Doomes-Day: The Twelfth Houre - Poem by William Alexander
The height of joy the cleared soules attends;
The Earth and Sea suppos'd are new to be;
The new Ierusalem from heaven descends,
Where still to dwell God doth with men agree;
The heavenly blisse, all humane sense transcends,
Which Saints attaine when thus from trouble free;
The joyes of heaven for blessed soules prepar'd,
Are pointed at, but cannot be declar'd.
Th'eares have not heard, nor th'eyes have never seen
The joyes of heaven, more great then can be thought;
To touch my lippes, that stain'd so oft have been,
Lord, from thine Altar, let a coale be brought;
Make me cast off what ever is uncleane,
That sacred grounds with reverence may be sought:
Thy inner Temple let thy servant see,
Where of things holy, the most holy be.
What glorious change doth dazle thus mine eye?
In place of th'earth where miseries are rife,
The torturing racke that did mans patience try,
With wasting travels, and dividing strife,
Who (by these labours) did but dearely buy
Terrestriall things fit for a temporall life:
I see an earth that greater pleasure yeelds,
Then Gentiles dream'd in their Elysian fields.
Time (as for sport) now quickly deckes and spoiles,
This passive ground which alwaies worke requires,
To punish man (as sentenc'd first) with toiles,
The meanes by which his maint'nance he acquires,
Whil'st sometime barren, sometime fertile soiles
Give joy, or griefe, with agues of desires:
Still fighting with the same, till yeeld he must,
A fettred captive humbled in the dust.
We daily see the earth (doe what we can)
How it the cares of wretched worldlings scornes,
(Bloud-colour'd furrowes frowning upon man)
Her vapours poison, and she prickes with thornes;
But now farre from that state which first began,
It (which the Lord as his delight adornes
Is (alwaies faire) much chang'd from what before,
A Virgin now, not violable more.
Then Edens garden growne more glorious farre,
Her fruits she freely in abundance brings,
No more the lists where blustring stormes make warre,
With killing winters, and with quickning springs;
A constant course still kept, no kinde of jarre
Shall then disturbe the generall peace of things:
Milde Zephires gentle breath more sweetly smels,
Then Indian odours, or what most excels.
No threatning cloud, all charg'd with haile-stones lowres;
Then silke dy'd greene the grasse more pleasant growes,
When bath'd with liquid pearles, not blansh'd with showrs,
No raging floud her tender face o'reflowes,
Whose bosome all embroidered is with flowres,
Not natures worke, nor Arts that man bestowes:
The curious knots and plots most prais'd below,
To figure this, can no resemblance show.
There whites perfection, embleme of things pure,
The lightning Lilies, beauties colours reare,
And blushing Roses modestly allure,
As which of shamefastnesse the badge doe beare;
Of Violets the purple doth endure,
Though pale, they seem to hide their heads for feare:
As if extracted out of all the three,
The Gilly-flower a quint-essence may be.
These with all else that here most rare have beene,
In smell or shew, the sent or sight to feed,
Have gorgeous garments of eternall greene,
And eminently emulously breed,
With many sorts that we have never seene,
Which for excellencies these farre exceed:
They (mix'd in workes) mosaically grow,
And yet each part doth every kinde bestow.
Though here no hearb shall need for health, nor food,
Where neither hunger can, nor sicknesse be,
Yet there shall want no creatures that are good,
Since with Gods glory this doth best agree;
His wisedome by his workes is understood,
Whose daily wonders all the world may see:
That earth no doubt we shall most perfect view,
Since (this quite raz'd) he makes the same all new.
O! what excellency endeeres all things?
For store, not use, for pleasure, not for gaine,
Th'earth dainty fruits still in abundance brings,
Which never fade, nor doe fall downe in vaine,
And even as one is pluck'd, another springs;
No leafe is lost, no, nor no way doth staine:
The Orangers, not singular then be,
Where fruit and flourish garnish every tree.
In walkes distinguish'd, trees some grounds may grace,
With divers baits inviting smell and taste,
Then (as indented) differing sorts a space,
In groves grown thicker, would a shadow cast,
And them betwixt the playnes in every place,
Are dainty Gardens which doe alwaies last
In more perfection, then all these attain'd,
Which Art or Nature made, or fancy fayn'd.
Meandring Rivers smoothly smiling passe,
And whil'st they (lover-like) kisse courted lands,
Would emulate the emerauld-like grasse,
All pav'd with pearle, empall'd with golden sands;
To make a mirrour of their moving glasse,
For usuall creatures, Angels come in bands:
The noyse is Musicke, when their course ought chockes,
As mounts of Diamonds, of Rubies rockes.
All Countries purchase now with strangers spoiles,
Even what is daily us'd to cloath, or feed,
And that with many mercenary toiles
Though but superfluous, not the things we need,
But as each place had quintessenc'd all soiles,
It what can be desir'd, doth freely breed:
The honey there from every flower may flow,
And on each Reed taste-pleasing sugars grow.
