by William Alexander
Of dolefull hell the horrid seat is sought,
Whereas the damned howling still remaine:
And in the world as wickedly they wrought,
Must suffer what Christ's justice doth ordaine;
The sensuall creatures senses here are brought,
By what once pleas'd, now to be rack'd with paine:
And with the devils whereas they are to stay,
The wicked are tormented every way.
Whil'st wandring now where I can finde no light,
Of guests below the damned state to mark,
No raving Ethnick can direct me right,
Whose selfe is captive in the dungeons darke;
Yet, all hels horrours can me not affright,
Though Serpents hisse, and Cerberus do barke;
But lest I stagger, and be still in doubt,
I must go seek some guide to leade me out.
Deare Saviour thou who thence my soule to quite,
Exposed wast a prey to paine, and scorne,
Whil'st beaten, mock'd, and spitted at in spite,
Made Vinegar to drink, and crown'd with Thorne;
Then sweating bloud, encrimson'd beauties white,
Till all hels horrours constantly were borne;
Thou, onely thou, canst this discovery make,
Who forc'd her forts, and turn'd in triumph backe.
O Sonne of God, be thou my guide, and cleare
The cloudy Cloisters of Tartarian deeps,
That (drawn from darknesse) plainly may appeare,
From what strange torments thine thy suffring keepes,
Who (marking this afarre) may not come neare,
Where teeth shall gnash, where th'eye for ever weeps;
But trust in thee, and flie sinnes tempting snare,
Not too secure, nor falling in despaire.
That place for paine so fearfull to the minde,
That dreames of it have desperation wrought,
Hath beene by some (to search such deeps inclin'd)
No locall ground, but a privation thought:
From God secluded, yet no where confin'd,
As damned souls were to some freedome brought:
No paine impos'd, but to be barr'd Gods sight,
Hell so made darke, as Sunnes remove breeds night.
Not onely wretches banish'd from Gods face,
In endlesse anguish languishing remaine,
Whil'st apprehending in that dreadfull place,
How Saints above with God in glory raigne;
But they must have with horrour, griefe, disgrace,
As want of pleasure, so a sense of paine:
Want would but grieve where feeling will torment,
The minde with wormes, with wounds the body rent.
The sentenc'd squadron must retyre alone,
In dungeons darke eternally to smart,
Where they still bounded heavily must grone,
Whil'st not one moment can repose impart;
Christ said to them, when damn'd: Go, get you gone,
To dwell with devils in their appointed part;
And sacred Writs most clearly do declare,
That from the godly they divided are.
But curiousnesse no satisfaction gets,
When searching out the mysteries of hell;
At least no where it with assurance sets,
But Ghosts to paine from pleasure doth expell;
And with the rest who fall in fancies nets,
No wonder though I doubt their state to tell:
For that to others which these lines would show,
I labour that my selfe may never know.
It may be plac't amidst the fierie spheare,
Whence joyn'd with lightning dreadfull thunders flie,
Whil'st frowning heavens by day nights colours reare
Till scarce some flashes can point out the skie;
So that as hell inflicting harme and feare,
By thunder-bolts, and haile, troups tortur'd lye:
Thus in effect, affinity they hold
By light, and darknesse, horrour, heat, and cold.
That cloudy clymate (hatching stormes when faire)
May still foule sprits where first they fell restraine;
And wretched soules to have with them their share,
Of substance light, (though stayn'd) may mount againe;
Since Sathan hath beene held Lord of the ayre,
He last may smart where he so long doth raigne:
And though suppos'd a Parable to be,
Why might not Abraham there the Glutton see?
If God thus hang that monstrous masse of night,
In which to pine the tortur'd bands are throwne,
The hoasts of heaven importing virtuall light,
May pierce hels clouds, till all their guests be knowne,
With mutuall prospects, interchanging sight,
By others states that both may judge their owne:
"What is oppos'd, compar'd, brings truth to light:
"When set with shadowes, stars doe shine more bright.
O how the godly triumph would with joy!
Whil'st compassing that damned band about,
To see the fiends their furies all imploy,
Till ghosts with dreadfull cryes confus'dly shout;
They with no sigh, their pittied plaints convoy,
Though earst knowne friends, all kindenesse then worn out;
But straight shall praise (transported from the place)
In them Gods justice, in themselves his grace.
A place below the chiefe of Northerne Starres,
To fit the hell a situation yeelds,
Which passengers from passing further barres,
By desolate and melancholy fields,
And Navigation absolutely marres,
Whil'st there from harme no kinde of shelter shields:
Not that the Ocean doth too stormy prove,
No, but because that it can no way move.
The liquid kingdome all becoming dry,
Farre distant shores (as if cimented) meet,
The waves all dead entomb'd in Crystall lye,
Not having power to drowne, no, not to weet,
Whil'st barren beauty doth delude the eye,
And slippery firmenesse doth betray the feet,
Which both on flouds, and solid grounds they see,
And yet can neither earth, nor water be.
