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Do but hold still, and I will let thee see
Yet in my ways more mysteries there be.
Shall not I do thee good, if I thee tell,
I show to thee a four-fold way to hell;
For, since I set my web in sundry places,
I show men go to hell in divers traces.
One I set in the window, that I might
Show some go down to hell with gospel light.
One I set in a corner, as you see,
To show how some in secret snared be.
Gross webs great store I set in darksome places,
To show how many sin with brazen faces;
Another web I set aloft on high,
To show there's some professing men must die.
Thus in my ways God wisdom doth conceal,
And by my ways that wisdom doth reveal.
I hide myself when I for flies do wait,
So doth the devil when he lays his bait;
If I do fear the losing of my prey,
I stir me, and more snares upon her lay:
This way and that her wings and legs I tie,
That, sure as she is catch'd, so she must die.
But if I see she's like to get away,
Then with my venom I her journey stay.
All which my ways the devil imitates
To catch men, 'cause he their salvation hates.
O spider, thou delight'st me with thy skill! I pr'ythce spit this venom at me still.
I am a spider, yet I can possess
The palace of a king, where happiness
So much abounds. Nor when I do go thither,
Do they ask what, or whence I come, or whither
I make my hasty travels; no, not they;
They let me pass, and I go on my way.
I scize the palace,' do with hands take hold
Of doors, of locks, or bolts; yea, I am bold,
When in, to clamber up unto the throne,
And to possess it, as if 'twere mine own.
Nor is there any law forbidding me
Here to abide, or in this palace be.
Yea, if I please, I do the highest stories
Ascend, there sit, and so behold the glories
Myself is compassed with, as if I were
One of the chiefest courtiers that be there.
Here lords and ladies do come round about me,
With grave demeanour, nor do flout
For this, my brave adventure, no, not they;
They come, they go, but leave me there to stay.
See Pr. xxx. 20, and Pilgrim's Progress, p. 185. There is also a very striking allusion to the subject of this emblem, in Bunyan's Light in Darkness, vol. i., p. 435.
Now, my reproacher, I do by all this
Show how thou may'st possess thyself of bliss:
Thou art worse than a spider, but take hold
On Christ the door, thou shalt not be controll'd.
By him do thou the heavenly palace enter;
None chide thee will for this thy brave adventure;
Approach thou then unto the very throne,
There speak thy mind, fear not, the day's thine
Nor saint, nor angel, will thee stop or stay,
But rather tumble blocks out of the way.
My venom stops not me; let not thy vice
Stop thee; possess thyself of paradise.
Go on, I say, although thou be a sinner,
Learn to be bold in faith, of me a spinner.
This is the way the glories to possess,
And to enjoy what no man can express.
Sometimes I find the palace door uplock'd,
And so my entrance thither has upblock'd.
But am I daunted? No, I here and there
Do feel and search; so if I anywhere,
At any chink or crevice, find my way,
I crowd, I press for passage, make no stay.
And so through difficulty I attain
The palace; yea, the throne where princes reign.
I crowd sometimes, as if I'd burst in sunder;
And art thou crushed with striving, do not wonder.
Some scarce get in, and yet indeed they enter;
Knock, for they nothing have, that nothing venture.
Nor will the King himself throw dirt on thee,
As thou hast cast reproaches upon me.
He will not hate thee, O thou foul backslider!
As thou didst me, because I am a spider.
Now, to conclude: since I such doctrine bring,
Slight me no more, call me not ugly thing.
God wisdom hath unto the piss-ant given,
And spiders may teach men the way to heaven.
Well, my good spider, I my errors see,
I was a fool for railing upon thee.
Thy nature, venom, and thy fearful hue,
Both show what sinners are, and what they do.
Thy way and works do also darkly tell,
How some men go to heaven, and some to hell.
Thou art my monitor, I am a fool;
They learn may, that to spiders go to school.
MEDITATIONS UPON THE DAY BEFORE THE SUN-
BUT all this while, where's he whose golden rays
Drives night away and beautifies our days?
Where's he whose goodly face doth warm and heal,
And show us what the darksome nights conceal?
Where's he that thaws our ice, drives cold away?
Let's have him, or we care not for the day.
Thus 'tis with who partakers are of grace,
There's nought to them like their Redeemer's face.
OF THE MOLE IN THE GROUND.
THE mole's a creature very smooth and slick,
She digs i' th' dirt, but 'twill not on her stick;
So's he who counts this world his greatest gains,
Yet nothing gets but's labour for his pains.
Earth's the mole's element, she can't abide
To be above ground, dirt heaps are her pride;
And he is like her who the worldling plays,
He imitates her in her work and ways.
Poor silly mole, that thou should'st love to be
Where thou nor sun, nor moon, nor stars can sce.
