Verse > Anthologies > Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. > Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c.
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Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C.  1921.
 
Richard Crashaw
 
103. Saint Mary Magdalene
or
The Weeper
 
        HAIL, sister springs! 
      Parents of sylver-footed rills! 
      Ever bubling things! 
      Thawing crystall! snowy hills, 
Still spending, never spent! I mean         5
Thy fair eyes, sweet MAGDALENE! 
  
        Heavens thy fair eyes be; 
      Heavens of ever-falling starres. 
      'Tis seed-time still with thee 
      And starres thou sow'st, whose harvest dares  10
Promise the earth to counter shine 
Whatever makes heavn's forhead fine. 
  
        But we'are deceived all. 
      Starres indeed they are too true; 
      For they but seem to fall,  15
      As Heavn's other spangles doe. 
It is not for our earth & us 
To shine in Things so pretious. 
  
        Upwards thou dost weep. 
      Heavn's bosome drinks the gentle stream,  20
      Where th'milky rivers creep, 
      Thine floates above; & is the cream. 
Waters above th'Heavns, what they be 
We'are taught best by thy TEARES & thee. 
  
        Every morn from hence  25
      A brisk Cherub somthing sippes 
      Whose sacred influence 
      Addes sweetnes to his sweetest Lippes, 
Then to his musick. And his song 
Tasts of this Breakfast all day long.  30
  
        Not in the evening's eyes 
      When they Red with weeping are 
      For the Sun that dyes, 
      Sitts sorrow with a face so fair, 
No where but here did ever meet  35
Sweetnesse so sad, sadnesse so sweet. 
  
        When sorrow would be seen 
      In her brightest majesty 
      (For she is a Queen) 
      Then is she drest by none but thee.  40
Then, & only then, she weares 
Her proudest pearles; I mean, thy TEARES. 
  
        The deaw no more will weep 
      The primrose's pale cheek to deck, 
      The deaw no more will sleep  45
      Nuzzel'd in the lilly's neck; 
Much rather would it be thy TEAR, 
And leave them Both to tremble here. 
  
        There 's no need at all 
      That the balsom-sweating bough  50
      So coyly should let fall 
      His med'cinable teares; for now 
Nature hath learn't to'extract a deaw 
More soveraign & sweet from you. 
  
        Yet let the poore drops weep  55
      (Weeping is the ease of woe) 
      Softly let them creep, 
      Sad that they are vanquish't so. 
They, though to others no releife, 
Balsom may be, for their own greife.  60
  
        Such the maiden gemme 
      By the purpling vine put on, 
      Peeps from her parent stemme 
      And blushes at the bridegroomes sun. 
This watry Blossom of thy eyn,  65
Ripe, will make the richer wine. 
  
        When some new bright Guest 
      Takes up among the starres a room, 
      And Heavn will make a feast, 
      Angels with crystall violls come  70
And draw from these full eyes of thine 
Their master's Water: their own Wine. 
  
        Golden though he be, 
      Golden Tagus murmures tho; 
      Were his way by thee,  75
      Content & quiet he would goe. 
So much more rich would he esteem 
Thy sylver, then his golden stream. 
  
        Well does the May that lyes 
      Smiling in thy cheeks, confesse  80
      The April in thine eyes. 
      Mutuall sweetnesse they expresse. 
No April ere lent kinder showres, 
Nor May return'd more faithfull flowres. 
  
        O cheeks! Bedds of chast loves  85
      By your own showres seasonably dash't. 
      Eyes! nests of milky doves 
      In your own wells decently washt. 
O wit of love! that thus could place 
Fountain & Garden in one face.  90
  
        O sweet Contest; of woes 
      With loves, of teares with smiles disputing! 
      O fair, & Freindly Foes, 
      Each other kissing & confuting! 
While rain & sunshine, Cheekes & Eyes  95
Close in kind contrarietyes. 
  
        But can these fair Flouds be 
      Freinds with the bosom fires that fill you! 
      Can so great flames agree 
      Æternall Teares should thus distill thee! 100
O flouds, o fires! o suns, ô showres! 
Mixt & made freinds by love's sweet powres. 
  
        Twas his well-pointed dart 
      That digg'd these wells, & drest this wine; 
      And taught the wounded HEART 105
      The way into these weeping Eyn. 
Vain loves avant! bold hands forbear! 
The lamb hath dipp't his white foot here. 
  
        And now where're he strayes, 
      Among the Galilean mountaines, 110
      Or more unwellcome wayes, 
      He 's followed by two faithfull fountaines; 
Two walking baths; two weeping motions; 
Portable, & compendious oceans. 
  
        O Thou, thy lord's fair store! 115
      In thy so rich & rare expenses, 
      Even when he show'd most poor, 
      He might provoke the wealth of Princes. 
What Prince's wanton'st pride e're could 
Wash with Sylver, wipe with Gold? 120
  
        Who is that King, but he 
      Who calls't his Crown to be call'd thine, 
      That thus can boast to be 
      Waited on by a wandring mine, 
A voluntary mint, that strowes 125
Warm sylver shoures where're he goes! 
  
        O pretious Prodigall! 
      Fair spend-thrift of thy self! thy measure 
      (Mercilesse love!) is all. 
      Even to the last Pearle in thy threasure. 130
All places, Times, & objects be 
Thy teare's sweet opportunity. 
  
        Does the day-starre rise? 
      Still thy starres doe fall & fall; 
      Does day close his eyes? 135
      Still the FOUNTAIN weeps for all. 
Let night or day doe what they will, 
Thou hast thy task; thou weepest still. 
  
        Does thy song lull the air; 
      Thy falling teares keep faithfull time. 140
      Does thy sweet-breath'd prayer 
      Up in clouds of incense climb? 
Still at each sigh, that is, each stop, 
A bead, that is, A TEAR, does drop. 
  
        At these thy weeping gates, 145
      (Watching their watry motion) 
      Each winged moment waits, 
      Takes his TEAR, & gets him gone. 
By thine Ey's tinct enobled thus 
Time layes him up; he 's pretious. 150
  
        Not, so long she lived, 
      Shall thy tomb report of thee; 
      But, so long she greived, 
      Thus must we date thy memory. 
Others by moments, months, & yeares 155
Measure their ages; thou, by TEARES. 
  
        So doe perfumes expire. 
      So sigh tormented sweets, opprest 
      With proud unpittying fires. 
      Such Teares the suffring Rose that 's vext 160
With ungentle flames does shed, 
Sweating in a too warm bed. 
  
        Say, ye bright brothers, 
      The fugitive sons of those fair Eyes 
      Your fruitfull mothers! 165
      What make you here? what hopes can tice 
You to be born? what cause can borrow 
You from those nests of noble sorrow? 
  
        Whither away so fast? 
      For sure the sordid earth 170
      Your Sweetnes cannot tast 
      Nor does the dust deserve your birth. 
Sweet, whither hast you then? o say 
Why you trip so fast away? 
  
        We goe not to seek, 175
      The darlings of Auroras bed, 
      The rose's modest Cheek 
      Nor the violet's humble head, 
Though the Feild's eyes too WEEPERS be 
Because they want such TEARES as we. 180
  
        Much lesse mean we to trace 
      The Fortune of inferior gemmes, 
      Preferr'd to some proud face 
      Or pertch't upon fear'd Diadems. 
Crown'd Heads are toyes. We goe to meet 185
A worthy object, our Lord's FEET. 
 
 
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