Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, S. GREGORIE NAZIANZEN, by JOSEPH BEAUMONT

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

S. GREGORIE NAZIANZEN, by            
First Line: Ne'r would I owne this thing of mine
Last Line: Thy honour off, as thou didst heer below.
Subject(s): Gregory Of Nazianzus, Saint (330-389); Saints

NE'R would I owne this thing of mine,
Which some perhaps a Muse will call,
If it forgets to wait on Thine,
Which comprehends ye Other Muses all.

For more of them ne'r dwelt upon
Learned Parnassus double Head
Then harbour in thy single one,
And finde this latter house best furnished.

Furnished with holy store
Of nobler Raptures then till now
Snatchd Poets Soules away, & bore
It far above these grosser Things below:

Raptures of purest Loves, wherby
Thy Heart on Angells Wings did soar
Unto a pitch more fair & high
Then Graecian Quills e'r towred to before.

By Thee to Heavn ye Muses rise,
And ravishd in Divinitie
Sing with Birds of Paradise
Layes, which ennoble rescue'd Poetrie.

Whither in Heroiks stately pace,
Or nimble Lyriks softer dance,
Or in grave Iambiks grace,
Still dost Thou goe with matchlesse excellence.

Illustrious Saint, thy noble Brow
All crownd with everlasting Baies
Thee Prince of Poetrie doth show,
Who all ye Muses mak'st Urania's.

Oft has my earthly Soule from Thee
And thy rich lines suckd Heavnly Fire,
Oft have I kiss'd thy leaves, wch be
The sweet Incentives of devout Desire.

Fain would I eccho something back
Though faint, & short of thy due Praises;
Which though thy Honour doth not lack,
My Pen to Thine, & Thee, these Altars raises.


And this, Dear Saint, must be ye first layd Stone:
Thou wert a Great before a little One;
Son of thy Mothers Prayers wert Thou
Before her Wombe with Thee did grow:
For Nonna prayes
That Heavn would raise
Her Seed, which Shee
Might yeild to bee
Onely Heavns; And Heavn to Her
Long Zeal doth bow its pleased ear:
Aforehand it assumes thy prosperous Birth,
Whilst in a Vision Nonna brings Thee forth.

Unto her watchfull Soule did God display
Thy figure, whilst her Body sleeping lay;
Thy Person, & thy genuine look
She read in that miraculous Book:
And with these, there
Was written faire
Thy vertuous Name,
The very same,
Which now Thou wearest, Gregorie
E'r Thou wert born appeard to be
Thy VIGILANT TITLE, who though shown in sleep
Wert marked many a pious Watch to keep.

Thus bigg with Hope, & shortly bigg with Thee
Nonna her reverend Wombe doth swelling see.
Lighter grows Her Heart, as this
Doth increase in Heavinesse;
No Moneths, says she,
Shall naseous be
To Me, who here
My Comfort beare,
A Flowre of mine owne Seed, wch may
Flourish to Heavn another Day.
No Longings shall stretch out my Soule, but one,
By which I Long againe to see my Sonne.

Now brings Shee forth & all her Pangs are sweet,
Which layd Her Holy Hopes before her feet.
Gladly ye Infant Face Shee sees
How with Heavns Modell it agrees,
Each lineament
Holds true consent,
And this is Hee
Her Gregorie:
In a thousand joyfull kisses
Thankfull Devotion Shee expresses,
And renders God by Solemne Consecration
What Shee receiv'd by His so kind Dignation.

And now not as the Mother, but the Maid
And nurse to Heavns great Pledge, she is afraid
To use the Infant but as One,
Whom God had made her foster-son:
With tender Care
She doth prepare
All things yt may
Another Day
Proclaime as much : His tender Heart
Shee seasons with religious Art,
And brings Him up as if Shee Tutoresse were
To educate some tender Angell heere.

O happy Thou, to whom thy Mother can
Give Thee a double Life to make Thee Man!
Thou breathst ye Aire wth Us below,
And that, wch doth in Heavns Fields blow ;
Ev'n Gods Great Spirit
Thou doth inherit
So soone, that how
Thou dost not know :
Thy blooming Budd is sweetned by
The Gales of Paradise, which flie
Thick in that breath, by which thy Mother makes
Those blessed Words to Thee She dayly speakes.