The Mountaines that so long have hid their store,
Lest avarice their bowels might have torne,
May turne without, what was within before,
Free from deforming rockes, and pestring thorne;
Whil'st silver fin'd from the confining Ore,
And veynes of perfect gold, their breasts adorne,
All cloath'd with metalls thus, they shining bright,
And deck'd with jewels, may seeme flames of light.
O what brave prospect would these hils impart,
If this new earth were to perfection brought,
Not dress'd by Nature, nor by creeping Art,
But by the Lord miraculously wrought,
With rarities enrich'd in every part,
Above the reach of the most curious thought?
The ayre is all but smels of pretious things,
And with melodious sounds, sweet Musicke brings.
It may be all that Eden could afford,
Ere sinnes contagious seed it first did staine,
Shall be with encrease to this earth restor'd,
In more excellency then wit can fayne;
And, O, who knowes but it may please the Lord
To cast the same in other moulds againe,
And creatures make such qualities receive,
As we till glorifi'd, cannot conceive?
As they encreas'd, constrained to disperse,
When people parted farre in sundry bands,
The deeps then onely did afford commerce,
(By sparing feet, all travelling with hands,)
That distant states together might converse,
Firme ground for Ships, a liquid bridge 'twixt lands:
Thus her vast desert, meanes for traffique yeelds,
And with least labour, hath most fertile fields.
But now things to export, or to import,
There needs no Sea, facilitating gaine,
All may their bodies where they please transport,
Not fearing danger, nor not feeling paine;
Yet may some depth, though in another sort,
To decke the earth, an ornament remaine:
Or as a glasse where soules themselves may see,
Whil'st beauties wonders there reflected be.
By contemplation (farre from mortalls led)
I thinke I see a Sea, a moving ground,
(Not from the clouds by secret conducts fed)
In azure fields, as Emeraulds had been drown'd,
Or melted Saphirs on an Amber bed,
Which rockes of Pearle, and Corall banks doe bound:
It seems this heaven, or else like stuffe and forme,
Is layd below, all starres, and free from storme.
How weakely doth my Muse this taske pursue,
With strengthlesse lines such lofty things to sound?
I scarce can comprehend that which I view,
Much lesse can tell, what beauties shall abound,
When as the Lord doth this worne earth renue,
Heavens treasures then embellishing the ground:
My ravish'd judgement quite confounded rests,
Which on each side, variety invests.
But then what soule will daigne to looke so low,
As to take pleasure in so meane a sight,
When they of heaven the heavenly beauties know,
And shine aloft like starres, yea farre more bright,
When they that kingdome then securely owe,
By promise first, last by possessions right:
From which no doubt so great contentment springs,
That they esteeme not of inferiour things.
The stately building, admirably round,
Above the compasse of encroaching houres,
With strength and beauty that doth still abound,
To lodge the happie host of heavenly powers,
The worlds great maker curiously did found,
On fields of Pearle with diamantine Towers;
Which (though most pretious) do no wonder breed,
The forme so farre the matter doth exceed.
The sight-confining-crystall-covered skies,
That mirrour cleere through which in every part
The heaven (as jealous) lookes with many eyes,
To marke mens actions, and to weigh each heart,
That spheare of light whose stately course none tries,
To imitate, or æmulate by Art,
That which to us so gorgeous is in show,
The buildings botome is, the part most low.
The bounds of heaven, the forme, or matter here,
Where God enthron'd with majestie doth sit,
Who durst but aime by mortall types to cleere
(As fondly trusting to deluding wit
Might make his madnesse, nothing else appeere,
And should a crime more monstrous thus commit,
Then thence one (stealing fire) was fain'd to do,
And should for punishment farre passe him too.
Who can (though dayly seene) describe the sky,
By which (poore curtaine) better is enclos'd,
(With mustred beauties courting still the eye)
Though eminent to every age expos'd?
Of Sunne, Moone, Starres, who doth the substance try,
Or how their bodies are for light compos'd?
The very soules by which we reason thus,
Are for their essence strangers unto vs.
Then of heavens mysteries if we should judge,
The work would prove (our makers wrath to tempt)
Ridiculous folly, arrogancy huge,
Presumption still encount'ring with contempt;
And if that we (base wormes whom clay doth lodge)
By scaling Clouds, heavens stately Towers attempt;
To paint their glory, in the least degree,
The Sunne it selfe would scarce a shadow be.
The Lords chiefe house is built of living stone,
But certainely celestiall roomes excell,
Which Christ himselfe prepares for every one,
Where they at last eternally may dwell;
With Majestie there stands his stately throne;
The bounds about doe all with glory swell:
Let this content, no words such worth can eaven,
He who made all the world, made this his heaven.
What sacred vision calls us from the skie,
A mystery with reverence to attend?
