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CXXVIII. JOSEPH'S COAT.

WOUNDED I sing, tormented I endite,

Thrown down I fall into a bed, and rest : Sorrow hath changed its note : such is his will Who changeth all things, as him pleaseth best.

For well he knows, if but one grief and smart Among my many had his full career, Sure it would carry with it e'en my heart, And both would run until they found a bier

To fetch the body; both being due to grief.
But he hath spoil'd the race; and given to anguish
One of Joy's coats, 'ticing it with relief
To linger in me, and together languish.

I live to show his power, who once did bring
My joys to weep, and now my griefs to sing.

CXXIX. THE PULLEY.

WHEN God at first made man, Having a glass of blessing standing by ; Let us (said he) pour on him all we can: Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,

Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way; Then beauty flow'd, then wisdom, honour, pleasure : When almost all was out, God made a stay, Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure,

Rest in the bottom lay.

For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature :

So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness :
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness

May toss him to my breast.

CXXX. THE PRIESTHOOD.

Blest order, which in power dost so excel,
That with the one hand thou liftest to the sky,
And with the other throwest down to hell
In thy just censures; fain would I draw nigh;
Fain put thee on, exchanging my lay-sword

For that of the holy word.

But thou art fire, sacred and hallow'd fire;
And I but earth and clay: should I presume
To wear thy habit, the severe attire
My slender compositions might consume.
I am both foul and brittle, much unfit

To deal in holy Writ.

Yet have I often seen, by cunning hand
And force of fire, what curious things are made
Of wretched earth. Where once I scorn’d to stand,

That earth is fitted by the fire and trade
Of skilful artists, for the boards of those

Who make the bravest shows.

But since those great ones, be they ne'er so great,
Come from the earth, from whence those vessels
So that at once both feeder, dish, and meat, [come;
Have one beginning and one final sum :
I do not greatly wonder at the sight,

If earth in earth delight.

But the holy men of God such vessels are,
As serve him up, who all the world commands.
When God vouchsafeth to become our fare,
Their hands convey him, who conveys their hands :
Owhat pure things, most pure must those things be,

Who bring my God to me!

Wherefore I dare not, I, put forth my

hand To hold the Ark, although it seem to shake Through the old sins and new doctrines of our land. Only, since God doth often vessels make Of lowly matter for high uses meet,

I throw me at his feet.

There will I lie,

until
my

Maker seek
For some mean stuff whereon to shew his skill :
Then is my time. The distance of the meek
Doth flatter power.

Lest good come short of ill In praising might, the poor do by submission

What pride by opposition.

CXXXI. THE SEARCH.

WHITHER, 0, whither art thou fled,

My Lord, my Love? My searches are my daily bread;

Yet never prove.

My knees pierce the earth, mine eyes the sky:

And yet the sphere And centre both to me deny

That thou art there.

Yet can I mark how herbs below

Grow
green

and

gay; As if to meet thee they did know,

While I decay.

Yet can I mark how stars above

Simper and shine, As having keys unto thy love,

While poor I pine.

I sent a sigh to seek thee out,

Deep drawn in pain, Wing'd like an arrow: but my scout

Returns in vain.

I turn's another (having store)

Into a groan, Because the search was dumb before :

But all was one.

Lord, dost thou some new fabric mould

Which favour wins, And keeps thee present, leaving the old

Unto their sins ?

Where is my God? what hidden place

Conceals thee still ? What covert dare eclipse thy face?

Is it thy will ?

O let not that of

any thing:

Let rather brass, Or steel, or mountains be thy ring,

And I will pass.

Thy will such an intrenching is,

As passeth thought: To it all strength, all subtilties

Are things of nought.

Thy will such a strange distance is,

As that to it
East and West touch, the poles do kiss,

And parallels meet.

Since then my grief must be as large

As is thy space, Thy distance from me; see my charge,

Lord, see my case.

O take these bars, these lengths, away:

Turn, and restore me : Be not Almighty, let me say,

Against, but for me.

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