Francis Quarles'

Feast for Wormes (1620)

[Excerpt from Meditation 2]

Good God! how poor a thing is wretched man?
So frail, that let him strive the best he can,
With every little blast he's overdone;
If mighty Cedars of great Lebanon
Cannot the danger of the axe withstand,
Lord! how shall we, that are but bushes, stand?
How fond, corrupt, how senseless is mankind?
How feigning deaf is he? how wilful blind?
He stops his ears, and sins; he shuts his eyes,
And, blindfold, in the lap of danger flyes:
He sins, despairs; and then to calm his strife
He chuseth death, to baulk the God of life.
     Poor wretched sinner! travel where thou wilt,
Thy travel shall be burthen'd with thy guilt:
Climb tops of hills, that prospects may delight thee,
There will thy sins like wolves and bears affright thee,
Fly to the valleys, that those frights may shun thee,
And there, like mountains, they will fall upon thee:
Or to the raging seas, with Jonah, go;
There will thy sins like stormy Neptune flow.
Poore shiftless man, what shall become of thee?
Where-e'er thou fly'st, thy griping sin will flee.

Text Source:

        The Christian Poet; Or, Selections in Verse on Sacred Subjects.
        James Montgomery, ed. Glasgow: William Collins, 1828. 222-3.

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