
Thou by thy suffering did'st prevent their paine;
Whom though immortall we did mortall see,
That these vile mortalls might Immortall be.
But I who was a fountaine once of light,
Whose envied beauties Angels did commend,
With those the partners of my wretched flight,
Who suffer did because they lov'd their friend;
We might have serv'd to make the heavens more bright,
In indignation whom thou mad'st descend:
And would'st not unto us one fault forgive,
Though sacrific'd, to make great sinners live.

Man (pittied thus) his pardon did procure,
That still his weakenesse might thy power admire,
Where we whose power thou no way could'st indure,
Are persecuted with an endlesse ire;
Imprison us, that thou maist live secure;
Nor will we daigne thy favour to require;
But since defrauded earst of hopes so high,
Must live in anguish since we cannot die.
But this indignity doth make me storme,
In heaven, in th'earth, in th'aire since long so great,
That this poore Creature, this detested worme,
Whom I have troad upon so oft of late,
By partiall hate both ballanc'd in one forme,
Where earst my Slave, must now become my Mate:
Yea, and reduc'd to a more base degree,
I must his Iaylour, and Tormenter be.
This hatefull monster to confusion thrall,
Was once an Angell, innocently white,
And had continu'd so but for his fall,
Whil'st pride and envy did engender spite;
The sprituall substance tainted then with gall,
(Turn'd diabolicke) was extinguish'd quite:
So that thenceforth he nought save ill could doe,
When leaving God, all goodnesse left him too.
He fell of malice, mankind was deceav'd;
That Syre of sinne to nurse it always striv'd,
And since by him that plague was first conceav'd,
Each sinne is his from whom all sinne deriv'd;
What due reward can be by him receav'd,
By whom of heaven so many were depriv'd?
Who guilty is of every mischiefe gone,
Still tempting all, yet tempted was by none.

Yet bent for mischiefe, as he first beganne,
Farre from remorse, thus sparkling poison still,
He dare contest with Christ, outrageing man,
Though barr'd from acting, yet intending ill,
And those his thoughts which rest not suffer can,
(Since obiects want where he might use his will)
Turn'd backe as furies shall himselfe afflict,
Who still on some just vengeance must inflict.
Christ first doth show how he rebell'd above,
From whence expell'd with a deserv'd disgrace,
He straight did tempt the man whom God did love,
As he had done, to make him loose his place;
Then all the meanes (that hate could hatch) did prove,
(No cause first given) to persecute his race;
Though God had told that one of them at last,
Should punish him for all offences past.
Of all his course when casting up the scroules,
They finde each moment did some harme conspire,
That (even when dying) he distress'd weake soules,
So that no end could mitigate his ire;
But Christ the same for ever now controules,
And damnes him straight to hells eternall fire:
Where with his Angels he must alwayes stay,
As long reserv'd in chaines for that great day.
This damned squadron sentenc'd thus to hell,
The godly doe applaud Christs just decree,
And his great judgment with amazement tell,
Which by effects they ravish'd are to see;
Their approbation doth content him well,
As assisters whom he admits to bee.
O what contentment do their soules imbrace,
Who now to judge the rest with him take place!

They now behold some of the wicked sort,
Who straight the worst that hell can yeeld attend,
With whose vaine pride no creature could comport,
Whil'st them for happy worldlings did commend;
Yet were their pleasures but both deare, and short,
Yea often times before themselves did end:
And by their suffrage, now they stand condemn'd,
Whom they as abject many times contemn'd.
Some now with glory eminently sit,
As Christs deare friends, though here of humble race,
Whom they had scorn'd for fellowes to admit,
Or at their Table to have taken place;
Yea, would have thought it for their state not fit,
Them with a signe of least regard to grace:
Yet (marking them so highly honour'd) now
They would be glad still at their feet to bow.
But this distresse one vantage doth unfold,
Though out of time, when it can help no more,
They heare the truth, and all their faults are told,
Which had been still estrang'd from them before,
Whil'st awfull reverence dutious love controul'd,
So that what they affirm'd, their followers swore,
Whom now they blame, that they so base could be,
As bent to please, not daring to be free.
The reprobate (as obstinately ill)
Expostulating blasphemy doe use,
And with their crimes would burden others still,
Not to be clear'd, but that they may accuse;
Not onely doe they taxe Gods spotlesse will,
And Satans fraud, for what it did infuse:
But likewise men as meanes that they were lost,
And of all men they blame their Parents most.