Amidst that large inhabitable Zone,
Where raging winter doth admit no bounds,
Perchance (for terrour) the Tartarian Throne,
With strengthlesse beames the flying sunne surrounds,
And (as if thousands multipli'd a grone)
There sulph'rous Vulcans roare continuall sounds:
Whil'st Ghosts do never sleep, yet alwaies dreame,
Rack'd by remorse with griefe, past sense of shame.
But that great God on whom this All depends,
And (as he pleaseth) quickly fades, or springs,
Even with a thought can compasse all his ends,
Not daigning to take helpe of temporall things,
And yet to worke what ever he intends,
Each creature straight a contribution brings:
He in new moulds can cast the world againe,
Make beauty ugly, what gave joy, give paine.
Earst Adams Eden, pleasures speciall ground,
Worlds quint-essence, the Garden of the Lord,
The pretious stone of this enameld round,
Which God did guard as with his treasures stor'd,
It now turn'd common earth (by flouds since drown'd,)
Of what it was no token doth afford:
That dainty Vale which curious Lot did chuse,
Did soone grow loathsome, all the worlds refuse.
Those parts below which most delight the eye,
As pleasant, fertile, crown'd with flowres, or streames,
Where nature doth with many colours dye
Her curious robes, all bright with glistring beames,
Some there at last may greater torments try,
Then Sathan can devise, or mankinde dreames:
And it would stand with justice in these times,
That all should suffer where they wrought their crimes.
But th'earth o'reburden'd, must to sinne give place,
If so commanded by the worlds great Iudge,
Loe, how we all who fondly love her face,
Must at the last within her bosome lodge!
But them she swallow'd quicke, though Abrahams race,
Who tempting God against his will, did grudge:
All sinnes engross'd in one, what monstrous weight
May soone sinke thousands to the centre straight!
Who knowes but th'earth which still men wastes, or feeds,
Hath vast concavities where darknesse blinds,
And that from it the secret cause proceeds
Of dreadfull earth-quakes, and of restlesse winds,
Which, Schismes in Schooles, no satisfaction breeds?
The deepes deepe mystery none clearly finds:
Whil'st bent to study who doth thousands teach,
Seas compast him who could their course not reach.
The fertile earth for that infernall seate,
May furnish stuffe to feede the flames apace,
For, as without, Sunnes active beames do beat,
Till plenties horne doth garnish every place;
So it would seeme, within, some vigorous heate
Of metalls strong doth breed the rockie race:
Th'earth must have fire, of which, to serve our turne,
Both superficiall parts, and entrails burne.
Vaine Pagans did in every fancy fixe,
That Stygian darkenesse diverse floods did bound,
And all their Gods did sweare by dreadfull Styx,
That straight their oath in Lethe might be drown'd;
These waters with so many things did mixe,
Ere they could reach the Centre of the ground,
That stain'd and poison'd whil'st estrang'd from th'aire,
They filthy were (no doubt) when once come there.
Since (by Conjectures with much travell sought)
This fearefull place none can precisely know,
Then by what meanes from darknesse can be brought,
Those Mysteries which some dare seeke to show?
The roome indeed may justly large be thought,
Where all the wicked should be lodg'd below:
Though to their Clients devils do much reveale,
Yet they for frighting them hells state conceale.
They (as great pleasures) painting out their paines,
By foolish fables please vaine vulgars much,
With gorgeous Gardens, and Elysian plaines,
Which (like themselves) cannot abide the touch;
Then will they seeme (this reputation gaines)
Fawnes, Silvans, Satyres, Fairies, Nymphes, and such:
That fooles may hope to be (whil'st spoil'd of sence)
Gods, demi-gods, and Heroes, when gone hence.
What then confusion doth more mischiefe bring,
As oft hath beene made knowne in every age?
And it in hell would seeme a needefull thing,
To torture them who there beare Satans badge,
From which in darknesse, grosse effects must spring,
Where desp'rat troupes (past hope of helpe) doe rage;
Yet even in it some order shall be found,
Though Chaos darkning, Babel to confound.
The world may thinke, amidst that damned Crue,
Though (as elsewhere) distinguish'd in degree,
Each one doth reape that which to him is due;
Their paines may differ, yet their griefe agree;
When law below a party doth pursue,
As crimes require, the Iudges do decree:
Since God on earth so many plagues doth send,
How huge be these which hels blacke hostes attend?
This crystall spheare, the lanterne of the sight,
A generall spie that every thing doth marke,
I doubt, if drawing, or dispersing light,
Of all mans body the most heavenly sparke,
The life of beauty, natures glories height,
Which straight (when clos'd) makes all the world seme dark,
It of chiefe pleasures doth the Centre prove,
Both from the earth below, and heaven aboue.
