Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

THE HAPPY-MAKING SIGHT.

127

Lo, there thy Saviour dear, in glory dight, dressed.
Adored of all the powers of heavens bright !
Lo, where that head that bled with thorny wound,
Shines ever with celestial honour crowned !

That hand that held the scornful reed
Makes all the fiends infernal dread.

That back and side that ran with bloody streams
Daunt angels' eyes with their majestic beams;
Those feet, once fastened to the cursed tree,
Trample on Death and Hell, in glorious glee.

Those lips, once drenched with gall, do make
With their dread doom the world to quake.

Behold those joys thou never canst behold;
Those precious gates of pearl, those streets of gold,
Those streams of life, those trees of Paradise
That never can be seen hy mortal eyes !

And when thou seest this state divine,
Think that it is or shall be thine.

See there the happy troops of purest sprites
That live above in endless true delights!
And see where once thyself shalt rangéd be,
And look and long for immortality !

And now beforehand help to sing
Hallelujahs to heaven's king.

Polished as these are in comparison to those of Dr. Donne, and fine, too, as they are intrinsically, there are single phrases in his that are worth them all-except, indeed, that one splendid line,

Trample on Death and Hell in glorious glee.

George Sandys, the son of an archbishop of York, and born in 1577, is better known by his travels in the east than by his poetry. But his version of the Psalms is in good and various verse, not unfrequently graceful, sometimes fine. The following is not only in a popular rhythm, but is neat and melodious as well.

PSALM XCII.

Thou who art enthroned above,
Thou by whom we live and move,
O how sweet, how excellent
Is't with tongue and heart's consent,
Thankful hearts and joyful tongues,
To renown thy name in songs !
When the morning paints the skies,
When the sparkling stars arise,
Thy high favours to rehearse,
Thy firm faith, in grateful verse !
Take the lute and violin,
Let the solemn harp begin,
Instruments strung with ten strings,
While the silver cymbal rings.
From thy works my joy proceeds ;
How I triumph in thy deeds !
Who thy wonders can express?
All thy thoughts are fathomless-
Hid from men in knowledge blind,
Hid from fools to vice inclined.
Who that tyrant sin obey,
Though they spring like flowers in May-
Parched with heat, and nipt with frost,
Soon shall fade, for ever lost.
Lord, thou art most great, most high ;
Such from all eternity.
Perish shall thy enemies,
Rebels that against thee rise.
All who in their sins delight,
Shall be scattered by thy might.
But thou shalt exalt my horn
Like a youthful unicorn,
Fresh and fragrant odours shed
On thy crownéd prophet's head.

[blocks in formation]

Here is a part of the 66th Psalm, which makes a complete little song of itself:

[blocks in formation]

Bless the Lord. His praise be sung
While an ear can hear a tongue.
He our feet establisheth ;
He our souls redeems from death.
Lord, as silver purified,
Thou hast with affliction tried,
Thou hast driven into the net,
Burdens on our shoulders set.
Trod on by their horses' hooves,
Theirs whom pity never moves,
We through fire, with flames embraced,
We through raging floods have passed,
Yet by thy conducting hand,
Brought into a wealthy land.

CHAPTER IX.

A FEW OF THE ELIZABETHAN DRAMATISTS.

FROM the nature of their adopted mode, we cannot look for much poetry of a devotional kind from the dramatists. That mode admitting of no utterance personal to the author, and requiring the scope of a play to bring out the intended truth, it is no wonder that, even in the dramas of Shakspere, profound as is the teaching they contain, we should find nothing immediately suitable to our purpose; while neither has he left anything in other form approaching in kind what we seek. Ben Jonson, however, born in 1574, who may be regarded as the sole representative of learning in the class, has left, amongst a large number of small pieces, three Poems of Devotion, whose merit may not indeed be great, but whose feeling is, I think, genuine. Whatever were his faults, and they were not few, hypocrisy was not one of them. His nature was fierce and honest.

He might boast, but he could not pretend. His oscillation between the reformed and the Romish church can hardly have had other cause than a vacillating conviction. It could not have served any prudential

« ForrigeFortsæt »