By Richard Crashaw
[In the edition of 1670, the volume by Mr. Phillips in
1785, in Chalmers' collection, and others, the previous
Poem is printed with numerous alterations and
omission, in manner following.]
AIL sister springs,
Parents of silver-forded rills !
Ever bubbling things !
Thawing crystal ! Snowy hills !
Still spending, never spent ; I mean
Thy fair eyes, sweet Magdalene.
Heavens thy fair eyes be ;
Heavens of ever-falling stars ;
'Tis seed-time still with thee,
And stars thou sow'st, whose harvest dares
Promise the earth to countershine
Whatever makes Heaven's forehead fine.
But we're deceived all :
Stars they're indeed too true,
For they but seem to fall
As Heaven's other spangles do :
It is not for our earth and us,
To shine in things so precious.
Upwards thou dost weep ;
Heaven's bosom drinks the gentle stream.
Where the milky rivers meet,
Thine crawls above and is the cream.
Heaven, of such fair floods as this,
Heaven the crystal ocean is.
Every morn from hence,
A brisk cherub something sips,
Whose soft influence
Adds sweetness to his sweetest lips ;
Then to his music : and his song
Tastes of this breakfast all day long,
When some new bright guest
Takes up among the stars a room,
And Heaven will make a feast,
Angels with their bottles come ;
And draw from these full eyes of thine
Their Master's water, their own wine.
The dew no more will weep,
The primrose's pale cheek to deck ;
The dew no more will sleep,
Nuzzled in the lily's neck.
Much rather would it tremble here,
And leave them both to be thy tear.
Not the soft gold which
Steals from the amber-weeping tree,
Makes sorrow half so rich,
As the drops distill'd from thee.
Sorrow's best jewels lie in these
Caskets of which Heaven keeps the keys.
When Sorrow would be seen
In her brightest majesty,
For she is a queen,
Then is she drest by none but thee.
Then, and only then, she wears
Her richest pearls, I mean thy tears.
Not in the evening's eyes,
When they red with weeping are
For the Sun that dies,
Sits Sorrow with a face so fair.
Nowhere but here did ever meet
Sweetness so sad, sadness so sweet.
Sadness, all the while
She sits in such a throne as this,
Can do nought but smile,
Nor believe she sadness is :
Gladness itself would be more glad
To be made so sweetly sad.
There is no need at all,
That the balsam-sweating bough
So coyly should let fall
His med'cinable tears ; for now
Nature hath learn'd t'extract a dew
More sovereign and sweet from you.
Yet let the poor drops weep,
Weeping is the case of woe ;
Softly let them creep,
Sad that they are vanquish'd so ;
They, though to others no relief,
May balsam be for their own grief.
Golden though he be,
Golden Tagus murmurs ; though
Might he flow from thee,
Content and quiet he would go ;
Richer far does he esteem
Thy silver, than his golden stream.
Well does the May that lies
Smiling in thy cheecks, confess
The April in thine eyes ;
Mutual sweetness they express.
No April e'er lent softer showers,
Nor May returnèd fairer flowers.
Thus dost thou melt the year
Into a weeping motion ;
Each minute waiteth here,
Takes his tear and gets him gone ;
By thine eye's tinct ennobled thus,
Time lays him up ; he's precious.
Time, as by thee he passes,
Makes thy ever-watery eyes
His hour-glasses ;
By them his steps he rectifies.
The sands he used no longer please,
For his own sands he'll use thy seas.
Does thy song lull the air ?
Thy tear's just cadence still keeps time.
Does thy sweet-breath'd prayer
Up in clouds of incense climb ?
Still at each sigh, that is, each stop,
A bead, that is, a tear, doth drop.
Does the night arise?
Still thy tears do fall, and fall.
Does night lose her eyes ?
Still the fountain weeps for all.
Let night or day do what they will,
Thou hast thy task, thou weepest still.
Not, so long she lived,
Will thy tomb report of thee ;
But, so long she grieved,
Thus must we date thy memory.
Others by days, by months, by years,
Measure their ages, thou by tears.
Say, watery brothers,
Ye simpering sons of those fair eyes
Your fertile mothers,
What hath our world that can entice
You to be born ? what is't can borrow
You from her eyes swoll'n wombs of sorrow ?
Whither away so fast ?
O wither ? for the sluttish earth
Your sweetness cannot taste,
Nor does the dust deserve your birth.
Whither haste ye then ? O, say
Why ye trip so fast away ?
We go not to seek
The darlings of Aurora's bed,
The rose's modest cheek,
Nor the violet's humble head.
No such thing ; we go to meet
A worthier object, our Lord's feet.
Turnbull, William B., Ed. The Complete Works of Richard Crashaw.
London: John Russell Smith, 1858. 8-13.
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