Those Sunnes of Sences, mirrours of the minde,
The windows of the heart till light doth faile,
How bodies may be glorifi'd we find,
Since their perfection doth so much prevaile;
These dainty lights which have so sweetely shin'd,
Though cleere like diamonds, like Crystall fraile,
While as abus'd by them that were unjust,
Did turne to starres of pride, and flames of lust.
By them the wretch to Avarice was swai'd,
Externall objects tempting the desire;
By them the heart to envy was betrai'd,
And made to hate what it could not acquire;
Their sight urg'd vengeance whil'st it did upbraid
Such brests as boil'd with a vindictive ire,
By them (as dores) much mischiefe entred in,
The baits, the bauds, the guid's, the gates of sinne.
These eyes that did so oft to vice invite,
(Whil'st still attracting, or directing wrong)
Now barr'd from all which did them once delight,
Where fearfull Monsters for confusion throng;
Them from some paine no moment can acquite,
For objects strange infortunately strong:
Prodigious sights since still they must indure,
Like owles (Nights driry birds) in caves obscure.
In place of beauty (which did earst bewitch)
The foaming Fiends came charg'd with crawling Snakes;
For stately roomes a dungeon (dropping pitch)
Doth contribute to the Tartarian lakes;
And for companions (groaning in a ditch)
A number burns, and yet for cold still quakes.
Eyes thus have no reliefe, not when they weep,
But (though in darknesse) they still see, not sleep.
This living lab'rinth entertaining sounds,
By severall turnes, till made for hearing fit,
(Lest otherwise (if rude) words might give wounds)
Which (thus prepar'd) they by degrees admit;
These bring the stuffe on which the judgement grounds,
As ready porters that support the wit;
And oft with pleasure smooth afflicting care,
Whil'st dainty voices quintessence the aire.
These oft (like strumpets dissolutely strong)
Are prostituted, suffring what is foule;
Then mediating 'twixt a tempting tongue
And fraile desires, all goodnesse oft controul;
They first corrupted do seduce to wrong,
And poure (like pleasure) poyson in the soule:
By them assaulting sinne doth breach the heart,
As of the body still the weakest part.
This is the Myne which doth blow up the minde,
Gainst sense, or reasons charge, a guardlesse way;
To lust, to fraud, or faults of any kinde,
Which all the strength by treaties doth betray;
As Sathan soone in Paradise did finde,
In Evahs eare who first in ambush lay;
This patent entry can hold nothing out,
But braves brave minds with grounds for feare, or doubt.
This spirituall taster, understandings eye,
(Growne needlesse now amongst these hopelesse moanes,
Since all well known, none then can further try)
In place of Musicke that did charme it once,
Heares teeth to gnash, and howling creatures cry,
Redoubling sobs, and melancholy groanes:
For dreadfull sounds who can imagine more?
There fiends and men (still rack'd) together roare.
That dainty sense which comfort doth the braines,
And all the vitall sprits more pregnant make,
Which (when the aire a grosse corruption staines)
Doth by sweet odours drive the danger backe,
It with the Lord so highly pris'd remaines,
That he himselfe in it doth pleasure take:
And he was said a sacrifice to smell,
In which sweet incense chiefly did excell.
Those (though extorting Natures usuall store)
That were perfum'd with artificiall things,
In place of what affected was before,
A filthy stench perpetually there stings;
This sinke of sinne which theirs so oft made more,
The dregs of all the world together brings:
Whose Sent though loathsome now endure they must,
Who (weakning courage thus) gave strength to lust.
Those to the taste who did their judgement give,
And (more then Nature) fancy striv'd to feed,
What creatures daily dy'd that they might live,
Who would for pompe, or gluttony exceed,
And curious were all courses to contrive,
How sawces strange an appetite might breed:
While as the poore did starve (they thus at feasts)
And could not get what they did give to beasts?
Though food for maintenance none shall need below,
Yet Gluttons mindes by longing are turmoil'd;
And many meats may mustred be in show,
All fry'd in flames, or in Cocytus boil'd,
Which straight (when neare to touch) devils may o'rethrow;
Or they may be by monstrous Harpies spoil'd;
Or (as from Tantalus the apple slips)
Such tempting objects may delude their lips.
These drunkards that have drown'd their wits in wine,
(Till quite benumn'd, they long ere dying dye)
Whil'st tortur'd now continually to pine,
As in a Feaver (loe) they burning lye:
If roaring flames a puddle could designe,
They for a drop to quench their thirst would cry:
That this to mark it might our judgement leade,
The like entreaty one to Abraham made.
These dainty fingers entertain'd by pride,
Whose sense (though grosse) was pleas'd in sundry sorts,
Which could no touch save what was soft abide,
Oft us'd for Avarice, or wanton sports,
Those now in vaine would strive themselves to hide,
Which (whil'st stretch'd forth as cruell paine transports)
Where fearfull darknesse doth no light admit,
May unawares some fiend, or serpent hit.
