« ZurückWeiter »
sacred style, the style of oracles and laws. The into the principles both of natural and superne vows and thanks of the people were recoinmended tural motives : hereby the soul is made intelligito their gods in songs and hymns. Why may they ble, which comprehends all things besides ; the not retain this privilege ? for if prose should con- boundless tracks of sea and land, and the vaster tend with verse, it would be upon unequal terms, spaces of Heaven ; that vital principle of action, and, as it were, on foot against the wings of Pega- which has always been busied in inquiries abroad, sus. With what delight are we touched in hearing is now made known to itself; insomuch that we the stories of Hercules, Achilles, Cyrus, and Æneas? may find out what we ourselves are, from whence Because in their characters we have wisdom, ho- we came, and whither we must go; we may pernour, fortitude, and justice, set before our eyes. ceive what noble guests those are, which we lodge It was Plato's opinion, that if a man could see vir- in our bosoms, which are nearer to us than all tue, he would be strangely enamoured on her per other things, and yet nothing further from our ac.
Which is the reason why Horace and Virgil quaintance. have continued so long in reputation, because they But here all the labyrinths and windings of the have drawn her in all the charms of poetry. No human frame are laid open: it is seeu by what man is so senseless of rational impressions, as not pullies and wheels the work is carried on, as plainly to be wonderfully affected with the pastorals of the as if a window were opened into our breast: for it ancients, when under the stories of wolves and is the work of God alone to create a mind. The sheep, they describe the misery of people under next to this is to show how its operations are per. hard masters, and their happiness under good. So formed. the bitter but wholesome iambic was wont to make villany blush; the satire incited men to laugh at folly; the comedian chastised the common errours of life ; and the tragedian made kings afraid to be tyrants, and tyrants to be their own tormentors. Wherefore, as sir Philip Sidney said of Chaucer,
AUTHOR'S DEDICATION that he knew not which he should most wonder at, either that he in his dark time should see so distinctly, or that we in this clear age should go so
QUEN ELIZABETH. stumblingly after him ; so may we marvel at and bewail the low condition of poetry now, when in To that clear majesty which in the north our plays scarce any one rule of decorum is observed, but in the space of two hours and an half Doth, like another Sun, in glory rise, we pass through all the fits of Bedlam; in one Which standeth fix'd, yet spreads her heav'nly scene we are all in mirth, in the vext we are sunk
worth ; into sadness; whilst even the most laboured parts
Loadstone to hearts, and loadstar to all eyes. are commonly starved for want of thought; a confused heap of words, and empty sound of rhyme.
This very consideration should advance the es- Like Heav'a in all, like Earth to this alone, teem of the following poem, wherein are repre
That through great states by her support do sented the various movements of the mind; at which we are as much transported as with the Yet she herself supported is of none, [stand; most excellent scenes of passion in Shakspeare, or But by the finger of th' Almighty's band, Fletcher: for in this, as in a mirrour (that will not Aatter) we see how the soul arbitrates in the under. To the divinest and the sichest mind, standing upon the various reports of sense, and all the changes of imagination : how compliant the Both by Art's purchase, and by Nature's dow'r, will is to her dictates, and obeys her as a queen That ever was from Heaven to Earth contin'd, does her king. At the same time acknowledging a To show the utmost of a creature's pow'r : subjection, and yet retaining a majesty. How the passions move at her command, like a well disciplined army; from which regular composure of To that great spring, which doth great kingdoms the faculties, all operating in their proper time and
[streams, place, there arises a complacency upon the whole soul, that infinitely transcends all other pleasures.
The sacred spring, whence right and honour What deep philosophy is this ! to discover the Distilling virtue, shedding peace and love, process of God's art in fashioning the soul of man In every place, as Cynthia sheds her beams : after his own image; by remarking how one part moves another, and how those motions are varied by several positions of each part, from the first I offer up some sparkles of that fire, springs and plummets, to the very hand that points Whereby we reason, live, and move and be, out the visible and last effects. What eloquence These sparks by nature evermore aspire, and force of wit to convey these profound speculations in the easiest language, expressed in words
Which makes them now to such a highness flee, so vulgarly received, that they are understood by the meanest capacities !
Fair soul, since to the fairest body join'd, For the poet takes care in every line to satisfy
You give such lively life, such quick’ning pow'r; the understandings of mankind : he follows step by step the workings of the mind from the first strokes And influence of such celestial kind, of sense, then of fancy, afterwards of judgment, As keeps it still in yonth's immortal flower :
As sphere the Sun is present all the year, For then their minds did first in passion see
Those wretched shạpes of misery and woe,
Of nakedness, of sbame, of poverty, (know. Needs must the spring be everlasting there,
Which then their own experience made theni And every season like the month of May.