Their whole endeavours every Parent strains,
By fortunes treasures to advance his heirs,
Who many times do loose by guilty gains,
Not (as was hop'd) true helps, but onely snares;
But few advis'dly do respect the pains
Which leade to vertue, and religious cares:
Such fondly are in breeding of their brood,
For goods too carefull, carelesse of their good.
Yet, oft they faile even in that temporall end,
Who seeke by riches to secure their race,
Which by their death doth it at last attend,
And long-sought conquests waste in little space;
Where indigence, and education bend,
Some left more poore, each way for wealth do trace,
Which oftentimes, the Syres damnations price,
But strengneth his that they may follow vice.
Nor is this glistring course the safest way,
By which to stand, one stablish may a state,
Since it oft times the owner doth betray,
To vice and envy, an inviting baite,
So that they thus are tempted more to stray,
Or are o'rethrowne by some mans hopefull hate:
Thus riches swolne with pride, is crush'd by spite,
Or doth (made soft) dissolve the owner quite.
Some foolish fathers with prepostrous love,
(To flattring children too indulgent still)
Even by their favour pestilent doe prove,
Like toying Apes that doe with kindnesse kill,
Who whil'st they them should by their judgement move,
Are carried head-long with the others will:
And must their griefe by any meanes appease,
Not striving to instruct, but how to please.

Their off-springs course, each parent should direct,
And as a patterne by example lead;
Then when they faile in yeelding due respect,
As insolent by too much favour made,
They should rebuke, reforme, and last correct;
For, better then whil'st quicke, to waile them dead:
Who would preserve, must many times annoy,
Where those that dote by sparing doe destroy.
Amongst the rest, some here their moane doe make,
Whom parents strictnesse did from good restraine,
That of their state would no compassion take,
Nor lend the meanes that might their life maintaine;
But (as their coyne) did keep their count'nance backe
For wretchednesse, yet other grounds did faine:
By which in children such ill thoughts were bred,
That they to mischiefe easily were led.
What gallants thus did perish in their prime,
By desp'rate wayes whil'st ventring for reliefe,
And prov'd (though little might have help'd in time)
A bloudy murtherer, or an abject Thiefe;
Till at the last damn'd for some filthie crime,
As venging this, they forc'd their fathers griefe:
(With infamy when com'd to end their race)
Whil'st left an heire unto his heires disgrace?
And many thus dispers'd in forraine parts,
Have sold their souls that they their lives might save,
Who (whil'st by want) expos'd to all mens arts,
When they by ruine onely help could have,
Against their knowledge, and against their hearts,
In spite of conscience, did Religion leave:
And would (though first asham'd) at last grown strong,
Ere scorn'd for changing, justifie a wrong.

O, what contentment shall those Parents finde!
Who for all those whom to the world they bring,
Still mildly rigorous, and austerely kinde,
(Excesses barr'd) do seek each needfull thing,
And do plant early in the tender minde,
The love of God, whose praise at last they sing.
All those with Christ thrice happy now do stand,
Who thus did strive how to increase that band.
Great Magistrates by sundry are accus'd,
For feare, for love, for gaine, or some such end,
Who had that power due by their charge not us'd,
To purge the Land of them who did offend;
Who (when by pardons having them excus'd)
Their faults (as favour'd) seem'd to recommend:
There where examples should with terrour strike,
This did tempt others to attempt the like.
When insolency kills, or doth oppresse,
Those guilty are of each ensuing harme,
Who curbe them not who do the laws transgresse,
Ere indignation generous courage warme;
When parties wrong'd must needs themselves redresse,
Whil'st lack of justice doth them justly arme:
As bound by credit vengeance to procure,
The braving object scorning to endure.
When great offendors Iustice not removes,
And chiefly them by whom to death one bleeds,
Since, given to broils, such persons no man loves,
And each occasion still more mischiefe breeds;
Their safety many a time their ruine proves:
For Malefactors whil'st that their misdeeds
Repentance expiats, made happy so,
Do (as from Beds) to heaven from Scaffolds go.