Some who below had domineer'd of late,
In wealth abounding, by abundance cloy'd,
Whil'st (pleasures purchas'd at too high a rate)
As want did others, surfeits them annoy'd;
They (wanting stomacke) did not feed, but eate,
Till faint, and dull, what had, they not enjoy'd;
Those naked now in misery remaine,
And nothing rests, save never resting paine.
The lazie man whose memory Time foils,
As wanting sinews, who could scarcely move,
Whom faintnesse, and not pride, did keep from toils,
Save abject ease who nothing else did love;
Now when his foot at every step still broils,
If but to change, of force must restlesse prove:
And lest he languish with too dull a paine,
By Bodkins hot tormented may remaine.
These hauty mindes whose swelling thoughts were such,
That still in state they gloried to be seene;
So richly cloath'd, that it had griev'd them much,
If on their garments any spot had beene;
So dainty then that they disdain'd to touch,
Farre lesse to lye, or sit, on parts uncleane:
And whil'st presuming on their wealth, or race,
Were alwayes striving how to take their place.
Those on themselves who did so fondly dote,
And their vile carkasse curious were to grace,
Though (like the flowres which frailty do denote)
But must'ring beauty for a little space;
They never care how much the minde they blot,
So they of Nature (during lifes short race)
May help defects by Arts defective aid,
The soule to sinne by vanity betrai'd.
They Natures need could not by sleep supply,
Save in faire roomes which pleasure did procure;
Each vulgar object straight did wound their eye,
Whose tender sight no grosse thing could endure;
They well attended softly sought to lye,
Though so more sumptuous, and the lesse secure:
Not thinking how when dead they straight should have
Wormes for companions, and for bed a grave.
Loe, now retir'd amid'st Tartarian caves,
With driry shadows in eternall night,
They lodge more low then some that were their slaves,
As sinking farre, since falling from a height;
And every fiend them (as their equall) braves,
With mocks remembring of their wonted might:
They, they through flames with scourging whips them drive,
The which to flie in boiling deeps they dive.
Smooth beauties grounds which did so much delight,
From pleasant plains with furrows gathered in,
By fire, or filth, are now disfigur'd quite,
Till they become as ugly as their sinne;
And (persecuted with continuall spite)
Hot pitch and brimstone drop upon their skinne:
But such a losse as this, paine quickly bounds,
The feeling, not the fancy, them confounds.
The heavens great Iudge, in all things who is just,
Each paine imposed severally designes;
The proud (trod down) lye wallowing in the dust;
The glutton starves; by thirst the drunkard pines;
The lecherous burne, but not as earst with lust;
The wretch in vaine to covet still inclines;
Who did Gods day to violate contest,
No Iubile nor Sabbath yeelds them rest.
O how each soule most highly doth abhorre
The fault which them to this confusion sends!
Which (though they would) they now can use no more,
Yet, onely one, even at this time not ends;
Those who were given to blasphemy before,
They still curse God, their parents, and their friends;
This sinne which malice, and not weaknesse breeds,
In height, in place, and time, all else exceeds.
That vice in hell the Reprobate may use,
Which from the minde all kinde of goodnesse blots;
Each other fault some colour may excuse,
Whil'st baited fancy, on some pleasure dotes;
But blasphemy the furies do infuse,
In mindes perverse, which as a badge it notes,
And of all things should greatest feare impart,
Since it bewrayes the vilenesse of the heart.
They faine that one continually doth feele
His smarting entrails by a Vulture torne;
A stone (still toss'd) another faint makes reele,
And braving food a famish'd mouth doth scorne;
Ambitions type is rack'd upon a wheele,
Still barr'd from rest, since backe, or forward borne;
In vaine these Sisters tosse the Stygian deep,
Who must bestow on that which cannot keep.
But yet these torments which the world did faine,
In sinners minds a just remorse to breed,
From working mischiefe that they might refraine,
Whil'st they strive how for horrour to exceed,
As onely forg'd, is but a painted paine,
If match'd with these that must be felt indeed:
Which so extreamly breed the souls distresse,
That even the suffrer can it not expresse.
What height of words were able to dilate
The severall torments that are us'd below?
Each sense must suffer what it most doth hate,
The Stygian forge whil'st foaming furies blow;
Short pleasures purchas'd at a hideous rate,
They still (yet not discharg'd) pay what they owe:
"All sorts of sinnes since none can well recount,
"No doubt hells paines in number must surmount.
These mysteries which darknesse doth enfold,
What mortall colours can expresse them right?
Or who can know what ground is fit to hold,
Where contraries do with confusion fright?
Some laid on flames not see, yet quake for cold;
Thus fire doth burne, but cannot cleare with light:
To comfort it no quality retaines,
But multiplies in all that may give paines.
Though seeming strange, imagination frames
A possibility how this may prove;
No busie breath then irritating flames,
Doth make them waste the meanes by which they move:
Whil'st want of aire fires lightning fury tames,
That it no way can vent it selfe above:
Though all the brightnesse be entomb'd in smoak,
It lacks but beauty, may both burne, and choak.
