Sunday, 24 April 2022

ON GOD AND MEN

Poor weak and silly mortals, who conceived 
Too foolishly of God while they believed 
That this divinity could be confined 
To any of those places they assigned, 
When even Heaven, which doth this globe embrace, 
Cannot hold Him who yet fills every place, 
Still present in the earth, the sea, the air, 
Not bounded, nor excluded anywhere, 
He in kings’ courts and great assemblies dwells, 
In private houses, and obscured cells. 
His presence over the whole world extends, 
And He to every single heart descends. 
Before designs to their ripe birth are brought, 
He’s at their first conception in the thought, 
And when the black deeds are brought forth, not night 
Nor darkness can obscure them from His sight. 
Yet though He all men’s inclinations knows, 
He often makes experiment of those 
Who boast His name, that when their weak holds fail, 
They, finding mortals’ best perfections frail, 
More humbly may to the Almighty bend 
And upon His, not their own strength depend. 

From Lucy Hutchinson Canto 15: 31-52






Loch Katrine

Thursday, 14 April 2022

AFTER THE FLOOD






 At the Trossachs

Noah indeed did the old world survive,
Yet were his mates and he buried alive
In the decaying ark, not any sense
Appeared continuance there, or issue thence.
But faith through all the clouds saw God their guide
And on his wisdom for th’event relied,
Urging his promise did their frail hearts stay,
Assured they would be saved, though not which way,
At last, after five months were fully spent,
The Lord, pitying their tedious languishment,
Suddenly did their staggering hopes erect
And at their height the raging billows checked.
Whether immediately, as he before
Had framed, the sacred spirit did restore
The ruined world, or purposely, a wind
Whereof we can no cause in nature find,
Created as the means whereby he wrought
A miracle of mercy each way brought
Mankind relief, checked the exulting flood,
Which at his great rebuke now patient stood
And, guilty of its late exorbitance
Shrunk in as fast as it did first advance.

Lucy Hutchinson (1620-1681)
From 'Order and Disorder'.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

TO THE SUPREME BEING





Near Callander


Thou Pow'r Omnipotent, supremely just;
Parent of Nature, never failing trust!
Incline thine ear, and graciously impart,
Thy holy dictates to direct my heart :
Enlighten'd by the rays of holy writ.
Implicit I obey, and meek submit;
From clear conviction, that thy wise decrees. 
Are ministers of good and future ease.
Thy providential care supplies our need ; 
What Pow'r but thee, could form, protect, and feed? 
Diffusive blessings, Virtue, Peace, and Health, 
Are far superior to superfluous wealth: 

Wealth, which vain mortals seek, to shun disgrace,

Ascribed to Poverty's neglected race.
Creator infinite! thy works proclaim,
In gratulations high, thy glorious Name!

The Sun's bright orb, and Moon's reflected light.
And Planetary system charm the sight:
The feather'd choir, in sweet harmonic lays.

Join in full chorus to resound thy praise:
Each Beast, and Insect, all that breathe or move.
Excite our wonder, and the Godhead prove.
The various Elements, and glowing Mine,
With Vegetation fair, are gifts divine.
The Seasons as they change, with grace appear.

And form the beauties of the solar year.
Eternal Source! these blessings I explore,
Thy love paternal, zealously adore;
Inspire my heart with gratitude sincere,
Perfect obedience, reverential fear!
Can Man, thy last and noblest work, refuse

The tribute of applause, thy gifts abuse?
Endow’d with pow’rs to fit him for the skies,
Tho’ mortal in his nature, formed to rise;
But yet deprav’d, degen’rate, weak, and vain,
Prone to transgress, and rectitude disdain;
He needs correction, and provokes thine ire,
He wishes to escape the vengeful fire;
Mistakes the means, nor sees th’important end,
Embraces foes, and spurns his faithful friend.
Fetter’d by Sin, of Innocence bereft,
What hope of pardon, could he then have left?
Yet Thou in mercy, and transcendent love,
Sent his Redeemer from the realms above.
Lord, what is Man, that Thou in pity gave,
Thy only Son, his forfeit soul to save!
All die in Adam, yet in Christ all live;
And for his sake, our flagrant sins forgive!
Accept his ransom, to redeem our loss,
His precepts we revere, and bear his cross;
In him alone we trust to plead our cause,
As vile transgressors of thy sacred laws!
Father of light! Jehovah! Holy King!
To whom th’angelic host enraptured sing,
To thy Omnipotence, let incense rise,
From earth thy footstool, to thy Throne the Skies!