From starry Towers the silver streamers flie,
Whil'st th'azure rounds their ports with pompe extend:
A glorious Towne with glistring walls I spie!
Which falls not downe, but softly doth descend,
And straight sweet sounds melodiouslie tell;
This is Gods Tent, he comes with men to dwell.
The gorgeous Citty (garnish'd like a bride)
Where Christ for spouse expected is to passe,
With walles of jasper compass'd on each side,
Hath streets all pav'd with gold, more bright then glasse;
Twelve pretious stones for walkes her waies divide,
Where still there is ingrav'd in lasting brasse,
Of happie twelve the celebrated names;
“An honour due defraying former shames.
Lifes water pure forth from the throne doth flow,
With mutuall joy where Saints and Angels meete;
On every side of it lifes tree doth grow,
Where streames of Nectar beautifie the streete,
With colours like the Sacramentall bow,
To looke on pleasant, and in tasting sweete;
Then from all feare her Citizens to free,
We still his people, He our God will be.
Of that brave City where the Saints doe dwell,
Which ravish'd Iohn by earthly types designes,
Who would the beauty, and perfection tell,
(As he then saw) had need of Angels lines;
But this is certaine, that it must excell,
Where glory still in the Meridian shines;
No shadow there can ever cloud the light,
Where every thing is of it selfe still bright.
Each stone amidst the street doth shine afarre,
And like to lightning, light about bestows;
As in the firmament a radiant starre,
Each just mans beauty now for brightnesse grows;
Then he whose presence darknesse quite must barre,
The life of light, the fountaine whence it flows;
Is (that great day which at a height still stayes)
The Sunne of glory, and the just his rayes.
There none shall need like mortals with complaints,
(Worlds common care) for want of roome to grudge,
But he in granting grace who never faints,
Doth them reward of whom he had beene judge;
And (clear'd from sinne) all justly then call'd Saints,
Doth daigne himselfe (as harbenger) to lodge,
Since gone before (where we shall him embrace)
Of purpose to prepare the promis'd place.
The swelling earth where hils such heights do reare,
To be our jayle, which heaven a space decrees,
Man, cattell, corne, and what these need doth beare,
Whose whole none yet (though still in travell) sees;
It compass'd is by a farre distant spheare,
And that by others, growing by degrees;
Of which in bounds the highest must abound,
A large circumference, an endlesse round.
Heavens store of roomes by Christ is clearly shown,
Yet would not this extended be so farre,
To make each place peculiarly ones owne,
Where one may be, and thence may others barre;
This smels too much of what we here have known,
Which most of minds the harmony doth marre;
These words of mine, and thine, chiefe grounds of strife,
The fountains are of all the toils of life.
Soules glorifi'd may where they please repaire,
Then made secure, that nought can them annoy,
For, no restraint their freedome doth impaire,
Who as his host the Lord of hosts convoy;
As fishes in the Seas, fowls in the ayre,
None claimes a share, but all do all enjoy:
With partiall eyes not making choice of parts,
Save onely God, no object draws their hearts.
Though here strange longings bred by strong desires,
With restlesse passions racke the doubtfull minde,
That it (still flaming with some fancies fires)
Is by free choice affectionately pin'd;
Now fully pleas'd with all that it requires,
Each soule in heaven perfections height doth finde:
Where neither want, nor wearinesse molests,
All had ere wish'd, no expectation rests.
Calm'd are the tumbling waves of stormy cares,
(Whil'st frustrated of what they do attend)
Which tosse poore soules on rocks of black despaires,
That shunning shallow shelfes, with straits contend;
No thirst of knowledge flattering ease impaires,
A groundlesse deep, a circle without end:
Since they of good things have continuall store,
And (knowing all) do need to learne no more.
I wonder much how any man can doubt,
That this our knowledge should continue still,
As if we were (all memory worne out)
Depriv'd of power, or else deprav'd in will;
Shall we not know who compasse us about?
No beings are quite raz'd save onely ill;
The very earth that stain'd so oft hath beene,
Is not abolish'd, but made new, and cleane.
No doubt these spirituall parts must still remaine,
Not rais'd but rectifi'd, in value more,
Else faith (too credulous) doth beleeve in vaine,
That all shall rise in substance as before;
If these dissolve, and that we get againe,
New gifts for them from the eternalls store;
Then should the meanes by which at last we move,
(No resurrection) a creation prove.
These faculties that of themselves were good,
In soules from heaven as their chiefe wealth infus'd,
Had man (as first created) constant stood,
Were excellent when innocently us'd,
But since that sinne did sway vaine mortals brood,
To serve their lusts, these treasures are abus'd;
Yet when renu'd, and to perfection brought,
By them then earst farre more may now be wrought.