But then grew reason dark, that she no more
Could the fair forms of good and truth discern; 0! many, many years may you remain
Bats they became, that eagles were before;
And this they got by their desire to learn.
But we, their wretched offspring, what do we?
Do not we still taste of the fruit forbid ?
Whilst with fund fruitless curiosity, Stay long (sweet spirit) ere thou to Heaven depart, In books profaire we seek for knowledge hid. Who mak’st each place a Heaven wherein thou art.
What is this knowledge? but the sky-stol'n fire, Her majesty's devoted subject
For which the thief- still chain'd in ice doth sit?
And which the poor rude satyr' did admire, and servant,
And needs would kiss, but burnt his lips with ita
What is it? but the cloud of empty rain, July 11, 1592
Which when Jove's guest* embrac’d, he monsters Or the false pails', which oft being fill’d with pain,
Receiv'd the water, but retain'd it not?
In fine, what is it, but the fiery coach
Which the youth sought, and sought his death
Or the boy's 'wings, which, when he did approach Why did my parents send me to the schools, The Sun's bot beams, did melt and let bim fall?
That I with knowledge might enrich iny mind?
Our bodies wasted, and our spirits spent';
When we have all the learned volumes turn'd For when God's hand had written in the hearts Which yield men's wits both help and ornament:
Of tbe first parents, all the rules of good, So that their skill infus'd, did pass all arts
What can we know? or what can we discern? That ever were, before, or since the flood;
When errour chokes the windows of the mind;
The divers forms of things how can we learn,
And (as an eagle can behold the Sun)
Is now become a sparkle, which doth lie (spread, Een then to them the spirit of lies suggests,
Under the ashes, half extinct, and dead : That they were blind, because they saw not ill, And breath'd into their incorrupted breasts How can we hope, that through the eye and ear, A curious wish, which did corrupt their will. This dying sparkle, in this cloudy place,
Can' recollect these beams of knowledge clear, For that same ill they straight desir'd to know; Which were infus'd in the first minds by grace ?
Which ill, being naught but a defect of good, la all God's works the Devil could not show, So might the heir, whose father bath in play While man their lord in his perfection stood. Wasted a thousand pounds of ancient rent,
By painful earning of one groat a day,
Hope to restore the patrimony spent.
The wits that div'd most deep, and soar'd most high, Until (by tasting it) bimself was slain.
Seeking man's pow'rs, have found his weakness
“Skin comes so slow, and life so fast doth fly, (such: E'en so by tasting of that fruit forbid,
We learn so little and forget so much." Where they sought knowledge, they did errour Ill they desir'd to know, and in they did; (find; For this the wisest of all moral men And to give passion eyes, made reason blind. Said, he knew nought, but that he nought did know,
And the great mocking-master mock'd not then,
When he said, truth was buried deep below. " This poem was published by Mr. Tate, with the universal applause of the nation; and was without dispute, except Spenser's Fairy Queen, the 2 Prometheus. 3 See Æsop's Fables, best that was written in queen Elizabeth's, or even
^ Danaides. king James the First's time. W. T.
7 Icarus, VOL' V.
Fow how may we to other things attain,
And while the face of outward things we find, When none of us his own soul understands? Pleasing and fair, agreeable and sweet, For which the Devil mocks our curious brain, These things transport, and carry out the mind,
When,“ know thyself,” his oracle commands. That with herself, the mind can never meet. For why should we the busy soul believe,
Yet if Amiction once her wars begin, When boldly she concludes of that and this, And threat the feebler sense with sword and fire, When of herself she can no judgment give, The mind contracts herself, and shrinketh in,
Nor how, nor whence, nor where, nor what she is. And to herself she gladly doth retire: All things without, which round about we see, As spiders touch'd, seek their web's inmost part';
We seek to know, and how therewith to do: As bees in storms back to their hives return; But that whereby we reason, live, and be,
As blood in danger gathers to the heart; Within ourselves, we strangers are thereto. As men seek towns, when foes the country bum. We seek to know the moving of each sphere, If aught can teach us aught, Affliction's looks, And the strange cause of th' ebbs and floods of (Making us pry into ourselves so near) Nile;
Teach us to know ourselves beyond all books, But of that clock within our breasts we bear, Or all the learned schools that ever were. The subtle motions we forget the while.
This mistress lately pluck'd me by the ear, We that acquaint ourselves with every zone,
And many a golden lesson hath me taught; Aud pass both tropics, and behold each pole, Hath made my senses quick, and reason clear ; When we come home, are to ourselves unknown, Reform'd my will, and rectify'd my thought. And unacquainted still with our own soul.
So do the winds and thunders cleanse the air : We study speech but others we persuade,
So working seas settle and purge the wine:
Neither Minerva, nor the learned Muse,
Nor rules of art, nor precepts of the wise, Through which it gathers knowledge by degrees, Could in my brain those beams of skill infuse, Whose rays reflect not, but spread outwardly; As but the glance of this dame's angry eyes. Not seeing itself, when other things it sees?