But O! how silly's he who doth not care
So he gets earth, to have of heaven a share!
THOυ booby, say'st thou nothing but Cuckoo?
The robin and the wren can thee outdo.
They to us play thorough their little throats,
Taking not one, but sundry pretty taking notes.
But thou hast fellows, some like thee can do
Little but suck our eggs, and sing Cuckoo.
Thy notes do not first welcome in our spring,
Nor dost thou its first tokens to us bring.
Birds less than thee by far, like prophets, do
Tell us, 'tis coming, though not by Cuckoo.
Nor dost thou summer have away with thee,
Though thou a yawling bawling Cuckoo be.
When thou dost cease among us to appear,
Then doth our harvest bravely crown our year.
But thou hast fellows, some like thee can do
Little but suck our eggs, and sing Cuckoo.
Since Cuckoos forward not our early spring,
Nor help with notes to bring our harvest in;
And since, while here, she only makes a noise,
So pleasing unto none as girls and boys,
The Formalist we may compare her to,
For he doth suck our eggs, and sing Cuckoo.
OF THE BOY AND BUTTERFLY.
BEHOLD how eager this our little boy
Is for this Butterfly, as if all joy,
All profits, honours, yea, and lasting pleasures,
Were wrapt up in her, or the richest treasures,
Found in her, would be bundled up together,
When all her all is lighter than a feather.
He halloos, runs, and cries out, Here, boys, here,
Nor doth he brambles or the nettles fear.
He stumbles at the mole-hills, up he gets,
And runs again, as one bereft of wits;
And all this labour and this large outcry,
Is only for a silly butterfy.
This little boy an emblem is of those
Whose hearts are wholly at the world's dispose,
The butterfly doth represent to me,
The world's best things at best but fading be.
All are but painted nothings and false joys,
Like this poor butterfly to these our boys.
His running thorough nettles, thorns, and briars,
To gratify his boyish fond desires;
His tumbling over mole-hills to attain
His end, namely, his butterfly to gain;
Doth plainly show what hazards some men run.
To get what will be lost as soon as won.
Men seem in choice, than children far more wise,
Because they run not after butterflies;
When yet, alas! for what are empty toys,
They follow children, like to beardless boys.'
OF THE FLY AT THE CANDLE.
WHAT ails this fly thus desperately to enter
A combat with the candle? Will she venture
To clash at light? Away, thou silly fly;
Thus doing thou wilt burn thy wings and die.
But 'tis a folly her advice to give,
She'll kill the candle, or she will not live.
Slap, says she, at it; then she makes retreat,
So wheels about, and doth her blows repeat.
Nor doth the candle let her quite escape,
But gives some little check unto the ape:
Throws up her heels it doth, so down she falls,
Where she lies sprawling, and for succour calls.
When she recovers, up she gets again,
And at the candle comes with might and main,
But now behold, the candle takes the fly,
And holds her, till she doth by burning die.
This candle is an emblem of that light
Our gospel gives in this our darksome night.
The fly a lively picture is of those
That hate and do this gospel light oppose.
At last the gospel doth become their snare,
Doth them with burning hands in pieces tear."
He who, in riper years, seeks happiness in sensual gratification, is a child in understanding: he only changes his toys.-(ED.)
To the one, a savour of death unto death; and to the other, a savour of life unto life," 2 Co. ii. 16.
ON THE RISING OF THE SUN.
Look, look, brave Sol doth peep up from beneath,
Shows us his golden facc, doth on us breathe;
He also doth compass us round with glories,
Whilst he ascends up to his highest stories.
Where he his banner over us displays,
And gives us light to see our works and ways.
Nor are we now, as at the peep of light,
To question, is it day, or is it night?
The night is gone, the shadows fled away,
And we now most sure are that it is day.
Our eyes behold it, and our hearts believe it;
Nor can the wit of man in this deceive it.
And thus it is when Jesus shows his face,
And doth assure us of his love and grace.
UPON THE PROMISING FRUITFULNESS OF A TREE.
A COMELY sight indeed it is to see
A world of blossoms on an apple-tree:
Yet far more comely would this tree appear,
If all its dainty blooms young apples were.
But how much more might one upon it see,
If all would hang there till they ripe should be.
But most of all in beauty 'twould abound,
If then none worm-eaten should there be found.
But we, alas! do commonly behold
Blooms fall apace, if mornings be but cold.
They too, which hang till they young apples are,
By blasting winds and vermin take despair,
Store that do hang, while almost ripe, we see
By blust'ring winds are shaken from the tree,
So that of many, only some there be,
That grow till they come to maturity.
This tree a perfect emblem is of those
Which God doth plant, which in his garden grows,
Its blasted blooms are motions unto good,
Which chill affections do nip in the bud.
Those little apples which yet blasted are,
Show some good purposes, no good fruits bear.
