Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, Γενεθλιακον, by JOSEPH BEAUMONT

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Γενεθλιακον, by                    
First Line: Whilst I behinde me cast my annual ey
Last Line: Thy graces aid, at least now gin to live.
Subject(s): England; Grief; Holidays; Hope; New Year; English; Sorrow; Sadness; Optimism

WHILST I behinde Me cast my annual Ey,
What do I but my Sodome spy!
O lamentable Sight
Which justly might
Not fix Me in a pile of Salt,
But all my guilty Essence melt
Into a Flood of Paenitence, whose Tide
Might drown that which is gone,
And let me safely on
Its back unto the shore of this Year ride!


Alas! that I must these twelve Moneths discount,
In which my Life did not amount
To more than Death: For though
I made a show
Of breathing, & still walkd about
As yf in Lifes trade I had wrought;
Yet, sure my Paths were but the ways of Sinn,
I did but cheat my Breath,
And wretchedly taught Death
Its Victory before its time to win.


For is not now my Soule worse by a year
Than 'twas before? Am I not heer
Much further from my God,
Than when I trode
My two & thirtieth Round? And by
This distance of Impiety
I grovel in a deadly Sink; For though
Fond Men beleve where e'r
They breathe, they Living are,
Yet sure in Heavn alone true Life doth grow.


Those Judgements which now in our Island reign,
Might well have weand me to abstein
From the bewitching Breast
Of Worldly Rest;
And rather to Heavns Bottles send
My hearts inflamed Thirst, than spend
My pretious Time to suck that Milk which can
Perhaps right-sweetly mock,
Or delicately choke,
But never nourish the faint Soule of Man.


Yet foolish I heer needs would linger still,
To get of Emptines my fill:
As yf Heavns Pleasure must
On my vain Lust
Have danc'd attendance; & I might
Heerafter time enough have light
My lamp of Piety; yea though I knew
Mortalities least blast
Might Deaths sad curtains cast
O'r my Lifes candle, e'r I older grew.


Alas, yf any Act appeard in Me
Which might with credit owned be,
I finde no ground to call
It mine; for all
Its beauty flowd from His fair Love
Whose Mercy with my Vilenes strove.
Nor must the stinking Puddle think that she
Is beauteous, 'cause the Sun
By kinde effusion
Makes Her the Glass of his bright Majestie.


But sure, too sure, I am that Shame alone
Belongs to all that I have done:
Nor can my Blushes die
So deep & high
My guilty Cheeks, but tinctur'd in
A redder grain I finde my Sin;
A grain so obstinate, that were the Blood
Of JESUS less than what
It is, my woefull Blot
Could not be washd away by any Flood.


Yet Heavns (& none but Heavns) allserching Ey
Did this Years mystik Pangs descry,
With which my Heart, alas,
In travel was:
For close I huggd my sweet Distress,
And feasted on its bitterness.
I feasted; but my cruel Banquet still
Reveng'd my appetite,
By torturing Delight,
And bred more hunger as it more did fill.


That noble Soule whose Sweetnes made this Feast,
And deignd to let Me be the Guest,
Though much it knew, yet saw
Not upon how
Seveer & mercyless a Rack
My Thoughts & all my Spirits were broke.
No! Had it known, its generous Love would by
Some speedy Art have found
A way to close that Wound
Which all this tedious Year did open ly.


Not all the Seas Wealth could with Me prevail
Through such another Year to sail,
In which the soule of Gall
Was mixd with all
My dearest Tides of Joy, whilst I
By Absences strange cruelty
A thousand present Shipwracks felt, & though
I was in ken (& more,)
Of my desired shore,
Yet might (I know not why,) not thether row.


How often has my working Minde been tost,
And in Amazements billows lost!
Against the insultations
Of mutinous Passions
As often as I pitchd the feild
So often was I forc'd to yeild:
For in my bosomes Arcenal did ly
My pretious Conqueror, and
How then could I withstand
Those volleys which from my own heart did fly?


What can I do, great LOVE, but sue to Thee,
The Master of my heart & Me?
Yf this my deer Designe
Run cross to thine;
Yf it inferrs, (what I abhorr,)
My noblest Freinds true damage; or
My own Soules Loss: oh rather in the Sea
Of all those Woes which can
Wrack this poor Life of Man
May I be plung'd, than it should compassd be.


But yf this Joy of mine suits with thy Pleasure,
Give me possession of my Treasure.
Fain would I, this Request
Should be the Best;
Yet still I would not, yf it be
Not most intirely such to Thee.
O JESU, Thou who se'st my Heart, & all
The Pangs which revell there,
Give thy propitious Ear
Unto thy prostrate Worms lamenting Call.


So shall this new uncertain Year, to Me
Assure it self a Jubile;
So shall my wearied Breast
Attain such Rest
As for thy Work may fitt Me; So
No longer I perplexd shall go
In Doubts & Fears wilde Maze; So shall I strive
To gain those Years which I
Have lost before, & by
Thy Graces Aid, at least now gin to Live.

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