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



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FAITH, by            
First Line: Illustrious mayd, what foule idolatrie
Last Line: To make a soule grow faire, which was forlorne.
Subject(s): Christianity; Faith; Belief; Creed


ILLUSTRIOUS Mayd, what foule Idolatrie
Grows big & impudent under thy faire Name!
Yea They, whose throats stretch'd wth loud Zeale, decry
Ev'n harmlesse Usefull Pictures, are ye same
Double-fac'd Men, whose bold hypocrisie
One Idoll makes for all, & sets up Thee.

They set Thee up, & then they hold Thee fast,
Lest left unto thy Selfe Thou tumble downe:
Faire Hands, & Armes (but not their use) Thou hast
For they, as Thou thy selfe, are not thine owne:
Two feet they give Thee, but not one to goe;
Was ever Heathen God more stock then so!

Yet in this Stock they put their desperate trust,
To yeild them Life immortall when they die.
Besotted Soules, ev'n your owne mouldring Dust
Is lesse of kin unto Mortalitie
Then this vaine God, who surely cannot give
Life unto you, unlesse it selfe did live.

How often has it falln, & broken layn
Before ye Ark of Truth! oh wast no more
Your Arguments to naile it up againe,
And fit it for new falls: upon ye floore
All broken as it is, still let it ly:
Better that rot, then you its Makers dy.

And rot it will. But genuine Faith doth lead
A brisk & active Life, a Life of Fire:
For Love Her Brother is, & that pure Breed
With restlesse action all to Heavn aspire;
No Flames wth more unwearied fervencie
Heave up their labouring hands to reach ye skie.

When e'r Shee comes abroad, close by her side
To keep her warme, her sparkling Brother goes;
And then her bounteous Armes spread far & wide
Let none escape her, whither Friends or Foes.
Her Rule is, All; & by none else will Shee
Frame ye dimensions of her Pietie.

She alwayes busy is with hand & Heart
To help her Followers in at Heavns strait Gate:
Nor ever failes Shee to performe her part,
Unlesse they lagg & tire, & come too late.
If this Gate once be shut, Faith must not hope
Though She could Mountaines move, to thrust it ope.

Through all ye billows of this working Sea,
This Life of Waves & Tempests, She doth guide
Our tender crazie bark; ye safely We
Past ye huge rocks of black Despaire may ride.
In vaine ye winds conspire lowd war to wage;
Cast anchor, HOPE, says She, & let them rage!

The Church & Sacrament She doth frequent,
But cares not greatly for ye Subtile Schoole;
Humilitie's her Wisdome: She's content
Though saucy Syllogismes conclude her foole.
Logik has no such reason to despise
This simple Maid, could it but use its eyes:

For at Her conquering feet it might descry
Whole Legions of venturous Arguments
Disarm'd, & trampled downe: No Heresy
Did e'r rebell against Her, but repents,
And there confesses, that what ever were
Their Premises, Conclusions make for Her.

The Scepter that She beares, though rude & plaine,
Yet strikes this terror through Her proudest foes;
It is of Wood, wth Blood all dye'd in graine
A downright Crosse, not unto her, but those
That dare both Her & It. Doe you not see
How at its Shadows they incensed bee?

Though Shee be strong & mighty, She doth love
Calme gentile Peace, & humble Patience:
No grudgings, jealousies, or wrongs can move
Her to oppose superior violence:
For when to Tyrants Shee her neck layes downe,
Tis onely that their Hands her Head may crowne.

Be Princes Monsters, if they will, says Shee,
What's that to Me? A Lamb my Soveraigne is;
Though in his Hand there dwelt all Potencie,
He ne'r drew Sword against ye wickednes
Of authorized Men, or claim'd from them
Their Power, as forfeit, by their sin, to Him.

O Sacred Maid, for ever cursed be
Heretik & scismatik violence,
Which labour to deflow'r thy Puritie.
My Heart's too vile to be thy Residence;
But Thou art meek & kind, & wilt not scorne
To make a Soule grow faire, which was forlorne.





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