Mans Father first ere blinded by his fall,
(Free from Informers) whil'st he liv'd alone,
Knew Evah clearly whom he straight did call
Flesh of my flesh, and of my bone the bone;
And Peter knew (though to fraile dust still thrall)
Two that were buried many ages gone;
Let Tabernacles, Lord, here builded be
For Moses, for Elias, and for thee.
This pretious jewell (by wits toils refin'd)
Which joynes with judgement to determine strife,
The end of travell, treasure of the minde,
The spoils of Paradise, the price of life,
Whose light to get (as ignorant) when blinde,
Our simple Father, and his curious wife
Did suffer death, yet grudg'd not at their crosse,
As if that knowledge recompenc'd their losse.
This heavenly wealth one with much toyle attaines,
By reading, acting, and observing still,
And then (though slowly wax'd) it quickly waines,
Which long ere perfect doth begin to spill;
Rage first doth burne, last, rheumes do drowne the brains,
Youth knowledge scornes, it doting age doth kill:
None can engrosse, nor yet exhaust this store,
But all have by degrees, some lesse, some more.
Loe, that which made so slow a progresse here,
By childhood, folly, or by errour staid,
Now (wholly perfect) doth at first appeare,
Not in fraile lodgings by grosse organs sway'd;
The happie souls from all corruption cleare,
Do shine like starres, with righteousnesse array'd;
And bodies glorifi'd do enter in,
Not bow'd by sicknesse, nor abus'd by sinne.
If on the face one now may reade the minde,
In characters which griefe, or joy imparts,
The same reflected (then) we clearly finde,
By sympathie the secrets of all hearts;
If Moses face upon the mountaine shin'd,
Much more when glorifi'd these other parts,
Then there must prove, where nothing can be foule,
All eye the body, and the eye all soule.
Then pleasures height is onely in the Lord,
Who ill extirpates, what is good extends;
Yet how could this but just delight afford?
(Though publick zeale presse downe all private ends)
To see at last with like contentment stor'd,
Them whom we lov'd, wife, children, servants, friends:
Communicated joyes (as sowen) do grow,
Whil'st increase comes by that which we bestow.
All must rejoyce to see the godlys good,
Though for the wicked no man shall be griev'd;
At least this is (if rightly understood)
A pleasant errour, and may be beleev'd;
When seeing them with whom long toss'd we stood,
Till by the Lord (who heard our cryes) reliev'd
Shall we not joyne in him with mutuall joy,
Whil'st it then comforts, which did earst annoy?
A senselesse pourtrait curious to acquire,
We seek the shadow of a vanish'd show,
If thought like them (rapt with celestiall fire)
Whose deeds, or words, were singular below;
Yea, even of Ethnicks, if they did aspire,
By morall vertues fames applause to owe:
And every monument do much esteeme,
Which did from death such memories redeeme.
Who would not purchase, though with charge, and strife
A lively peece that would resemble right,
Gods earth-begotten sonne, his selfe-borne wife,
When both were happie, and at beauties height?
Farre more of his owne Sonne, the Lord of life,
Man deifi'd, God mortall made, whose sight
The Fathers wish'd, ere forc'd from hence to flie,
And which made Simeon straight grow glad to dye.
Who then can thinke with what exceeding joy,
We shall our Saviours selfe, our Soveraigne see,
Who suffered death, that he might death destroy,
And us poore captives from that Tyrant free?
Whil'st all these Saints in person him convoy,
Whose pictures wish'd, would now so pretious be:
O! what a holy host together throngs,
To magnifie the Lord with heavenly songs?
We at that time not onely shall behold,
Milde Moses there, just Samuel, and the best
That for the cause of God have beene so bold,
Whil'st sacred fury breath'd out of their breast,
But even with them that are so much extold,
We shall be partners of eternall rest,
And spying with what zeale they act their parts,
The greater ardour may enflame our hearts.
As earst on th'earth he did divinely use,
That man thrice sacred, Prophet, Poet, King,
Whil'st heavenly furie doth high thoughts infuse,
Then to his Harp an holy Hymne may sing,
Thrice happie thou that thus imploy'dst thy Muse,
Whose pen, it seemes, was from an Angels wing,
Since thy harmonious sounds still mount, and move
With melodie to charme the spheares above.
This is the way to have eternall lines,
That all the hosts of heaven may them approve,
Whose loftie flight no fatall date confines,
Whil'st fraughted onely with a sprituall love,
This is a subject which all else declines,
And in request for Quiristers above,
Which must these Authors all immortall make,
That for Gods glory thus a course do take.
The Prophets, and the Patriarchs rejoyce,
To see the things fulfill'd which they fore-told,
And all that were the Lords peculiar choice,
To whom he did his mysteries unfold,
There many millions multiply a voice,
And above measure do a measure hold;
These whom the Lambe of God as his doth seale,
Are kindled all with love, and burne with zeale.