Those spoiled by vermin are to let us see,
How good attempts by bad thoughts ruin'd be.
Those which the wind blows down, while they are
Show good works have by trials spoiled been.
Those that abide, while ripe upon the tree,
Show, in a good man, some ripe fruit will be.
Behold then how abortive some fruits are,
Which at the first most promising appear.
The frost, the wind, the worm, with time doth show,
There flows, from much appearance, works but few.
THE thief, when he doth steal, thinks he doth gain;
Yet then the greatest loss he doth sustain.
Come, thief, tell me thy gains, but do not falter,
When summ'd, what comes it to more than the
Perhaps, thoul't say, The halter I defy;
So thou may'st say, yet by the halter die.
Thou❜lt say, Then there's an end; no, pr'ythee, bold,
He was no friend of thine that thee so told.
Hear thou the Word of God, that will thee tell,
Without repentance thieves must go to hell.
But should it be as thy false prophet says,
Yet nought but loss doth come by thievish ways.
All honest men will flee thy company,
Thou liv'st a rogue, and so a rogue will die.
Innocent boldness thou hast none at all,
Thy inward thoughts do thee a villain call.
Sometimes when thou liest warmly on thy bed,
Thou art like one unto the gallows led.
Fear, as a constable, breaks in upon thee,
Thou art as if the town was up to stone thee.
If hogs do grunt, or silly rats do rustle,
Thou art in consternation, think'st a bustle
By men about the door, is made to take thee,
And all because good conscience doth forsake thee.
Thy case is most deplorably so bad,
Thou shunn'st to think on't, lest thou shouldst be mad.
Thou art beset with mischiefs every way,
The gallows groaneth for thee every day.
Wherefore, I pr'ythee, thief, thy theft forbear,
Consult thy safety, pr'ythee, have a care.
If once thy head be got within the noose,
"Twill be too late a longer life to choose.
As to the penitent thou readest of,
What's that to them who at repentance scoff.
Nor is that grace at thy command or power,
That thou should'st put it off till the last hour.
I pr'ythee, thief, think on't, and turn betime;
Few go to life who do the gallows climb.
OF THE CHILD WITH THE BIRD AT THE BUSII.
My little bird, how canst thou sit
And sing amidst so many thorns?
Let me a hold upon thee get,
My love with honour thee adorns. Thou art at present little worth,
Five farthings none will give for thee, But pr'ythee, little bird, come forth, Thou of more value art to me. 'Tis true it is sunshine to-day, To-morrow birds will have a storm;
My pretty one come thou away,
My bosom then shall keeep thee warm. Thou subject are to cold o'nights,
When darkness is thy covering; At days thy danger's great by kites,
How can'st thou then sit there and sing? Thy food is scarce and scanty too,
'Tis worms and trash which thou dost eat; Thy present state I pity do,
Come, I'll provide thee better meat. I'll feed thee with white bread and milk, And sugar plumbs, if them thou crave. I'll cover thee with finest silk,
That from the cold I may thee save. My father's palace shall be thine,
Yea, in it thou shalt sit and sing;
My little bird, if thou'lt be mine,
The whole year round shall be thy spring.
I'll teach thee all the notes at court,
Unthought-of music thou shalt play;
And all that thither do resort,
Shall praise thee for it every day.
I'll keep thee safe from cat and cur,
No manner o' harm shall come to thee;
Yea, I will be thy succourer,
My bosom shall thy cabin be. But lo, behold, the bird is gone;
These charmings would not make her yield; The child's left at the bush alone,
The bird flies yonder o'er the field.
This child of Christ an emblem is,
The bird to sinners I compare,
The thorns are like those sins of his
Which do surround him everywhere. Her songs, her food, and sunshine day, Are emblems of those foolish toys, Which to destruction lead the way,
The fruit of worldly, empty joys. The arguments this child doth choose
To draw to him a bird thus wild, Shows Christ familiar speech doth use To make's to him be reconciled. The bird in that she takes her wing, To speed her from him after all, Shows us vain man loves any thing Much better than the heavenly call.
OF MOSES AND HIS WIFE.
THIS Moses was a fair and comely man,
His wife a swarthy Ethiopian;
Nor did his milk-white bosom change her skin.
She came out thence as black as she went in.
Now Moses was a type of Moses' law,
His wife likewise of one that never saw
way unto eternal life;
There's mystery, then, in Moses and his wife.
The law is very holy, just, and good,
And to it is espoused all flesh and blood;
But this its goodness it cannot bestow
On any that are wedded thereunto.
Therefore as Moses' wife came swarthy in,
And went out from him without change of skin,
So he that doth the law for life adore,
Shall yet by it be left a black-a-more.
THIS homely bush doth to mine eyes expose
A very fair, yea, comely ruddy rose.