Some member then perchance extreamely smarts,
A captive compass'd with encroaching fire,
(What here doth fright, may then confound all hearts,
Chiefe element for executing ire
And yet cold Snakes (enfolding other parts)
May make the bloud all languishing retire:
What stormie clymate can afford this seat,
Where both they freeze for cold, and rage for heat?
The secret nature of this fire to finde,
Of some who curious were the thoughts did crosse;
If it were spirituall, how to be confinde
In hell for torture of terrestriall drosse;
Then if materiall, and to waste inclin'd,
Could souls be reach'd by such a substance grosse?
For all impressions working paine or feare,
Must have an object fit their blows to beare.
The fiends from fire (some thinke) must needs scape free,
Whose subtle substance none can touch with hands,
Yet, they (as Lords) distinguish'd in degree,
Can (tossing th'aire) disturbe both Seas, and Lands;
They bodies have the which may taken be,
And have a being capable of bands:
The devill was bound a thousand yeares time past,
And shall for ever live in chains at last.
The sprits, of th'aire may beare a burden light,
Whose course impulsive sometimes makes it known;
The aire enflam'd (when Phœbus takes the height)
Is apt to burne, and flames by it are blowne;
Or, since of late, so to delude the sight,
They borrow'd shapes (if wanting of their owne)
All may be forc'd of bodies to admit,
As loads, or jayls, for suff'ring onely fit.
As souls (whil'st here) have beene to bodies bound,
And when next joyn'd shall never part againe;
By fires condensed flames in hels vast round,
Ill sprits at last imbodied may remaine,
Which both may strictly presse, and deeply wound,
A weight, a prison, so redoubling paine:
They if thus match'd, have but a passive part,
Who burn'd, not warm'd, do onely live to smart.
How farre doth this transcend the reach of wit,
That bodies then continually shall burne,
Yet not diminish, whil'st on flames they sit,
But though quite swallow'd, not to dust do turne;
That racks their course no moment intermit,
Yet can a wretch not dye, but lives to mourne?
Death still doth wound, but hath no power to kill,
They want his good, and onely have his ill.
I have beheld a cheating fellow stand,
To sell some oyle that he reserv'd in store,
And in the presence of a thronging band,
By vertue of some drug was us'd before,
In melted lead straight boldly rush his hand,
Then fall downe groveling, as to move no more:
Yet quickly rose by cosening Art kept sound,
As if strange vertue in his oyle were found.
If man (weake man) by meanes of question'd Art,
May fortifie against the force of heat,
That he may suffer thus, and yet not smart;
May not the Lord (omnipotently great)
A quality (when as he list) impart,
To all the guests of Pluto's ugly seat:
That (freez'd in fire) they burne, yet not decay,
Do pine, not dye, as Monsters every way?
What us'd to waste, not having power to warme,
Of three that were amid'st a fornace plac'd,
No member, fire, no, not one haire did harme,
By raging flames, though every where embrac'd:
The Lord their force did so in secret charme,
That they (as set in gold) his servants grac'd;
And in such sort when pleas'd himselfe to serve,
By ruines engines he can thus preserve.
That force of fire did not effectuall prove,
Elias body did with pompe display,
A winglesse weight whil'st it through th'aire did move;
Th'earth divers times her burden did betray,
By swallowing that which she did beare above;
And Peters feet on flouds found solid way:
Each element we see when God directs,
To Nature contrary can breed effects.
Fires torturing power in the Tartarian cave,
Doth need for help no irritating blast,
And wanting food, no excrement can have;
For fed by nothing, it doth nothing waste;
An ominous Torch in Pluto's gaping grave,
Not more, nor lesse, it still alike doth last;
Flames torrent doth but drowne, not burne the hell,
And, at a height, can neither sinke, nor swell.
One fire for all shall here Gods power expresse,
Which doth from divers diversly extort;
So heats the Sunne, though all alike it presse,
As bodies are dispos'd, or can comport;
And, things combustible, burne more, or lesse,
As dry, or humid, in a sundry sort:
Thus severall paines each damned soule endures,
As (aptly tempering) guiltinesse procures.
And, that their suff'rings may augment the more,
When fully capable of being pin'd,
The Lord each sense, and member doth restore,
(Enabling so the lame, the deafe, the blinde)
To every one that wanted them before,
That they of paine the greatest height may finde:
At least to shew their griefe each tortur'd soule
Must men have eyes to weepe, a tongue to howle.
That faculty inhabiting the braine,
Though once a comfort, now becomes a crosse,
The onely meanes that can bring time againe,
Though serving but to cast accounts of losse;
The nurse of knowledge, universall chaine,
Which in small bounds all kind of things can tosse;
It was a mirrour to direct the mind,
But them, damn'd soules to suffer more doth bind.