Thus in the best of Learning skilld, art Thou
At length sent out the lesser Arts to know.
To Greece, & Greeces purest Fount,
For such the World did Athens count,
Thy course is bent,
And well content
Art Thou to goe
Further then so
If Learning further dwelt; let gold
And hope of Gemmes make Others bold:
Knowledge though ne'r so poor, can seem to Thee
Of worth enough to make Thee scorne the Sea.

Yet thy Adventure dangerous doth prove:
The Winds conspire, and all the Sea doth move
It selfe against Thee; ne'r did waves
Split into profounder Graves:
No Tempest e'r
Rended ye Aire
Wth threats more loud,
No Storme did crowd
Fuller into any Bark;
Highnoon Day ne'r grew more dark;
Wrack & Confusion never seemd to be
More ripe, then these, which gape to swallow Thee.

Feare & Despair through all the Shipmen went,
Whose Hearts more then their tatterd Sailes were rent.
But yet the Stormes impatient Noise
Scarse was higher then the Voice
Of thy strong Cries,
Wth which thine Eyes
Their Floods did joine,
And sighs combine
Into a Tempest neer as great
As that wch on the vessell beat,
So that the Sailers thought no more upon
The other Storme, amaz'd at thine alone.

Alas, Thou hadst not yet been drenched in
Those Holy Streams, which serve to wash our Sin;
And therfore fearst these Waves wch can
Destroy, but never save a Man.
This makes thy Crie
So strong & high
To Him, whose hand
Could strait command
The fiercest Ocean : never eare
Did more violent Prayers heare:
Ne'r did distressed Soule crie out like Thee,
And that for Water in the swelling Sea.

What Eyes can read thy Lamentation, and
Not Sympathize with thine? My Soule doth stand
Amazd, when in thy revernd Book
Upon that tragik Leaf I look;
Wondring what cries
Can win the skies,
If these wch rend them
Cannot bend them
If any Tempest can outcrie
Such importunate Fervencie.
None can outcrie it : JESUS yeilds at last
And into their owne Deeps the Waves doth cast.

The Winds, as blown quite out of breath, are hurld
Into their furthest corners of the World.
Heavn doffs that clowdy veil, wherby
The Storm hath dampt its beauteous Eye,
And doth display
A gentle Day
Upon the Sea
Now calme & free,
Which shews thy Ship her way unto
The wished Port : thus dost Thou goe
With weather beaten Safety to the Shoare,
And this so brittle Life will trust no more:

For to the Holy Fount Thou runnst apace
There to be drenched in the Streams of Grace,
That Thou henceforth no more mayst fear
Whatever Tempest shall appeare.
Where to expresse
Thy Thankfulnesse,
To Heavn dost Thou
Present a vow
Worthy of it & Thee : Thy Toung
Solemnly undertakes, how long
Soe'r Thou liv'st from all Oaths to refraine :
Thou strictly swearest ne'r to sweare againe.


All Athens now thy vast Capacitie
Quickly drinks in, but is not filld therby:
The Amplitude of every Art
Made haste to lodge in thy large Heart
Which entertaines them
All, & traines them
Unto a pitch
More high & rich
Then ever they had learnd to flie
On Wings of Pagan Industrie.
Thou best the Academie prove'st thy Mother
By growing up thy selfe just such another.

Though ruddy yeouths sleek smiles upon thy Face
Still keep their modest dwelling, Thou dost passe
For One all Gray within, Thy Braine
Betimes is Age'd, yt doth containe
More store of years
By far then theirs,
Whose wrinkled skin
Doth reverence win
Upon Presumption no Man could
Live so long to be befoold;
And turne a Child againe in Head, which He
By Natures Rule, onely in feet should be.

The Chaire is mounted, & Thou must ascend.
Young as Thou art, old Auditors will lend
Their sober eares, & much rejoice
To hear their young Professors Voice;
Who sweetly wise
His gravnes ties
To sprightfull wit,
Wch loves to sit
On yeouthfull subtile Toungs: All Greece
Surpriz'd with admiration is
At these thy Oracles, which make it follow
Thee full as young, as was their wise Apollo.