She within lists my ranging mind hath brought, No, doubtless; for the mind can backward cast That now beyond myself I will not go;
Upon herself, her understanding's light, Myself am centre of my circling thought, But she is so corrupt, and so defac'd,
Only myself I study, learn, and know. As her own image doth herself affright.
I know my body 's of so frail a kind, As is the fable of the lady fair,
As force without, fevers within can kill: Which for her lust was turn'd into a cow, I know the heavenly nature of my mind, When thirsty to a stream she did repair,
But 't is corrupted both in wit and will. And saw herself transform’d she wist not how :
I know my soul hath power to know all things, At first she startles, then she stands amaz'd;
Yet is she blind and ignorant in all :
And shuns it still, though she for thirst doth die:
I know my life's a pain, and but a span, And was at first fair, good, and spotless pure,
I know my sense is mock'd in ev'ry thing, Since with her sins her beauties blotted were,
And to conclude, I know myself a man, Doth of all sights her own sight least endure :
Which is a proud and yet a wretched thing
Such strange chimeras, and such monsters there,
THE SOUL OF MAN,
That hath a sluttish house haunted with sprites; So she, impatient her own faults to see,
THE IMMORTALITY THEREOF. Turns from herself, and in strange things delights. For this few know themselves: for merchants broke The lights of Heav'n (which are the world's fair eyes)
View their estate with discontent and pain, Look down into the world, the world to see; And seas are troubled, when they do revoke And as they turn, or wander in the skies,
Their flowing waves into themselves again. Survey all things, that on this centre be.
And yet the lights which in my tow'r do shine, But (thou) which didst man's soul of nothing make,
Mine eyes which view all objects, nigh and far, And when to nothing it was fallen again, Look not into this little world of mine,
“ To make it new, the form of man didst take; Nor see my face, wherein they fixed are.
And God with God, becam’st a man with men."
1 Since Nature fails us in no needful thing,
Thou that hast fashion'd twice this soul of ours, Why want I means my inward self to see? So that she is by double title thine, Which sight the knowledge of myself might bring, Thon only know'st her nature and her pow'rs; Which to true wisdom is the first degree.
Her subtle form thou only canst define. That pow'r, which gave me eyes the world to view, To judge herself, she must herself transcend, To view myself, infus'd an inward light,
As greater circles comprehend the less : Whereby my soul, as by a mirror true,
But she wants pow'r, her own pow'rs to extend, Of her own form may take a perfect sight. As fetter'd men cannot their strength express. But as the sharpest eye discerneth nought, But thou, bright morning Star, thou rising Sun,
Except the sun-beams in the air do shine: Which in these later times hast bronght to light So the best soal, with her reflecting thought, Those mysteries, that, since the world begun,
Sees not herself without some light divine. Lay hid ic darkness, and eternal night. O Light, which mak'st the light, which mak'st the Thou (like the Sun) do'st with an equal ray day!
Into the palace and the cottage shine, Which set'st the eye without, and mind within ; And show'st the soul, both to the clerk and lay, 'Lighten my spirit with one clear heavenly ray, By the clear lamp of oracle divine. Which now to view itself doth first begin.
This lamp, through all the regions of my brain, For her true form how can my spark discern, Where my soul sits, doth spread such beams of
Which, dim by nature, art did never clear? As now, methinks, I do distinguish plain, (grace, When the great wits, of whom all skill we learn, Each subtle line of her immortal face. Are ignorant both what she is, and where.
The soul a substance and a spirit is, One thinks the soul is air; another, fire;
Which God himself doth in the body make, Another blood, diffus'd about the heart;
Which makes the man, for every man from this Another saith, the elements conspire,
The nature of a man and name doth take. And to her essence each doth give a part.
And though this spirit be to th' body knit, Musicians think our souls are harmonies,
As an apt means her pow'rs to exercise, Physicians hold that they complexions be;
Which are life, motion, sense, and will, and wit, Epicures make them swarms of atomies,
Yet she survives, although the body dies.
THAT THE SOUL IS A THING SUBSISTING BY ITSELP WITH
Which hath itself an actual working might, In judgment of her substance thus they vary, S'hich neither from the senses' power doth spring,
And thus they vary in judgment of her seat; Nor from the body's humours temper'd right. For some her chair up to the brain do carry, Some thrust it down into the stomach's heat.
She is a vine, which doth no propping need
To make her spread herself, or spring upright; Some place it in the root of life, the heart ;
She is a star, whose beams do not proceed Some in the river, fountain of the veins,
From any sun, but from a native light. Some say, she's all in all, and all in every part:
For when she sorts things present with things past, Some say, she 's not contain'd, but all contains.
