Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE GUNPOWDER-TREASON, by RICHARD CRASHAW

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ON THE GUNPOWDER-TREASON, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I sing impiety beyond a name
Last Line: Least it breake forth, and burne thy sooty cell.
Subject(s): Gunpowder Plot; Guy Fawkes

I sing Impiety beyond a name:
Who stiles it any thinge, knowes not the same.

Dull, sluggish, Ile! what more than Lethargy
Gripes thy cold limbes soe fast, thou canst not fly,
And start from of thy center? hath heavens love
Stuft thee soe full with blisse, thou can'st not move?
If soe, oh Neptune, may she farre be throune
By thy kind armes to a kind world unknowne:
Lett her survive this day, once mock her fate,
And shee's an Island truely fortunate.
Lett not my suppliant breath raise a rude storme
To wrack my suite. oh keepe pitty warme
In thy cold breast, and yearely on this day
Mine eyes a tributary streame shall pay.
Do'st thou not see an exhalation
Belch'd from the sulph'ry lungs of Phlegeton?
A living Comet, whose pestiferous breath
Adulterates the Virgin aire? with death
It labours, Stif'led nature's in a swound,
Ready to dropp into a chaos, round
About horror's displai'd; It doth portend,
That earth a shoure of stones to heaven shall send,
And crack the Christall globe; the milky streame
Shall in a silver raine runne out, whose creame
Shall choake the gaping earth, which then shall fry
In flames, and of a burning fever dy.
That wonders may in fashion be, not rare,
A winters thunder with a groane shall scare,
And rouze the sleepy ashes of the dead,
Making them skip out of their dusty bed.
Those twinckling eyes of heaven, which ev'n now shin'd,
Shall with one flash of lightning be struck blind.
The sea shall change his youthfull greene, and slide
Along the shore in a grave purple tide.
It does praesage, that a great Prince shall climbe,
And gett a starry throne before his time.
To usher in this shoale of Prodigies,
Thy infants, AEolus, will not suffice.
Noe, Noe, a giant wind, that will not spare
To tosse poore men like dust into the aire;
Justle downe mountaines: Kings courts shall be sent,
Like bandied balles, into the firmament.
Atlas shall be tript upp, Jove's gate shall feele
The weighty rudenes of his boysterous heele.
All this it threats, and more Horror, that flies
To th' Empyraeum of all miseries.
Most tall Hyperbole's cannot descry it;
Mischeife, that scornes expression should come nigh it.
All this it only threats. the Meteor ly'd;
It was exhal'd, a while it hung, and dy'd.
Heaven kickt the Monster doune. doune it was throune,
The fall of all things it praesag'd, its owne
It quite forgott. the fearfull earth gave way,
And durst not touch it, heere it made noe stay.
At last it stopt at Pluto's gloomy porch;
He streightway lighted upp his pitchy torch.
Now to those toiling soules it gives its light,
Which had the happines to worke i' th' night.
They banne the blaze, and curse its curtesy,
For lighting them unto their misery.
Till now hell was imperfect; it did need
Some rare choice torture; now 'tis hell indeed.
Then glutt thy dire lampe with the warmest blood,
That runnes in violett pipes: none other food
It can digest. then watch the wildfire well,
Least it breake forth, and burne thy sooty cell.

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