Thus in like sort they blame some Masters now,
Who them with whom they had by power prevail'd,
Not unto God, but to themselves made bow,
If not to them, not caring how they fail'd;
And did sometimes command, at least allow
Those faults whose fruits to profit them avail'd;
Such soules as pretious should have been preserv'd,
Who were Gods creatures, though that them they serv'd.
But thousands here with anguish curse all those,
Who had in charge their safety to procure,
Yet did their course to fit the time compose,
And errours grosse most grosly did endure;
So that their flocke, when falling never rose,
But suff'red were to live in sinne secure:
And they to heaven could hardly others leade,
Whose selves to court the world all means had made.
Since Robbers are abhorr'd (as beasts prophane)
Who steale but stones which to the Church belong;
Pretended Priests that sprituall states attaine,
Like waspes with Bees, crept holy hives among,
Who wasting honey, poyson give againe;
Are (as farre worse) accus'd for doing wrong;
Since they barre others from ministring grace,
Yet (save in coats and rents) not use the place.
Some who (their hearers swaying where they would)
Could force affections, comfort, and deject,
With learned Lectures eloquently told,
(Though flourish'd faire, not fruitfull in effect)
Are highly tax'd, that they (when thus extold)
What taught to others, did themselves neglect:
And given to vice (brought comparatively in)
They lost that freedome which rebukes for sinne.

And how can any man another move
To flye those dainties that with him are rife,
Who talke of Temperance, yet vaine pleasures love,
Call peace a blessing, whil'st they live at strife,
Praise deeds of Almes, yet avaritious prove,
Chast but in words, not continent in life?
Of such th'excellency is all in Art,
Whil'st vertue but their tongue, vice hath the heart.
Such (following Cains way) like Core exclaime,
By Balaams wages, to deceit inclin'd;
Seas raging waves, still foaming forth their shame,
Clouds void of water, carried with the wind,
Trees without fruit, spots which the faith defame,
As wandring starres whose course hath them design'd:
Of such did Enoch prophesy of old,
That which this judgement doth at last unfold.
Those stumbling blockes, rockes which with ruine swell,
Destructions traynes, obnoxious unto all,
Not onely with the rest, are damn'd to hell,
Whose threatned torments quaking soules appall,
But railing at them many thousands tell,
How they had beene the meanes to make them fall:
“This wretched comfort, the afflicted love,
“That for their faults, they others may reprove.
But though they thus to make their faults seem lesse,
The Lord himselfe, the divels and men doe blame,
All doth afford no helpe for their distresse,
Nor workes it pitty, but augments their shame:
Like anguish doth their fellow-partners presse,
And others doe with shouts their joyes proclaime:
Thus quite neglected in a desp'rate state,
They by contesting, but procure more hate.

As some (by sentence when condemn'd to dye)
By gazing troupes and friends, hemm'd round about,
The executioner attending by,
The Coffin gaping, and the hatchet out,
Th'earth sometimes view, looke sometimes to the sky,
And loth to leave them, doe pretend some doubt:
Which they must cleare, as which concernes their crime,
So glad to gaine some space from posting time.
The wicked thus (it seemes) could wish to stay,
The full performance of Christs great decree,
As loth to leave this (though most fearefull) day,
The last of light that they shall ever see;
The eyes deare objects vanish must away;
No prospect more for them can pleasant be:
No wonder though they seeke to shift a space,
Their dreadfull entry to that driry place.
But such delayes can yeeld their soules no ease,
Who rack'd by conscience, inwardly doe smart;
Save all to suffer, not what to appease,
No other thought can harbour in their heart;
That glorious face which doth the godly please,
To them strange feares with horrour doth impart:
So that their present paine hath so much force,
They scarce imagine any can be worse.
Those who were swift to sinne, to goodnesse slow,
And onely striv'd in folly to exceed,
O! when they finde that which they justly owe,
The endlesse paines which ended joyes doe breed!
They, as they alwaies liv'd like beasts below,
Would gladly now that they were beasts indeed:
To scape the hell whose horrours then are seene,
Who wish their being never to have beene.