This rose doth also bow its head to me,
Saying, Come, pluck me, I thy rose will be;
Yet offer I to gather rose or bud,
Ten to one but the bush will have my blood.
This looks like a trapan,' or a decoy,
To offer, and yet snap, who would enjoy;
Yea, the more eager on't, the more in danger,
Be he the master of it, or a stranger.
Bush, why dost bear a rose if none must have it,
Who dost expose it, yet claw those that crave it?
Art become freakish? dost the wanton play,
Or doth thy testy humour tend its way?
This rose God's Son is, with his ruddy looks.
But what's the bush, whose pricks, like tenter-hooks,
Do scratch and claw the finest lady's hands,
Or rend her clothes, if she too near it stands?
This bush an emblem is of Adam's race,
Of which Christ came, when he his Father's grace
Commended to us in his crimson blood,
While he in sinners' stead and nature stood.
Thus Adam's race did bear this dainty rose,
And doth the same to Adam's race expose;
But those of Adam's race which at it catch,
Adam's race will them prick, and claw, and scratch.
OF THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN.
WHAT, hast thou run thy race, art going down?
Thou seemest angry, why dost on us frown?
Yea, wrap thy head with clouds and hide thy face,
As threatening to withdraw from us thy grace?
O leave us not! When once thou hid'st thy head,
Our horizon with darkness will be spread.
1 Trapan' is the Saxon verb to ensnare, modernized to trap.-(ED.)
Tell who hath thee offended, turn again. Alas! too late, intreaties are in vain.
Our gospel has had here a summer's day,
But in its sunshine we, like fools, did play;
Or else fall out, and with each other wrangle,
And did, instead of work, not much but jangle.
And if our sun seems angry, hides his face,
Shall it go down, shall night possess this place?
Let not the voice of night birds us afflict,
And of our misspent summer us convict.'
THE frog by nature is both damp and cold, Her mouth is large, her belly much will hold; She sits somewhat ascending, loves to be Croaking in gardens, though unpleasantly.
The hypocrite is like unto this frog,
As like as is the puppy to the dog.
He is of nature cold, his mouth is wide
To prate, and at true goodness to deride.
He mounts his head as if he was above
The world, when yet 'tis that which has his love.
And though he seeks in churches for to croak,
He neither loveth Jesus nor his yoke.
UPON THE WHIPPING OF A TOP.
"TIs with the whip the boy sets up the top, The whip makes it run round upon its toe; The whip makes it hither and thither hop: "Tis with the whip the top is made to go.
Our legalist is like unto this top,
Without a whip he doth not duty do; Let Moses whip him, he will skip and hop; Forbear to whip, he'll neither stand nor go.
MUST we unto the pismire go to school,
To learn of her in summer to provide
For winter next ensuing. Man's a fool,
Or silly ants would not be made his guide.
How agonizing will be the cry of the lost soul-"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved,' Jer. viii. 20.-(ED.) Upon the brittle thread of life hang everlasting things.-Mason.
But, sluggard, is it not a shame for thee
To be outdone by pismires? Pr'ythee hear: Their works, too, will thy condemnation be
When at the judgment-seat thou shalt appear. But since thy God doth bid thee to her go, Obey, her ways consider, and be wise; The piss-ant tell thee will what thou must do, And set the way to life before thine eyes.
He wants, he asks, he pleads his poverty,
They within doors do him an alms deny.
He doth repeat and aggravate his grief,
But they repulse him, give him no relief.
He begs, they say, Begone; he will not hear,
But coughs, sighs, and makes signs he still is there;
They disregard him, he repeats his groans;
They still say nay, and he himself bemoans.
They grow more rugged, they call him vagrant;
He cries the shriller, trumpets out his want.
At last, when they perceive he'll take no nay,
An alms they give him without more delay.
This beggar doth resemble them that pray
To God for mercy, and will take no nay,
But wait, and count that all his hard gainsays
Are nothing else but fatherly delays;
Then imitate him, praying souls, and cry:
There's nothing like to importunity.
UPON THE HORSE AND HIS RIDER.
THERE'S one rides very sagely on the road,
Showing that he affects the gravest mode.
Another rides tantivy, or full trot,
To show much gravity he matters not.
Lo, here comes one amain, he rides full speed,
Hedge, ditch, nor miry bog, he doth not heed.
One claws it up-hill without stop or check,
Another down as if he'd break his neck.
Now every horse has his especial guider;
Then by his going you may know the rider.
Now let us turn our horse into a man,
His rider to a spirit, if we can.
Then let us, by the methods of the guider,
Tell every horse how he should know his rider.
Some go, as men, direct in a right way,
Nor are they suffered to go astray;
As with a bridle they are governed,
And kept from paths which lead unto the dead.