But that which Athens did to Thee indeare
Was that thy Soule met with another there
Right fit for thy sweet Company,
A Soule, wch did wth thine agree
In every part
Of thy best Art,
A Soule whose Pulse
Beat nothing else
But love & Heavn, a Soule so nigh
Resembling thine, that Amitie
At length mistook, counting thy Heart to be
In Basils Breast, & his to pant in Thee.

Never did Chance of Nature tie a knott
Into so strait a Union, as that
Which Virtues knitt, & Graces tie
In a Band of Pietie.
Now Basil loves,
And lives, & moves
In Gregorie;
And mutuall He
Loves Basil back againe, & lives
By that Life away He gives.
Thus when two Floods imbrace, they loose each other
In the pellucid Bosome of his Brother.

Such noble Soules alone as thine can prize
A worthy Friend aright: whatever lies
In India's pretious bowells, is
Not so golden gold as this;
No radiant Gemme
By whose rich beame
The new rose East
Is sprucest drest
Such ravishing lustre forth doth send
As this short Word, A WORTHY FRIEND.
A Friend is Patience, Care, & Secresie,
Comfort, Advise, Help, & Communitie.

Thus wert Thou marryed to thy Masculine Spouse:
When the Soule weds, no uselesse Sex she knows;
And heere thy Soule, & that alone
No Female shall
Think to prevaile
By blandishment
On thy consent:
Though thy breast be large, yet Thou
Hast but one Heart to bestow,
And that is BASILS, who esteems it so
That for the World He will not let it goe.

Yet will a Paire of noble Wooers see
What they can doe upon Thee: Faire they bee
And Virgins both, who clothed by
A beauteous Vision, to thine eye
Themselves propose:
What, must they lose
Their loving pains
In thy Disdains?
Must the wrinkles of thy face
Duer to smiles, themselves disgrace
By turning Frowns? What needs Severity
To ask these gentle Strangers what they be?

Know their answer is: They Sisters are
Descended from Heavns stock, & come thus far
To make Thee sure of what thy will
Is most ambitious to fulfill;
To ratifie
Thy Puritie
And to increase
Wt learned Greece
Begun in Thee: nay Bothe beside
Meane this night to be thy Bride:
Heavn sent them on this busines, & they be
Prudence the One, the other Chastitie.

Sweet are your Names, sayst Thou, but sweeter are
Your royall Persons, which those Titles weare.
Be it a Match; such Mayds as you
Indanger not a Virgin Vow.
Heer, take my Heart
Never to part,
Your Gregorie
Will live & die
Your faithfull Spouse, if He but lend
His help, who you did hither send.
Thus, Glorious Saint, Thou putst thyselfe asleep
Into that State, which waking Thou shalt keep.


Accomplishd Soule, I must have leave to be
Of that Opinion, which was held of Thee
By all the World except by thy
Owne Paradox HUMILITIE.
Such heavnly skill
Thy Soule doth fill
That none could be
More fit then Thee
For Heavns imployment, none more fit
To help up humble Soules to it.
No Head so furnishd to support aright
A MITRES mystik unbeleeved weight.

To thy most perspicatious Wisdome this
Sacred & glorious Errour proper is:
Hadst Thou been like Us, lesse learn'd,
Never had thy soule discernd
The Pastorall Charge
To be so large
And huge a Load:
Ne'r hadst Thou stood
So nicely on thy weaknesse, as
To prove more weak in letting pass
So fair Preferment. We look now adayes
How deep's the MITRES gilt, not what it weighs.

Yet to thy awfull Parents Contestation
And urgent Wills, thine owne Thou striv'st to fashion.
Thy feeble Fathers Shadow now
In his Dioceese art Thou;
How bright so e'r
The rays appear
Wch break from Thee,
Thou wilt not be
More then so; Nay when this Throne
And a full election
After thy Fathers Death long wooed Thee,
It could not conquer thy Humilitie.

All Nazianzum likes not Thee so well
As doth ye Pleasure of thy Pontik Cell;
Where Thou thy Death canst antidate,
And dwell in Heavn before thy fate
Shall send Thee up;
Where Thou canst crop
And prune away
All things that prey
Upon our vitall Moisture, Pleasures,
Preferments, & superfluous Treasures;
Possessing all thy Selfe intirely free
From our vaine Worlds inchanting Tyrannie.