Those sinnes that once so pleasant did appeare,
The dandled Idols of a doting heart,
Then all the ugly Fiends that stand them neare,
More hatefull now doe make the wretches smart,
Who curse themselves that could such guests hold deare;
Though no remorse, what griefe doth this impart?
First looking backe, then on their present state,
When they must thinke what they had bin of late.
They find those pleasures that did them betray,
As dreames and shadowes, readie to descend,
Even, in imbracing, vanishing away,
A fancie first, an extasie in end,
Whose vanity the issue did bewray,
Hopes left farre short of what they did attend;
And all enticements that to this alur'd,
A loathing still or wearinesse procur'd.
They now remember every time and place,
That by their meanes a mischiefe was devis'd,
And how they needs would madly runne their race,
All admonitions scornefully despis'd;
They proudly quensh'd the sparkes of kindling grace,
And hated them that any good advis'd,
Then laugh'd at them as most ridiculous fooles,
That sought to learne when having left the schooles.
Of counsels past that any parent gave,
A Schoole master, a Preacher, or a friend;
Each circumstance now fresh in mind they have,
And how that then it highlie did offend,
When meanes were us'd that they their soules might save,
Who did to ruine obstinately tend:
They loath'd instruction, and rebukes did hate,
As which (thus tax'd) their value did abate.
Some words that entred at a carelesse eare,
And in the mind could no impression make,
That they in judgment true record might beare,
Then in the soule a secret seate did take,
Which now (discovered) cruelly they teare,
When (out of time still) making it looke back:
"Neglected warnings must remembred be,
"At last to binde, since first they could not free.
Whil'st restlesse wormes doe gnaw the minde within,
Externall torments racking other parts,
Some fiend beside that had provok'd their sinne,
(What treacherous guest to harbour in mens hearts?)
To aggravate their anguish doth beginne,
And though with them in like estate he smarts;
Yet wonted malice making silence breake,
He thus upbrayding them may chance to speake.
What travells huge have I for you indur'd,
By bending all my meanes of power, and skill,
That satisfaction might be so procur'd,
For every wish of yours (though changing still)
In pleasures deepes ye lay by me secur'd,
Who both directed, and obey'd your will;
And as ye earst would not abandon mee,
In spite of paine I shall your partner bee.
All what ye crav'd was compast by my care,
Who onely labour'd to content your mind;
There wanted not a creature that was fayre,
When curious thoughts to wantonnesse inclin'd;
While kindling wrath for vengeance did prepare,
A fitt occasion was by me design'd;
To make you rich how many have beene spoil'd,
That you might idle be whil'st still I toil'd?
And your contentment was to me so deare,
That when some striv'd your courses to restraine,
I would not let you their perswasions heare,
But made the Preacher spend his power in vaine,
And still (obsequiously attending neare)
What was suggested ready to maintaine;
Your purposes to such perfection brought,
That of all men you were most happie thought.
Since ye for joy have oft almost been mad,
Of which some taste, ye cannot but reserve,
What wonder now though ye againe be sad,
Who justly suffer what ye did deserve?
But I who never any pleasure had,
And as a drudge for you did onely serve:
Why am I punish'd by superiour powers?
The torment which I feele should all be yours.
Degener'd soules (though once by God belov'd)
That would descend to such a base degree,
I you to please, have thus too carefull prov'd,
And from an Angell daign'd your slave to be,
Yet, most ingrate, ye (with my griefe not mov'd)
Doe moane your selves, and never pitty me:
Iust indignation hath so strongly seiz'd,
I must revenge, but cannot be appeas'd.
These monsters straight to plague all meanes doe ply,
Whil'st ratling chaines make all hels dungeons ring;
The crawling globes of clustring Serpents flye,
And at an instant, both doe lash, and sting;
In vessels then from deeps that never dry,
The scalding sulphure they with fury fling:
Who can imagine how the wretches mourne,
By flouds and flames, that both must boyle and burne?
A wooden body, membred all with hands,
(When digging Seas) of this an embleme shewes,
Of groaning captives whil'st a band in bands,
To suffer sure, no hope of guerdon knowes,
Whil'st them above, their proud Commander stands,
With threatning words, fierce looks, and cruell blowes:
They lesse then servants, worse then beasts, are slaves:
"The Gallyes fall is lower then the graves.
All kinde of paines that mortalls can comprise,
The least below exceedingly exceed;
The bed that rack'd all whom it did surprise;
The stalles whereas each horse mans flesh did feed;
The Bull and all that tyrants did devise,
Which yet in mindes (when nam'd) must horrour breed,
They all (if joyn'd) could not such paine import,
As in the hels one moment can extort.
But yet all paines which corporall plagues impose
On senses fraile, dispatching life in post,
Are as in time, by measure short of those,
Which must at last defray sinnes fatall cost,
Whil'st ravenous thoughts (excluded from repose)
Doe oft revolve what happinesse they lost:
The minde would wish a lethargy in vaine,
That it eclips'd might never cleare againe.
