ePub 版
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]



If she doth then the subtle sense excel,

How gross are they that drown her in the blood? Or in the body's humours temper'd well;

As if in them such high perfection stood?

As if most skill in that musician were,

Which had the best, and best tun'd instrument?
As if the pencil neat, and colours clear,
Had pow'r to make the painter excellent?

Why doth not beauty then refine the wit,
And good complexion rectify the will?
Why doth not health bring wisdom still with it?
Why doth not sickness make men brutish still.

Who can in memory, or wit, or will,

Or air, or fire, or earth, or water find? What alchymist can draw, with all his skill, The quintessence of these out of the mind?

If th' elements which have nor life, nor sense, Can breed in us so great a pow'r as this, Why give they not themselves like excellence, Or other things wherein their mixture is ?

If she were but the body's quality,

Then she would be with it sick, maim'd, and blind: But we perceive where these privations be, An healthy, perfect, and sharp-sighted mind.

If she the body's nature did partake,


Her strength would with the body's strength de-
But when the body's strongest sinews slake,
Then is the soul most active, quick, and gay.

If she were but the body's accident,
And her sole being did in it subsist,
As white in snow, she might herself absent,
And in the body's substance not be miss'd.
But it on her, not she on it depends;

For she the body doth sustain and cherish :
Such secret pow'rs of life to it she leuds,

That when they fail, then doth the body perish.

Since then the soul works by herself alone,
Springs not from sense, nor humours well agreeing,
Her nature is peculiar, and her own;
She is a substance, and a perfect being.



BUT though this substance be the root of sense,
Sense knows her not, which doth but bodies know:
She is a spirit, and heav'nly influence,
Which from th' fountain of God's spirit doth flow.

She is a spirit, yet not like air or wind;

Nor like the spirits about the heart or brain; Nor like those spirits which alchymists do find, When they in ev'ry thing seek gold in vain.

For she all natures under Heav'n doth pass, [see,
Being like those spirits, which God's bright face do
Oi like himself, whose image once she was,
Though now, alas! she scarce his shadow be.

For of all forms, she holds the first degree, That are to gross material bodies knit; Yet she herself is bodyless and free;

And, though confin'd, is almost infinite,

Were she a body, how could she remain

Within this body, which is less than she? Or how could she the world's great shape contain, And in our narrow breasts contained be?

All bodies are confin'd within some place,
But she all place within herself confines:
All bodies have their measure and their space;
But who can draw the soul's dimensive lines?

No body can at once two forms admit,

Except the one the other do deface; But in the soul ten thousand forms do sit, And none intrudes into her neighbour's place.

All bodies are with other bodies fill'd,

But she receives both Heav'n and Earth together: Nor are their forms by rash encounter spill'd, For there they stand, and neither toucheth either.

Nor can her wide embracements filled be;

For they that most and greatest things embrace, Enlarge thereby their mind's capacity,

As streams enlarg'd, enlarge the channel's space.

All things receiv'd do such proportion take,

As those things have wherein they are receiv'd; So little glasses little faces make,

And narrow webs on narrow frames are weav'd.

Then what vast body must we make the mind,
Wherein are men, beasts, trees, towns, seas, and
And yet each thing a proper place doth find, [lands;
And each thing in the true proportion stands?
Doubtless, this could not be, but that she turns
Bodies to spirits, by sublimation strange;
As fire converts to fire the things it burus;
As we our meats into our nature change.

From their gross matter she abstracts the forms,
And draws a kind of quintessence from things;
Which to her proper nature she transforms,

To bear them light on her celestial wings.

This doth she, when, from things particular,
She doth abstract the universal kinds,
Which bodyless and immaterial are,
And can be only lodg'd within our minds.

And thus, from divers accidents and acts
Which do within her observation fail,
She goddesses and pow'rs divine abstracts;
As Nature, Fortune, and the Virtues all.
Again; how can she sev'ral bodies know,
If in herself a body's form she bear?
How can a mirror sundry faces show,

If from all shapes and forms it be not clear?

? That it cannot be a body.

Nor could we by our eyes all colours learn,
Except our eyes were of all colours void;
Nor sundry tastes can any tongue discern,
Which is with gross and bitter humours cloy'd.

Nor can a man of passions judge aright,
Except his mind be from all passions free:
Nor can a judge his office well acquit,
If he possess'd of either party be.

If, lastly, this quick pow'r a body were,
Were it as swift as is the wind or fire,
(Whose atoms do the one down side-ways bear,
And th' other make in pyramids aspire.)

Her nimble body yet in time must move,

And not in instants through all places slide: But she is nigh and far, beneath, above,

In point of time, which thought cannot divide:

She's sent as soon to China as to Spain;

And thence returns, as soon as she is sent: She measures with one time, and with one pain, An ell of silk, and Heav'n's wide spreading tent.