Nor shall thy Basil Thee persuade to be
Content to suffer Publik Dignitie,
Or make Thee ever set upon
The new erect Sasamean Throne.
So deep doth this
Designe of His
Wound Thee & thy
That strong Complaints break out, whose course
Runs so far, & with such force,
That much they did prevaile, & had well nigh
In sunder rent your Bond of Amitie.

Yet can thy Resolutions not withstand
Heavns providentiall overruling Hand:
If Heavn please to appoint Thee Heir
Ev'n to Constantinoples Chair
Thou wilt not shrink
Away, nor think
Thy Selfe unfit
Therin to sit:
Thou wilt not shrink for any Storme,
That Hell & Heresie can arme
Against thy single Head, that Head, whose sheild
All Heavn becomes, when er Thou tak'st ye feild.

This royall City was invenome'd by
That part of Hell, which at the Trinitie
Its poyson spits; Such potent Foes
What Mortall now will dare oppose?
What Valiant He
Will Champion be,
And stretch his hand
To countermand
The mighty Stream, wch floweth forth
First from Hell, & then from Earth?
Who dares divide his God, & therby sow
Division too among Mens Hearts below?

Why, Gregorie without Division can
Untie this knott, and in that Union
A Triad find & prove; no Net
By Sophistik cunning set
Can trap his feet,
No swelling Threat
Can terrifie
His Constancie:
JESUS is his God, and He
That mystik Truth can prove to be
As sure & sound yt wondring Christians joine
This Name to crowne his other, the DIVINE.

He now becomes allmost the Rule wherby
The Catholik World their faithfull Truths doe trie,
And thus resolve their Questions: This
Gregories Opinion is.
This makes his foes
Blush to propose
Their Spurious Reason;
No: They by Treason
Will now dispute, & take a Course
Their Bishop to confute perforce.
Their Argument acute & strong shall be
A desperate Sword manage'd by Crueltie.

Fools as you are, now learne at least that He
Whom Gregorie asserts has Dietie
Enough to conquer Hell & you:
What makes your gallant Murderer throw
His Sword away
Without delay
When he is come
Into the room
Appointed for the Murder? What
Casts your Soldier downe so flat
Before th' unarmed Saint, & makes him pray
For Pardon, to the Man He came to slay.

But harmes which sometimes Foes cannot effect,
Are easlyer done by those we least suspect;
And they which wear ye Name of Friend
Can soonest noblest Soules offend,
Soules which know
Full stoutly how
To oppose
Apparent Foes.
Thy Friends and Mitred Brethern be
The Host, Great Saint, wch fights wth Thee;
The reverend Councill in thy Citty mett
Grow emulous, and against thy Peace are set.

Nor thine alone, but thy dear Mothers too,
The Churches Peace by this they overthrow:
A Peace wch is more dear to Thee
Then thy Throne & Mitre be;
Yea then thy Life,
If so their Strife
Will needs require:
All thy desire
Is thine owne Peace to sacrifice
Unto thy Mothers; Thou canst prize
No Patriarchall Dignitie so high,
As with the Churches Quiet, Privacy.

Yee holy Fathers, who are met to make
Up all the Churches rents, oh hear me speak,
Hear, sayst Thou this once from Me
A Vote, which tends to Unitie:
The Storms wch heer
So high appeare
Perchance may cease
In blessed Peace,
If worthlesse I like Jonas be
Resigned to the gaping Sea.
Heer therfore I renounce my envy'd Throne
More freely, then I put my Mitre on.

Thus didst Thou scape into thy long wishd Nest
Of a devout and solitarie Rest.
Thy Soule unhamperd & set free
From thy incumbring Dignitie
Finds ample space
Of Time & Place
To sit & sing
Of every thing,
Which tossd & troubled her before
The Tempest cast her on this shore.
For from thy Cradle takes thy Muse her Rise
And to this Days Exploit unwearied flies.

The Evening of Thy Life Thou solacest
With her sweet Lay's to bring thy Soule to rest
In softest Peace, & to prepare
It for the heavnly Consort, where
A Part must be
Chanted by Thee
In that high Song,
Which lasts as long
As thy sublimest Wish: No feare
That Discord shall affront Thee there
To vex thy peacefull Heart, & make Thee throw
Thy Honour off, as Thou didst heer below.

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