The noble Martyrs (Champions of the faith)
Who straight when challeng'd, scorn'd both force, and art,
(Encount'ring bravely with a Tyrants wrath)
Whose chearfull countenance smilingly did smart;
Then as inviting, not avoyding death,
(Their drosse first burn'd) well purifi'd did part;
Not out of haste to have their torments done,
But that in heaven they so might settle soone.
They now do reape the fruits of former toils,
All crown'd with starres, like Phœbus in the face,
In white, perchance adorn'd with Princes spoyls,
Whom they (whil'st raging) did o'recome in peace;
Of all their bodies drawn from sundry soils,
The wounds for pompe do give the greatest grace,
Which shine, as Rubies set in Crystall rings,
And make them to be like the King of Kings.
Triumphing victors entring heaven with state,
A golden Trumpet may their praise proclaime,
And some great Angell all their deeds dilate,
Which glory doth reward, not envi'd fame;
Then when enstall'd, where eminent in seat,
The voice of thousands celebrates their name:
With eager eares attending their discourse,
Though knowing all, from them to heare their course.
If there admitted, as whil'st here we live,
With mutuall pleasure to exchange our mindes,
Oh what contentment would that conference give,
For sweet variety of sundrie kindes!
Nor need we feare that some would fraud contrive:
Base hate, nor flattery, there no object findes.
And if they would (as none can do in ought)
The breast transparent would bewray each thought.
There one from Adam, Edens state might heare,
How large it was, and in what region plac't,
What pleasures did most singular appeare,
What hearbs, what fruits, or flowers the garden grac'd;
How Evah first was knowne, why straight held deare,
And if he there that new-borne Bride imbrac'd:
What these two trees were like in forme, or hew,
Where life, and knowledge, vegetable grew.
Who would not gladly know (before he err'd)
His first designes, what thoughts he entertain'd,
Each circumstance how he with God conferr'd,
How will (by him not rein'd) above him raign'd,
If there to stay, or where to be preferr'd,
Then in what forme the Serpent Satan fain'd;
What taste the Apples had, what change, both finde,
By sight, and knowledge, when grown weake, and blinde.
He tels how short a time their blisse did last,
And seem'd thereafter but a vanish'd dreame;
How Angels them from Paradise did cast,
Where first their souls were seiz'd by feare, and shame;
Then through what lands these banish'd pilgrims past,
And (forc'd to labour) what rude tools they frame:
What race they had, what progresse mankinde made,
And all their crosses till that both were dead.
When Adam ends, then Noah calls to minde
The History of all before the Flood,
And how the Arke could hold of every kinde,
One of each sexe, to propagate their brood,
How it was well contriv'd, for wave, and winde,
To void their excrements, and keep their food:
And whil'st the Seas did wash the earth from sinne,
How that small remnant spent their time within.
He can report the worlds new growth againe,
Which at the first no living penne renownes;
How every person did a house attaine,
The house a village, villages grew townes;
Then Provinces all peopled did remaine,
And straight Ambition mounted up to Crownes;
That in his time (though all was once his owne)
The Floud was quite forgot, and he not knowne.
We there may learne how that the Lord of old,
By dreames and visions did declare his will;
How all who crav'd, had straight his Counsell told,
By Vrim, Thummim, and by Ephod still;
And well they might to prosecute be bold,
What Prophets first secur'd by sacred skill,
Whom then (though great) the world with scorne did view,
For till first dead, men never get their due.
This by Helias there may be resolv'd,
How he and Enoch were from hence estrang'd;
If wing'd with flames, or in some cloud involv'd,
(No usuall guests) along'st the ayre they rang'd;
If they their bodies kept, or were dissolv'd,
Or in what forme to scape, corruption chang'd:
Christs Ushers thus, their passage serves to prove,
How we with glory once may mount above.
Who try'd each state, both best, and worst, a space,
The spite of Satan, mercies of the Lord,
In body wounded, spoil'd of goods, and race,
By heaven abandon'd, by the world abhorr'd,
By wife, and friends accus'd, as falne from grace,
Yet what was lost had (multipli'd) restor'd:
With many other doubts he this can cleare,
How he (a Gentile) then to God was deare.
If one would know the deeps of Naturall things,
How farre that wisedome could her power extend;
What usuall issue every cause forth brings,
The meanes most apt to compasse any end;
The wisest then of men, or yet of Kings,
Whose spatious judgement all could comprehend,
Great Solomon such mysteries can teach,
As all Philosophers could never reach.
Of these ten Tribes that were the Gentiles prey,
We then may learne the course how good, or ill,
If they with them incorporated stay,
Or if that there the Lord their race did kill,
Or else from thence did leade them all away,
By Seas, and deserts, working wonders still:
As yet reserv'd their ancient lands to gaine,
If he by them would show his power againe.