They now remember then, when forc'd to part,
(The sentence given, and execution crav'd)
From Christs bright face, which with a heavy heart,
They first did see, as by the object brav'd;
What height of glory he did straight impart,
To happy bands that by his bloud were sav'd:
When this the wicked have with envy seene,
It makes them marke what they might once have beene.
The parts earst knowne, they many times compare,
With these below, where they in anguish lye;
Their recreations taken in the ayre,
Whil'st heaven for prospect ravish did the eye;
Their walkes on fields adorn'd with beauties rare,
Whose Crystall flouds did emulate the skie,
And all the creatures both by sea and land,
Which they for use, or pleasure might command.
Since here fraile things, where man from glory fell,
And must to toyles his servile strength imploy,
For all perfections which doe thus excell,
A weeke did make, a moment doth destroy;
This little cottage, where poore slaves doe dwell,
This fatal prison, farre from reall joy;
If it (base earth) in beauty doth abound,
All pav'd with greene, with gold and azure crown'd.
How gorgeous then must that faire building prove,
Of endlesse glory which doth lodge the King;
By whom all creatures that have life doe move,
From whom all goodnesse, and true worth doth spring;
To whom enstall'd in Crystall seats above,
A Quire of Angels Hallelujah sing?
Then they imagine (which doth grieve them more)
What hoasts of Saints their Soveraign doe adore.
And what their judgement cannot apprehend,
Like birds of darknesse, feeble in the light,
Their ancient Lord on whom they did depend,
Who oft by lyes had drawn them from the right,
He now tels truth, but with as bad an end,
To doe them mischiefe bending all his might:
"No greater falshood malice can conceive,
"Then truth to tell, of purpose to deceive.
He then at large doth labour to dilate,
What was observ'd in heaven before his fall,
While he (a creature mighty in the state)
Mark'd by his betters, was to envy thrall,
And shewes the glory there to be more great,
Then can be thought, farre lesse express'd at all:
And for their losse, them with more griefe to charge,
If possibly he could, he would enlarge.
Thus doe they weigh their losse with fancies strong,
Which was at first so easie to prevent;
Then tell to Satan how (suggesting wrong)
He for their ruine had been alwaies bent,
And like a traitor had abus'd them long,
Till now in end made knowne by the event:
And yet with them amidst one furnace throwne,
He mockes their paine, though mourning for his owne.
Loe, in this world, men of the stronger sort,
To scape from death, or some disgrace they feare,
Can frustrate justice that would truth extort,
And, when press'd downe, more high their courage reare,
Yea, constantly with tortures can comport,
Not daigning once a word, a sigh, a teare:
"With divers engines, though sterne paine assailes,
"A generous patience joyn'd with hope, prevailes.
But all the fires which still are burning there,
Where every one a severall torment pines,
Doe no way thaw the frosts of cold despaire,
Whose raging course no season then confines;
No limits are allotted unto care,
To give them ease, no kinde of comfort shines:
And though they finde a weight of huge distresse,
Hope dares not promise that it shall be lesse.
What height of horrour must this justly breed,
To meditate upon the last decree?
How that the wicked, whom vaine pleasures feed,
(By death disclaym'd) must still tormented be?
That which they suffer, doth all bounds exceed,
In time, in measure, and in each degree,
So that they oft most earnestly desire,
That like to beasts, their being might expire.
Some fondly dream'd a superstitious lye,
And for hels paines, a period did attend,
Though Christs owne words the contrary imply,
Goe, get you gone to fires that never end;
Their shame still lasts, their worme doth never dye,
Their torments smoake for ever doth ascend:
And all of this, that sacred writs report,
The paine perpetuall clearely doth import.
Though as the wicked wickedly have wrought,
Each one of them a due reward shall have,
And when before the Lord in judgement brought,
Shall get againe the measure that they gave;
Yet is their doome by some too rigorous thought,
Who on Gods justice would aspersions leave:
And thinke, at this they justly may repine,
For temporall faults eternally to pine.
Those that did come to work, in Christs Vine-yard,
All, as in time, in merit differ might,
Yet did at last enjoy the like reward,
All having more, none lesse, then was his right;
So those in hell whom Sathan gets to guard,
How ever come, are still entomb'd in night:
As Dracons lawes for every fault gave death,
Each sinner doth deserve eternall wrath.
But justice still to goodnesse would direct,
And sparingly sterne rigour doth extend,
To cut them off, that others might infect,
That ones example many may amend;
Not bent to ruine, onely to correct,
All punish'd are, conforme as they offend:
And none give doomes more cruell then the crimes,
Save fearefull tyrants at suspected times.
If that great King who all the world doth judge,
Damne every one who from the light did stray,
In endlesse shadowes dririly to lodge,
Salt flouds of griefe inunding every way;
It seemes to some that they have cause to grudge,
Who trifling things so dearely doe defray,
And for short joyes which but a time did staine,
Still suffer must intollerable paine.