Ann Murry (1750 to after 1818)

Friday, 1 April 2022

Lines from Aemilia Lanyer


 Lines 57-144 

The Heav'ns shall perish as a garment olde,
Or as a vesture by the maker chang'd,
And shall depart, as when a skrowle is rolde;
Yet thou from him shalt never be estrang'd,
When He shall come in glory, that was solde
For all our sinnes; we happily are chang'd,
Who for our faults put on his righteousnesse,
Although full oft his Lawes we doe transgresse.

Long mai'st thou joy in this almightie love,
Long may thy Soule be pleasing in his sight,
Long mai'st thou have true comforts from above,
Long mai'st thou set on him thy whole delight,
And patiently endure when he doth prove,
Knowing that He will surely do thee right:
Thy patience, faith, long suffring, and thy love,
He will reward with comforts from above.

With Majestie and Honour is He clad,
And deck'd with light, as with a garment faire;
He joyes the Meeke, and makes the Mightie sad,
Pulls downe the Prowd, and doth the Humble reare:
Who sees this Bridegroome, never can be sad;
None lives that can his wondrous workes declare:
Yea, looke how farre the Est is from the West,
So farre he sets our sinnes that have transgrest.

He rides upon the wings of all the windes,
And spreads the heav'ns with his all powrefull hand;
Oh! who can loose when the Almightie bindes?
Or in his angry presence dares to stand?
He searcheth out the secrets of all mindes;
All those that feare him, shall possesse the Land:
He is exceeding glorious to behold,
Antient of Times; so faire, and yet so old.

He of the watry Cloudes his Chariot frames,
And makes his blessed Angels powrefull Spirits,
His ministers are fearefull fiery flames,
Rewarding all according to their merits;
The Righteous for an heritage he claimes,
And registers the wrongs of humble spirits:
Hills melt like wax, in presence of the Lord,
So do all sinners, in his sight abhorr'd.

He in the waters laies his chamber beames,

And cloudes of darkenesse compasse him about,
Consuming fire shall goe before in streames,
And burne up all his en'mies round about:
Yet on these Judgements worldlings never dreames,
Nor of these daungers never stand in doubt:
While he shall rest within his holy Hill,
That lives and dies according to his Will.

But woe to them that double-hearted bee,

Who with their tongues the righteous Soules doe slay;
Bending their bowes to shoot at all they see,
With upright hearts their Maker to obay;
And secretly doe let their arrowes flee,
To wound true hearted people any way:
The Lord wil roote them out that speake prowd things,
Deceitfull tongues are but false Slanders wings.

Froward are the ungodly from their berth,
No sooner borne, but they doe goe astray;
The Lord will roote them out from off the earth,
And give them to their en'mies for a pray,
As venemous as Serpents is their breath,
With poysned lies to hurt in what they may
The Innocent: who as a Dove shall flie
Unto the Lord, that he his cause may trie

The righteous Lord doth righteousnesse allow,
His countenance will behold the thing that's just;
Unto the Meane he makes the Mightie bow,
And raiseth up the Poore out of the dust:
Yet makes no count to us, nor when, nor how,
But powres his grace on all, that puts their trust
In him: that never will their hopes betray,
Nor lets them perish that for mercie pray.

He shall within his Tabernacle dwell,
Whose life is uncorrupt before the Lord,
Who no untrueths of Innocents doth tell,
Nor wrongs his neighbour, nor in deed, nor word,
Nor in his pride with malice seems to swell,
Nor whets his tongue more sharper than a sword,
To wound the reputation of the Just;
Nor seekes to lay their glorie in the Dust.

That great Jehova King of heav'n and earth,
Will raine downe fire and brimstone from above,
Upon the wicked monsters in their berth
That storme and rage at those whom he doth love:
Snares, stormes, and tempests he will raine, and dearth,
Because he will himselfe almightie prove:
And this shall be their portion they shall drinke,
That thinkes the Lord is blind when he doth winke.


Aemilia Lanyer (1569-1645) was the first known woman writer in English who produced a substantial volume of poetry designed to be printed, and to attract patronage. Her most notable poem is: Salve Deus Rex Jud├Žorum which is a lengthy contemplation of the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus. It does look at things in some ways from a female perspective, and has been latched onto as proto-feminist to advance a feminist agenda. This is unfair to what is a deep contemplation. But it is marred by the apparent need for patronage; it is addressed to Margaret, Countess of Cumberland, and there are numerous other female patrons addressed, with the tone rather flattering. There is a Penguin book Renaissance Women Poets which contains most of Salve … How the omissions were chosen is hard to fathom. This is one omitted section.