Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
Of Faith and Zeale
XCII. John Bodenham
 
        Faith shews a good man’s fruits; preserues the soule;
And zeale doth best giue euidence of faith.


FAITHE’S 1 best is triall, then it shineth most;
The faithfull stands, the faultie man wil flye:
Zeale is but cold where louelesse law restraines
This hastie rashnes, where true faith doth flye;
In deepe distress true faith doth best auaile.        5
  When once man’s faith is spotted and defamd,
  The bodie had been better neuer framd.
 
Zeale and good courage best become a prince;
Faith bides no perfit triall but by time;
Shipwrack of faith is made where conscience dyes;        10
Friends haue no priueledge to breake their faith;
The gift deserueth most is giuen in zeale.
  False fainting zeale, shadowed with good pretence,
  Can find a cloake to couer each offence.
 
False faith is ouer-poizde with weakest weight,        15
The ballance yeelds vnto the lightest feather;
An easie yeelding zeale is quickly quaild;
Faith violated is most detestable;
Faith once resolued treads fortune vnder foot;
The man that holds no faith shall find no trust.        20
  Where faith doth fearlesse dwell in brazen tower,
  There spotlesse pleasure builds her sacred bower.
 
A zealous heart is alwaies bountifull;
The faith of knighthood is by vertue tryed;
Euery occasion quailes a hireling faith;        25
A prince’s greatest fault is breach of faith;
The faith of pagans ought not be belieu’d.
  Faith is a fortress ’gainst all fainting feare,
  And zeale the walles doth euermore vpreare.
 
Take faith from iustice, all things runne to spoile;        30
Authoritie is strengthened best by zeale:
Who binds himself by faith had need beware;
Faith to rash oathes no credit giues at all:
The greater faith, the greater sufferance.
  Faith is the true foundation of the soule,        35
  And soonest doth redeeme the same from sinne.
 
Zeale makes opinion stand inuincible;
A good man’s wish is substance, faith, and fame.
Selfe-wille doth frown when earnest zeale reprooues;
Faith mounteth to the cloudes on golden wings:        40
Faith brings forth workes, and workes declare our faith;
No faith too firme, no trust can be too strong.
 
Note 1. XCII. John Bodenham.—He is not introduced into here as a poet, but as the compiler of “Belvedere, or the Garden of the Muses; which is a collection of sentences from most of the principle poets, living and dead, which are arranged in the form of poems.” An address to the reader is prefixed, in which there is a statement of the authors from whose works the extracts have been made; but the extracts are so arranged as to make them appear as the original compositions of the compiler. [back]
 
 
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