Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE DEATH OF MR. CRASHAW, by ABRAHAM COWLEY



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ON THE DEATH OF MR. CRASHAW, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Poet and saint! To thee alone are given
Last Line: Twill learn of things divine, and first of thee to sing.
Subject(s): Catholics; Crashaw, Richard (1613-1649); Roman Catholics; Catholicism


POet and Saint! to thee alone are given
The two most sacred Names of Earth and Heaven,
The hard and rarest Union which can be
Next that of Godhead with Humanitie.
Long did the Muses, banisht Slaves abide,
Aud built vain Pyramids to mortal pride;
Like Moses thou (though Spells and Charms withstand)
Hast brought them nobly home back to their Holy Land.
Ah wretched We, Poets of Earth! but Thou
Wert Living, the same Poet which thou'rt Now.
Whilst Angels sing to thee their ayres divine,
And Joy in an applause so great as thine;
Equal society with them to hold,
Thou needst not make new Songs, but say the Old.
And they (kind Spirits!) shall all rejoice to see
How little less then they, Exalted Man may bee.
Still the Old Heathen Gods in Numbers dwell,
The Heavenliest thing on Earth still keeps up Hell,
Nor have we yet quite purged the Christian Land;
Still Idols here, like Calves at Bethel stand.
And though Pan's Death long since all Oracles breaks,
Yet still in Rhyme the Fiend Apollo speaks:
Nay, with the worst of Heathen dotage We
(Vain Men!) the Monster, Woman, Deifie;
Find Stars, and tye our Fates there in a Face,
And Paradise in them, by whom we lost it, place.
What diff'rent faults corrupt our Muses thus?
Wanton as Girls, as Old Wives, Fabulous!
Thy spotless Muse, like Mary, did contain
The boundless Godhead; she did well disdain
That her eternal Verse employ'd should be
On a less Subject then Eternitie;
And for a sacred Mistress scorn'd to take,
But her whom God himself scorn'd not his Spouse to make.
It (in a kind) her Miracle did do;
A Fruitful Mother was, and Virgin too.
How well (blest Swan) did Fate contrive thy Death,
And made thee render up thy tuneful breath
In thy great Mistress Arms? thou most divine
And richest Offering of Loretto's Shrine!
Where like some holy Sacrifice t' expire,
A Fever burns thee, and Love lights the Fire.
Angels (they say) brought the famed Chappel there,
And bore the sacred Load in Triumph thro' the aire.
'Tis surer much they brought thee there, and They,
And Thou, their charge, went singing all the way.
Pardon, my Mother Church, if I consent
That Angels led him when from thee he went;
For ev'n in Error sure no Danger is
When joyn'd with so much Piety as His.
Ah, mighty God, with shame I speak't, and grief,
Ah that our greatest Faults were in Belief!
And our weak Reason were even weaker yet,
Rather then thus our Wills too strong for it.
His Faith perhaps in some nice Tenents might
Be wrong; his Life, I'm sure, was in the right.
And I my self a Catholick will be,
So far at least, great Saint, to Pray to thee.
Hail, Bard triumphant! and some care bestow
On us, the Poets Militant below!
Opposed by our old Enemy, adverse Chance,
Attacqu'ed by Envy, and by Ignorance,
Exchain'd by Beauty, tortured by Desires,
Expos'd by Tyrant-Love to savage Beasts and Fires.
Thou from low earth in nobler Flames didst rise,
And, like Elijah, mount Alive the skies.
Elisha-like (but with a wish much less,
More fit thy Greatness, and my Littleness)
Lo here I beg, (I whom thou once didst prove
So humble to Esteem, so good to Love)
Not that thy Spirit might on me Doubled be,
I ask but half thy mighty Spirit for Me.
And when my Muse soars with so strong a Wing,
'Twill learn of things Divine, and first of Thee to sing.





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