This from Gods judgement derogating nought,
The greater reverence doth from men require;
He markes both what they will'd, and what they wrought,
From wickednesse that never would retire
Till drawn by death, yea still more time they sought,
And if they could have compass'd their desire,
Their filthy aymes affecting things uncleane,
As boundlesse then, had likewise endlesse beene.
The hand may kill, and yet from bloud be free,
Whil'st casualty, not cruelty doth arme,
And many times the heart may guilty be,
Though being hindred from inflicting harme;
The Lord of it that every thought doth see,
When vanity, or violence doth charme,
He verdict gives according to their will,
Though never acting, if affecting ill.
He knew how much they mischiefe did intend,
That vices current death did onely stay,
Which otherwise had never had an end,
As oft their wishes, vainely did bewray;
They who to sinne did all their strength extend,
Should suffer now what possibly they may:
Since him they wrong'd by all the meanes they might,
God punish may with all his power of right.
Loe, treason makes them whom it doth convict,
To loose all that they have, yea, urging more,
Doth on their off-spring punishments inflict,
Whose tainted bloud, time never can restore:
This sentence then cannot be counted strict,
In torments still, which makes the wicked roare:
It onely plagues themselves, but none of theirs,
Who to themselves in misery are heires.
These fearefull tyrants (jealous of their state)
Who would by rigour fright the world from change;
They who did use (the Christians to abate)
In persecutions executions strange;
The inquisition raging now of late,
Whom with the worst we may (as cruell) range;
The torments that they did all three contrive,
To one in hell, can no way neare arrive.
Not onely are both soule and body pin'd,
By sympathie which mutuall paine imparts,
But each one suffers in a severall kinde,
Sprits from within, and from without the hearts;
Though much the body, more to racke the minde,
New engines are devis'd by which it smarts,
Whose spirituall tortures, soules asunder draw,
Worse than the worme that inwardly doth gnaw.
If these againe were to beginne their race,
And by their carriage, freedome could procure,
What course so strange that they would not embrace?
No charming pleasure could them then allure;
Even sicknesse, torment, poverty, disgrace,
They whil'st alive, would willingly endure;
Yea, though their life a thousand yeares should last,
So that their griefe might end when it were past.
And if they would doe this to scape from paine,
Though otherwise the Lord should them neglect,
What would they doe that happinesse to gaine,
Which is design'd for them that are elect?
That they for ever might in heaven remaine,
As those whom God most dearely doth affect;
Iobs suffrings all for this would small appeare,
Though multipli'd so long as they were here.
You who as yet doe draw this common ayre,
And have the meanes salvation to acquire,
Now whil'st the season doth continue faire,
Provide against the storme of swelling ire;
To compasse this extend industrious care,
Before the hasting tearme of grace expire:
That treasure which we should so much esteeme,
All now may have, none can when lost redeeme.
Loose not your thoughts in fancies fields to stray,
Lest charming pleasures doe the judgement blinde,
Which reasons fort to vanity betray,
And (weakening virtue) mollifie the minde;
Then onely leave (when vanishing away)
Remorse, or shame, or wearinesse behinde:
As drunke, or mad, or dreaming at the best,
Fooles thus may rave, but never soundly rest.
Remember that the bounds where we remaine,
Was given to man when as from God he fell,
Not for delight, but in a high disdaine,
Where damn'd to dye, that he a wretch might dwell,
Here first to plague him with continuall paine,
When barr'd from Eden, this was Adams hell,
As hell at last shall be to all his race,
Who proudly sinne, and doe not seek for grace.
And let none thinke (reducing heavens decree)
That they can make this mansion of annoyes,
(As if a Paradise) from trouble free,
A ground for rest, a lodging fit for joyes;
Though numbers (smooth'd with shewes) deluded be,
In place of reall good, affecting toyes:
This is the lists where all a proofe must give,
Who suffring here, more blest when hence shall live.
Loe, thousands oft where dangers are most rife,
With honour, Fortune, or what else held deare,
To all deaths engines, dare expose their life,
Whil'st losse and travell, pleasure doe appeare,
And all the end expected by this strife,
Is but to gaine some towne, or fortresse neare,
Which in their fury, with confusion foil'd,
Is raz'd, ere gayn'd, and soone thereafter spoil'd.
And should not we our whole endeavours bend,
To force that City which triumphs above?
Which doth invite, and not it selfe defend,
With sacred armes, if we couragious prove;
No furniture is needfull for this end,
But patience, hope, faith, charity and love:
And all who doe this holy City gaine,
Shall there for ever (crown'd with glory) raigne.
My Muse abandoning the Stygian bounds,
Which nought but griefe and horrour can afford,
Would gladly mount above the Crystall rounds,
To celebrate the glory of the Lord,
Who by his bounteous pow'r with Angels sounds,
My humble accents sweetly may accord,
And me at length amidst that Quire may bring,
Where I desire eternally to sing.
Last updated January 14, 2019