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.
 
Sir William Davenant
 
117. The Christians reply to the Phylosopher
 
THE Good in Graves as Heavenly Seed are sown; 
    And at the Saints first Spring, the General Doome, 
Will rise, not by degrees, but fully blowne; 
    When all the Angells to their Harvest come. 
  
Cannot Almighty Heaven (since Flowers which pass         5
    Thaw'd through a Still, and there melt mingled too, 
Are rais'd distinct in a poore Chymists Glass) 
    Doe more in Graves then Men in Lymbecks doe? 
  
God bred the Arts to make us more believe 
    (By seeking Natures cover'd Misteries)  10
His darker Workes, that Faith may thence conceive 
    He can do more then what our Reason sees. 
  
O Coward Faith! Religion's trembling Guide! 
    Whom even the dim-ey'd Arts must lead to see 
What Nature only from our sloath does hide,  15
    Causes remote, which Faith's dark dangers be. 
  
Religion, e're impos'd, should first be taught; 
    Not seeme to dull obedience ready lay'd, 
Then swallow'd strait for ease, but long be sought; 
    And be by Reason councell'd, though not sway'd.  20
  
God has enough to humane kinde disclos'd; 
    Our fleshly Garments he a while receiv'd, 
And walk'd as if the Godhead were depos'd, 
    Yet could be then but by a few believ'd. 
  
The Faithless Jews will this at Doome confess,  25
    Who did suspect him for his low disguise: 
But, if he could have made his vertue less, 
    He had been more familiar to their Eyes. 
  
Fraile Life! in which, through Mists of humane breath, 
    We grope for Truth, and make our Progress slow;  30
Because, by passion blinded, till by death, 
    Our Passions ending, we begin to know. 
  
O rev'rend Death! whose looks can soon advise 
    Even scornfull Youth; whilst Priests their Doctrine wast, 
Yet mocks us too; for he does make us wise,  35
    When by his coming our Affaires are past. 
  
O harmless Death! whom still the valiant brave, 
    The Wise expect, the Sorrowfull invite, 
And all the Good embrace, who know the Grave, 
    A short dark passage to Eternal Light.  40
 
 
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