And thereby things to come doth oft foresce;
When she doth doubt at first, and choose at last, Thus these great clerks their little wisdom show,
These acts her own', without her body be.
When of the dew, which theye and ear do take To mock the lewd, as learn’d in this as they. From flow'rs abroad, and bring into the brain,
She doth within both wax and honey make :
Touching the soul, so vain and fond a thought;
(taught. From many cases, like one rule of law; God only wise, to punish pride of wit,
These her collections, not the senses are. Among men's wits have this confusion wrought, As the proud tow'r whose points the clouds did hit, That the soul hath a proper operation without
By tongues' confusion was to ruin brought. the body,
OUT THB BODY.
When in th' effects she doth the causes know, But when the cause itself must be decreed, And, seeing the stream, thinks where the spring Himself in person, in his proper court, doth rise;
To grave and solemn hearing doth proceed, And, seeing the branch, conceives the root below; Of ev'ry proof, and ev'ry by-report. These things she views without the body's eyes.
Then, like God's angel, he pronounceth right, When she, without a Pegasus, doth fiy,
And milk and honey from his tongue doth flow : Swifter than lightning's tire from east to west ; Happy are they that still are in his sight, About the centre, and above the sky,
To reap the wisdom which his lips do sow. She travels then, although the body rest.
Right so the soul, which is a lady free, When all her works she formeth first within, And doth the justice of her state maintain :
Proportions them, and sees their perfect end ; Because the senses ready servaots be, Ere she in act doth any part begin,
Attending nigh about her court, the brain : What instruments doth then the body lend ?
By them the forms of outward things she learns, When without hands she doth thus castles build, For they return into the fantasie,
Sees without eyes, and without feet doth run; Whatever each of them abroad discerns ; When she digests the world, yet is not fillid;
And there enroll it for the mind to see. By her own pow’rs these miracles are done.
But when she sits to judge the good and ill, When she defines, argues, divides, compounds, And to discern betwixt the false and true,
Considers virtue, vice, and general things: She is not guided by the senses' skill, And marrying divers principles and grounds, But doth each thing in her own unirror viev. Out of their match a true conclusion brings.
Then she the senses checks, which oft do err, These actions in her closet, all alone,
And e'en against their false reports decrees; (Retir'd within herself) she doth fulfil;
And oft she doth condemn what they prefer; Use of her body's organs she hath none,
For with a pow'r above the sense she sees. When she doth use the pow'rs of wit and will.
Therefore no sense the precious joys conceives, Yet in the body's prison so she lies,
Which in her private contemplations be; As through the body's windows she must look, For then the ravish'd spirit th' senses leaves, Her divers powers of sense to exercise,
Hath her own pow'rs, and proper actions free. By gath'ring notes out of the world's great book.
Her harmonies are sweet, and full of skill, Nor can herself discourse or judge of ought,
When on the body's instruments she plays; But what the sense collects, and home doth bring; But the proportions of the wit and will, And yet the pow'rs of her discoursing thought, Those sweet accords are even th' angels lays. From these collections is a diverse thing.
These tunes of reason are Amphion's lyre, For though our eyes can nought but colours see, Wherewith he did the Theban city found:
Yet colours give them not their pow'r of sight: These are the notes wherewith the heavenly choir So, though these fruits of sense her objects be, The praise of bim which made the Heav'n dotk Yet she discerns them by her proper light.
sound. The workmam on his stuff his skill doth show, Then her self-being nature shines in this,
And yet the stuff gives not the man his skill : That she performs her noblest works alone: Kings their affairs do by their servants know, “ The work, the touch-stone of the nature is; But order them by their own royal will.
And by their operations things are known.” So, though this cunning mistress, and this queen, Doth, as her instruments, the seoses use,
SECTION II. To know all things that are felt, heard, or seen;
THAT THE SOUL IS MORE THAN A PERFECTION, OR Yet she herself doth only judge and choose.
REFLECTION OF THE SENSE. E'en as a prudent emperor, that reigns
Are they not senseless then, that think the soul By sovereign title over sundry lands,
Nought but a fine perfection of the sense, , Borrows, in mean affairs, his subjects' pains, Or of the forms which fancy doth enroll;
Sees by their eyes, and writetb by their hands : A quick resulting, and a consequence ? But things of weight and consequence indeed, What is it then that doth the sense accuse,
Himself doth in bis chamber them debate; Both of false judgment, and fond appetites ? Where all his counsellors he doth exceed,
What makes us do what sense doth most refuse, 'As far in judgment, as he doth in state.
Which oft in torment of the sense delights ? Or as the man whom princes do adrance, Sense thinks the planets' spheres not much asunder: Upon their gracious mercy-seat to sit,
What tells us then the distance is so far? Doth cominon things, of course and circumstance, Sense thinks the lightning born betore the thunder: To the reports of common men comunit:
What tells us then they botir together are?