As then the soul a substance hath alone, Besides the body in which she 's confin'd; So hath she not a body of her own,

But is a spirit, and immaterial mind.

Since body and soul have such diversities,

Well might we muse, how first their match began; But that we learn, that he that spread the skies, And fix'd the Earth, first form'd the soul in man.

This true, Prometheus first made man of earth, And shed in him a beam of heav'nly fire; Now in their mother's wombs, before their birth, Doth in all sons of men their souls inspire.

And as Minerva is in fables said,

So our true Jove, without a mother's aid, From Jove, without a mother, to proceed; Doth daily millious of Minervas breed.



THEN neither from eternity before,

Nor from the time, when time's first point begun, Made he all souls, which now he keeps in store; Some in the Moon, and others in the Sun:

Nor in a secret cloister doth he keep

These virgin-spirits, till their marriage day; Nor locks them up in chambers, where they sleep, Till they awake within these beds of clay.

Nor did he first a certain number make,
Infusing part in beast and part in men;
And, as unwilling further pains to take,
Would make no more than those he framed then.

So that the widow soul, her body dying,
Unto the next born body married was;
And so by often changing, and supplying,
Men's souls to beasts, and beasts to men did pass.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

So, though God make the soul good, rich, and fair,
Yet when her form is to the body knit,
Which makes the man, which man is Adam's heir,
Justly forthwith he takes his grace from it:

And then the soul, being first from nothing brought, When God's grace fails her, doth to nothing fall;

And this declining proneness unto nought,
Is e'en that sin that we are born withal.

Yet not alone the first good qualities,

Which in the first soul were, deprived are; But in their place the contrary do rise,

And real spots of sin her beauty mar.

Nor is it strange, that Adam's ill desert

Should be transferr'd unto his guilty race, When Christ his grace and justice doth impart To men unjust, and such as have no grace.

Lastly, the soul were better so to be

Born slave to sin, than not to be at all; Since (if she do believe) one sets her free,

That makes her mount the higher for her fall.

Yet this the curious wits will not content;

They yet will know (since God foresaw this ill) Why his high providence did not prevent

The declination of the first man's will.

If by his word he had the current stay'd
Of Adam's will, which was by nature free,
It had been one, as if his word had said,
I will henceforth that man no man shall be.

For what is man without a moving mind,
Which hath a judging wit, and choosing will?
Now, if God's pow'r should her election bind,
Her motions then would cease and stand all still.

And why did God in man this soul infuse,

But that he should his Maker know and love? Now, if love be compell'd, and cannot choose, How can it grateful or thank-worthy prove?

Love must free-hearted be, and voluntary;
And not enchanted, or by fate constrain'd:
Nor like that love, which did Ulysses carry
To Circe's isle, with mighty charms enchain'd.

Besides, were we unchangeable in will,

And of a wit that nothing could misdeem; Equal to God, whose wisdom shineth still, And never errs we might ourselves esteem.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]



THIS substance, and this spirit of God's own making,
Is in the body plac'd, and planted here,
"That both of God, and of the world partaking,
Of all that is, man might the image bear."

God first made angels bodiless, pure minds;
Then other things, which mindless bodies be;
Last, he made man, th' horizon 'twixt both kinds,
In whom we do the world's abridgment see.

Besides, this world below did need one wight,
Which might thereof distinguish ev'ry part;
Make use thereof, and take therein delight;
And order things with industry and art:

Which also God might in his works admire,

And here beneath yield him both pray'r and praise; As there, above, the holy angels choir

Doth spread his glory forth with spiritual lays.

Lastly, the brute, unreasonable wights,

Did want a visible king, o'er them to reign: And God himself thus to the world unites, That so the world might endless bliss obtain.


IN WHAT MANNER THE SOUL is UNITED TO THE BODY. BUT how shall we this union well express?

Naught ties the soul, her subtlety is such; She moves the body, which she doth possess ; Yet no part toucheth, but by virtue's touch. Then dwells she not therein, as in a tent; Nor as a pilot in his ship doth sit; Nor as the spider in his web is pent; Nor as the wax retains the print in it;

Nor as a vessel water doth contain;

Nor as one liquor in another shed; Nor as the heat doth in the fire remain; Nor as a voice throughout the air is spread:

But as the fair and cheerful morning light
Doth here and there her silver-beams impart,
And in an instant doth herself unite

To the transparent air, in all and ev'ry part:

Still resting whole, when blows the air divide; Abiding pure, when th' air is most corrupted; Throughout the air, her beams dispersing wide; And when the air is toss'd, not interrupted:

So doth the piercing soul the body fill,

Being all in all, and all in part diffus'd; Indivisible, incorruptible still;

Nor forc'd, encounter'd, troubled, or confus'd.

And as the Sun above the light doth bring,
Though we behold it in the air below;
So from the eternal light the soul doth spring,
Though in the body she her pow'rs do show.

« 上一頁繼續 »