As from the Ancients that best understood,
We there may learne the grounds whence knowledge springs,
So they may know from us (a greater good)
What their beginnings to perfection brings;
Who (babe-like first) were nurs'd with tender food,
By Types, and figures, masking sprituall things,
Whil'st temporall blessings entertain'd their faith,
Who scarcely knew true grace, were fear'd for wrath.
The ancient Fathers of her infant state,
For constancy by persecution crown'd,
The Churches progresse chearfully relate,
In spite of Tyrants which no power could bound;
Which wax'd in trouble, bath'd by bloud, grew great,
Till all the world behov'd to heare her sound;
And where on earth long militant before,
She now triumphs in heaven for evermore.
The greatest comfort that on earth we finde,
Is to converse with them whose gifts we love,
So variously to recreate the minde,
And that this meanes our judgment may improve,
Loe here are all by sacred pennes design'd,
Whose parts not onely men, but God did move:
Some of each science can all doubts resolve,
Which wits in errours maze did oft involve.
But what great folly to imagine this?
Since here each man can every thing discerne,
When all perfection full accomplish'd is,
And nothing rests more requisite to learne;
The Lord such qualities, as onely his,
Doth freely give to them whom they concerne:
None needs to borrow, as penurious now,
The Lord to all doth liberally allow.
He earst would have the Priests of each degree,
That at his Altar were to serve approv'd,
From all deformities by Nature free,
With bodies sound, as fit to be belov'd;
Perchance because all else by custome be,
(As obvious to scorne) too quickly mov'd;
Where his should have what others would allure,
A Count'nance calme, affections that are pure.
And shall not these appointed to have place,
(Triumphing still) in the eternall towne,
The new Ierusalem, the seate of grace,
Whom Christ with glory doth as conq'rours crowne,
Shall they not have true beauty in the face,
Which never blush shall burne, nor teare shall drowne?
There every member perfect made at length,
Shall have proportion, comelinesse and strength.
These eyes that here were lock'd up from the light,
And scarce had beene acquainted with the day,
Then (lightning glory) shall appeare more bright
Nor is the Mornings torch, which rayes array;
They that were deafe shall heare each accent right;
Some who were dumbe, shall then Gods praise display:
Who all the bodie doth to strength restore,
That with defects had tainted beene before.
They whom sterne death when infants did surprise,
And even ere borne abortives did pursue,
What such might be though none can now surmise,
Till demonstration prove conjectures true,
Shall at the last in the same stature rise,
The which to them potentially was due:
(Their litle dust then all extended soone,)
A moment doth what yeares should earst have done.
Exhausted age (Times prey) that hath runne post,
Whose eyes as if asham'd (when fail'd) sinke in,
Which onely serves of what hath beene to boast,
With shaking joynts, and with a withered skin,
Shall then revive, recovering what was lost;
All is restor'd that forfeited for sinne;
And Phenix-like new beauties all display,
“They must be perfect that in heaven can stay.
Babes from the Cradle carried to the ground,
Who did not live to get, nor give offence;
The ag'd by weakenesse that to bed were bound,
Of lifes three kinds scarce keeping that of sense;
Both rysing now may of these yeares be found,
Which Christ might count when as he parted hence:
Or else they shall all in that state be seene,
For health and beauty, which their best hath beene.
Our bodies shall not then as now grow grosse,
(Exulting humors tending to excesse)
Nor can extenuate, since free from crosse,
Which might distemper, alter, or make lesse;
They have no excrements, corruptions drosse,
Which doth our vilenesse palpablie expresse:
For in that Citty nothing shall be seene,
That either is infirme, or yet uncleane.
What wonder must the shining substance move,
Of sprituall bodies, when divinely borne?
Iudge by some parts what all the rest may prove,
This onely uselesse fleece from Creatures shorne,
(More bright then are Berinthia's haires above)
As beames the Sunne shall every head adorne;
Then pretious stones for ornament most meete,
More glorious are the nailes of hands and feete.
The face, heavens frontispice, the braines chiefe spheares,
Where intellectuall powers their course doe sway;
The eyes are starres, externall orbes the eares,
Lips, mornings blushing flames, cheeks, lightning day;
Legs, not their burden, them their burden beares,
The Armes, like Angels wings, through th'ayre doe stray,
Man skie-like bright, but still from tempest free,
(Earst little world) a little heaven may be.
As Adam once (whil'st naked) free from sinne,
Was not asham'd to walke before the Lord,
So shall the Saints (when glory doth begin)
Be to the same integrity restor'd;
No barenesse, robes, but brightnesse deckes the skinne,
Which no way else could be so much decor'd:
For, nakednesse when shining every where,
Is purenesse, and not impudency there.
The rayments held most rich for silke or gold,
Would but deforme, and no way could adorne,
Nor shall we need a guard against the cold,
Of things too oft superfluously borne;
As simple, sluggish, poore, none can unfold
What scandall can procure, contempt, or scorne:
No weakenesse is that any covering needs,
But all are shown, both bodies, thoughts, and deeds.