When looking backe how traines of treach'rous houres
(As Mines) at unawares had blowne up all,
And blasted oft (ere ripe) fraile pleasures flowres,
Whose time hath beene so short, whose joy so small;
They wonder now how they could spend their pow'rs,
In gayning toyes to such a tyrant thrall,
Which hath them made that happinesse to misse,
Where still eternity abounds in blisse.
All longing mindes for what they much require,
The time appointed, when they doe attend,
Doe wish the space betweene, should straight expire,
And so the like to have some other end;
By giving way to mans infirme desire,
His course contract'd few moments thus would spend:
And thus to gaine some flying fortunes soone,
His life by what he wish'd would be undone.
The loving youth whose brest with thoughts doth burne,
Would lose whole yeares to have one nights delight;
The Merchant waiting for his Shippes returne,
Not onely dayes, but winds as slow doth cite;
The greedy Usurer, so to serve his turne,
(Save Termes for payment) all dayes else would quite:
Since these for pleasure lavish are of life,
What would they doe, whose miseries are rife?
But whil'st too late, the wicked count their dayes,
Which (ere they wakened) vanish like a dreame,
(So to remove the meanes of all delayes)
Their sentence given, an Angell doth proclaime,
The which with feare each count'nance quite dismayes,
And they in darkenesse haste to hide their shame:
From this sad sentence, backe to the Stygian state,
What horrid clamour sounds the last retreat.

If for affaires which mutuall good impart,
A little way till some few houres be runne,
Kinde wives and husbands, doe but chance to part,
A friend from friend, a mother from her sonne,
So sensibly with tender thoughts all smart,
That love is glad to have some moments wonne:
“Priz'd by privations, beings are held deare,
“And presence pretious absence makes appeare.
O blacke divorce, even worse then thoughts can faine!
Griefe past expressing, losse above all bounds,
They now must part who never meet againe,
And straight to goe where horrour most abounds,
From sight of pleasure ravish'd unto paine,
No wonder though they howle forth dolorous sounds:
Who must this cheerefull light with darkenesse change,
Saints joyes first seene, to make their state more strange.
'Twixt Parents, Brethren, Sisters, kindred, friends,
And all those bands which mortals held most deare;
The naturall love (worne out of date) quite ends,
Eternally whil'st separated here;
That strict regard which tender passion bends,
None of the godly now can make draw neere
To any one of those whom damn'd they see,
Though ty'd by nature in the first degree.
The beds deare partners here, each fortunes mate,
Who once (hearts joy) sunke in the bosome slept;
Some dandled children, doted on of late,
Whom with such care too tender Parents kept;
Companions earst who swayd the mindes conceit,
All now are left, and they no teare have wept:
Who praise Gods judgement which this parting wrought:
His love hath swallow'd up each other thought.

But by this meanes the reprobate are mov'd,
To apprehend their misery the more,
Whil'st forc'd to leave them whom so much they lov'd,
Who having seen their happinesse before,
And having heard their losse by them approv'd,
Who once had wish'd them well, but then abhor:
This grieves their soule, till they for anguish groane,
And though to hell, are earnest to be gone.
Whil'st stormy conscience holds invective bookes,
That th'inward sight can onely reade of ire,
O! how doe heavy eyes with lingring lookes,
From worlds last prospects languishing retire?
A windy cloud of sighes, each mouth forth smoakes,
As burning, even ere entring the fire:
They are not blinde, yet better so to be,
Since heaven, nor earth, they never more shall see.
he raging fiends all girt with foaming snakes,
Doe haste them downe together with their charge,
Whereas no Porter any hindrance makes,
They passe hels deeps, attending on no Barge;
This thronging troup at dreadfull earth-quakes quakes,
Whil'st gaping gulphes doe make an entry large:
All looking backe as loth to leave the light,
Are at an instant swallow'd out of sight.


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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 17, 2010



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