The bodies beauties that are thus expos'd,
Though both the sexes haunt together must,
(Nought can take fire, where fire is not enclos'd)
Shall neither snare, nor tempt the minde with lust;
Since generations period is impos'd,
We leave such thoughts when rising with the dust:
All carnall fancies quite extinguish'd rest,
And sprituall love doth ravish every brest.
As naked Angels innocently live,
With pure affections, quite estrang'd from ill,
And covet nothing, but doe onely give
To God attendance, and obey his will;
So shall we then with mutuall ardour strive,
(All concupiscence past) whom zeale doth fill
To love the Lord, and still his praise to sing,
Not capable of any other thing.
Though beauty thus a blessing doth remain,
And (made immortall) not by time surpris'd,
Yet this even here is but the least we gaine,
A quality, no vertue, meanely priz'd,
We shall more strength and nimblenesse attaine,
Then ever hath been found, or yet devis'd,
Not vex'd to conquer, from invasion free,
We cannot wish but that which straight shall be.
The greatest cause of wearinesse below,
By building Babels of confounding doubt,
(To search out truth still making us too slow)
Is this grosse burden that we beare about;
So that whil'st bent what is remote to know,
From this strict jayle, still strugling to be out:
What labour hath the interrupted minde,
Though sleep arrest, which scarce can be confin'd?
But when the Lord doth these defects supply,
By which the bodies pow'rs are thus impair'd,
As Planets keep their course above the sky,
They move, as bright and swift, and when compar'd,
To Angels every where like them they flye,
By secret vertue, spritually prepar'd:
No weakenesse then the bodies can controule,
And they in motion second may the soule.
Infirmities abandon'd all with sinnes,
The body as it would past faults defray,
To serve the soule, obsequiously beginnes,
Which us most gorgeously doth then array,
To Fowles as feathers, to the Fishes finnes,
Affording meanes to further still their way:
The bodies then (as soules direct) doe move,
And have no stop below, nor yet above.
No painefull sicknesse, nor consuming sore,
Which now with new alarmes us oft invest,
Shall vexe the soule with anguish any more,
As charging this fraile fort to yeeld her guest,
Nor shall she then, with passions (as before)
Of her deare partner interrupt the rest;
With mutuall pleasures multipli'd in force,
This second marriage nothing can divorce.
Through heaven and earth (though travelling o're all)
In these two volumes, Gods great workes to see,
No danger is that can their course appall,
Nor can they faint who still in triumph be,
And may themselves in stately seats enstall,
As Kings, or Priests, or greater in degree:
Whil'st they (all light) see all about them light,
Immortall Minions in their makers sight.
O! happy soules, who fil'd with heavenly things,
There for your mates continually shall have
The holy Prophets, Patriarchs, and Kings,
Apostles, Martyrs, all whom Christ did save;
This to my minde so great contentment brings,
Words cannot utter what my thoughts conceive:
But what more good can be surmiz'd then this?
The Lord their King, and heaven their kingdome is.
Nor were it much such happinesse to finde,
But quickly might make all our pleasures vaine,
If to decay at any time design'd,
We possibly were capable of paine,
The feare of that would still torment the minde,
Which true contentment thus could not attaine:
“For the more pretious that a treasure proves,
“The greater care the jealous owner moves.
All that could perish, to confusion past,
Extinguish'd time no period can pretend,
No expectation now accounts shall cast,
Whose progresse doth on Natures course depend:
All then expir'd, or perfected, at last,
We have no ends, nor nothing then can end:
But all things there from bounds and measure free,
Eternall are, and infinite must be.
We neither then can doe, nor suffer ill,
Nor need wee feare (as earst before) to fall.
The man who first had Paradise at will,
Made all who followed by his forfeit thrall;
The man who first tooke heaven (there raigning still)
Our great Redeemer hath secur'd us all:
So that obeying what he doth command,
Though Angels fell, wee shall be sure to stand.
The tyrants here that most disturbe our rest,
Are viprous passions, Parricides unkinde,
Though breeding them, who burst out through the breast,
A wretched Parent by her off-spring pin'd,
Whil'st sometime longings sweetly doe molest,
And sometime feares doe shrewdly vexe the minde,
Which alwaies like a Sea some storme must tosse,
Whil'st wishing what we want, or fear'd for losse.
But now a never interrupted blisse,
With constant joy doth full contentment give,
While as the minde not bended, nor remisse,
Can neither wish, nor feare, nor doubt, nor strive,
It having all, what had can never misse,
And (satisfi'd) with confidence doth live:
For (still in peace) we nought save God can love,
And him we have eternally above.
Whil'st thus made free from all that can annoy,
To thinke what pleasures soules shall then attaine,
Though all the world their wits in one employ,
Their course would prove ridiculously vaine,
That which was sow'd in teares, is reap'd with joy,
Who here seem'd base, shall then with glory raigne:
This, ravish'd Paul, could by no meanes expresse,
Who got a glance of what we shall possesse.
Yet shall not all be in like manner grac'd,
But may for glory differ in degree,
Some, shining brighter, or else higher plac'd,
Then all the rest more eminent may be,
And may by Christ more kindely be embrac'd,
Whose love (not merited) must needs rest free.
By Iohns example, this on earth was prov'd,
Who on his bosome slept as best belov'd.
The Lord even here doth in this course delight,
All sorts distinguish'd both in Church and State,
The Angels that, above, their charge acquite,
As is their ranke and turne, in order wait:
The Elders (plac'd in chayres) were cloath'd in white,
The holy Towne, by Tribes, names every gate:
And these are said of all to shine most bright,
Who by their meanes brought others to the light.
Of all that are in heavens great booke enrol'd,
The meanest man, though many goe before,
More pleas'd then wretches can be made by gold,
Shall envy none; nor can he covet more:
Some vessels as the big abound in store,
When having all that they are fit to hold,
And every soule that once the heavens receive,
Hath as much pleasure as it can conceive.
Here with their gifts, none fully pleas'd doth prove,
But seeke that Nature may be help'd by Art,
Yet, with themselves all are so much in love,
That though in others they may praise some part,
I know not what selfe-flatt'ring thoughts doe move,
There is not one that would exchange his heart:
“Our owne intentions still we perfect finde;
“Their fortunes many, none would change their minde.
Then, this farre rather may beliefe procure,
That those in heaven (how ever in degree,
Free from defects) still joyfull, and secure,
Can nothing wish, enjoying all they see,
And so for ever certaine to endure,
Then what they are, no other way would be:
They true contentment absolutely gaine,
Which wanting here, is cause of all our paine.
This vaste triangle, this most huge small thing,
Lifes quaking center, still first quicke, last kill'd,
Which all the world within it selfe can bring,
Yet like an empty gulfe cannot be fil'd,
From whence deep flouds of raging thoughts do spring,
By which the peace of mans short space is spill'd:
The ground of courage, all the bodies strength,
It still is pin'd, till spent by paine at length.
Or else this sparke, though under cloud; yet cleare,
(As rayes the Sunne) which doth the deity show,
And to the same still striving to draw neare,
From whence we are, would gladly make us know,
In heaven a native, and a stranger here,
As in antipathie with things below,
Till once arriv'd, where it doth alwaies tend;
“Cares lingring progresse cannot have an end.
But when the Lord, his (farre from what before,
Whil'st they on th'earth (as worms) were earst despis'd)
From forfeiture entirely shall restore,
Amongst the blessed bands to be compris'd,
Then they themselves could wish, they shall have more,
Or yet then could by mankinde be devis'd:
Imaginations reach this farre exceeds,
And with contentment an amazement breeds.
There pleasures height no words can serve to tell,
Since for their measure infinitely great,
Whose qualities (as quint-essenc'd) excell,
For time, eternall, which no bounds can date,
The place is heaven, where they with God doe dwell,
And are advanc'd to a most glorious state:
Like man and Angels earst, to sinne not thrall,
And certifi'd that they shall never fall.
These mysteries no mortals wit can try,
Nor could corruption with their light comport;
Which, though like Paul admitted them to spy,
None could conceive, farre lesse could them report:
The Ancients all were straight afraid to dye,
When having seene the Lord in any sort:
And of such things who capable would prove,
Must first be glorified, as guests above.
This is the joy that every soule doth fill,
That they the Lord continually shall see,
With humble reverence waiting on his will,
To minister, as marshal'd in degree;
And, there contemplating his glory still,
All zeale and love, as cloath'd with flames, shall be:
And him who did them thus so highly raise,
Celestiall Quiristers, not pray, but praise.
Where we were earst a prey to cold and heat,
Mechanickly engag'd to abject toyles,
Whose bread behov'd to have a sawce of sweat,
Who for apparell rob'd each creatures spoyles,
Whil'st compassing the Lambs majesticke feat,
That every breast with sacred ardour boyles:
As needlesse then this week for worke removes,
And all for God an endlesse Sabbath proves.
We shall Gods people be, and he our Lord,
Who comes with us continually to stay,
(Death, griefe, nor paine, no more) with goodnesse stor'd,
He from our eyes shall wipe all teares away,
And of life's water freely shall afford
To them who thirst, that they no more decay:
Whom (all accomplish'd) we may justly call
The first, the last, the three, the one, the all.
Thou that didst guide me through such divers grounds,
Imparting strength to reach my wished port,
Here make me rest amid'st this heavenly bounds,
With Saints and Angels freely to resort,
That (these my notes accorded with their sounds)
I by experience clearely may report
The state of heaven, to magnifie thy name,
And there thy praise eternally proclame.
Comments about Doomes-Day: The Twelfth Houre by William Alexander
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