Poems, &c. written upon several occasions, and to several persons by Edmond Waller.
Waller, Edmund, 1606-1687.
Page  267

OF Divine Love.

6. CANTO'S.

ASserting the Authority of the Scripture, in which this Love is reveal'd.

The Prefernce and Love of God to Man in the Creation.

The same Love more amply declared in our Re∣demption.

How necessary this Love is to reform Mankind, and how excellent in it self.

Shwing hw happy the World would be if this Love were universlly embrac'd.

Of preserving this Love in our memory, and how useful the Contemplation thereof is.

Page  268

CANTO I.

THe Grecian Muse has all their Gods surviv'd▪
Nor Iove at us, nor Phoebus is arriv'd;
Frail Deities, which first the Poets made,
And then invok'd, to give their Fancies aid!
Yet if they still divert us with their Rage,
What may be hop'd for in a better Age?
When not from Helicon's imagin'd Spring,
But sacred Writ, we borrow what we Sing:
This with the Fabrick of the World begun,
Elder than Light, and shall out-last the Sun.
Before this Oracle (like Dagon) all
The false Pretenders, Delphos, Hammon, fall;
Long since despis'd, and silent they afford
Honour and Triumph to th' Eternal Word.
Page  269 As late Philosophy our Globe has grac'd,
And rowling Earth among the Planets plac'd;
So has this Book intitl'd us to Heav'n,
And Rules to guide us to that Mansion givn:
Tells the conditions, how our Peace was made▪
And is our Pledge for the great Author's aid▪
His Power in Nature's ampler Book we find;
But the less Volume do's express his mind.
This Light unknown, bold Epicurus taught▪
That his blest Gods vouchsafe us not a thought;
But unconcern'd, let all below them slide,
As Fortune do's, or humane Wisdom, guide▪
Religion thus remov'd, the sacred Yoke,
And Band of all Society is broke:
What use of Oaths, of Promise, or of Test▪
Where Men regard no God but Interest?
What endless War would jealous Nations tear,
f none above did witness what they swear?
Page  270 Sad Fate of Unbelievers, (and yet just)
Among themselves to find so little trust!
Were Scripture silent, Nature would proclaim,
Without a God, our falshood and our shame.
To know our Thoughts, the Object of his Eyes,
Is the first step towards being good, or wise;
For thô with Judgment we on things reflect,
Our Will determines, not our Intellect:
Slaves to their Passion, Reason men employ
Only to compass what they would enjoy;
His fear, to guard us from our selves, we need,
And sacred Writ our Reason do's exceed.
For the Heaven shows the Glory of the Lord,
Yet something shines more Glorious in his Word;
His mercy this (which all his work excels)
His tender kindness, and compassion tells:
While we inform'd by that Celestial Book,
Into the Bowels of our Maker look.
Page  271 Love there reveal'd, which never shall have end,
Nor had beginning, shall our Song commend;
Describe it self, and warm us 〈◊〉 that flame,
Which first from Heav'n, to make us Happy, came.

CANTO II.

THE fear of Hell, or aiming to be Blest,
Savours too much of private Interest;
This mov'd not Moses, nor the zealous Paul,
Who for their Friends abandon'd Soul and all:
A greater yet, from Heav'n to Hell descends.
To save, and make his Enemies his Friends▪
What line of Praise can fathom such a Love,
Which reacht the lowest bottom from above?
The Royal Prophet, that extended Grace
From Heav'n to earth, measur'd but half that space:
The Law was regnant, and confin'd his though
ell was not conquer'd, when that Poet 〈◊〉
Page  272 Heav'n was earce heard of, until be came down
To make the Region, where Love triumphs, known▪
That early Love of Creatures yet unmade,
To ••ame the World th'Almighty did perswade:
For Love it was, that first created Light,
Mov'd on the Waters, cha'd away the Night
From the rude Chaos, and bestow'd new Grace
On things dispos'd of to their proper place;
Some to rest here, and some to shine above:
Earth, Sea, and Heav'n, were all th'Effects of Love▪
And Love would be reurn'd; but there was none▪
That to themselves, or others yet were known:
The World a Palace was, without a Guest,
Till one appears, that must excel she rest;
One, like the Author, whose Capacious mind
Might by the Glorious Work, the Maker find;
Might measure Heaven, and give each Star a name▪
With Art and Courage the rough 〈…〉;
Page  273 Over the Globe, with swelling Sails might go,
And that 'tis round, by his experience know;
Make strongest Beasts obedient to his Will,
And serve his use the fertile Earth to Till.
When by his Word, God had accomplisht all;
Man to Create, he did a Council call;
Imploy'd his Hand, to give the Dust he took
A graceful Figure, and Majestick Look;
With his own Breath, convey'd into his Breast
Life and a Soul fit to command the rest,
Worthy alone to Celebrate his Name
For such a Gift, and tell from whence it came:
Birds sing his Praises, in a wilder Note,
But not with lasting numbers, and with thought,
Man's great Prerogative. But above all
His Grace abounds, in his new Favorites fall.
If he Create, it is a World he makes;
f he be ang'ry, the Creation shakes:
Page  274 From his just wrath our guilty Parents fled;
He curs't the Earth, but bruis'd the Serpent's head.
Amidst the Storm, his Bounty did exceed,
In the rich promise of the Virgins seed;
Thô Justice death as satisfaction craves,
Love finds a way to pluck us from our Graves.

CANTO III.

NOT willing Terror should his Image move,
He gives a Pattern of Eternal Love;
His Son descends, to treat a Peace with those,
Which were, and must have ever been his Foes;
Poor he became, and left his Glorious Seat,
To make us humble, and to make us great;
His business here was happiness to give
To those, whose Malice could not let him live:
Legions of Angels, which he might have us'd,
For us resolv'd to perish, he refus'd▪
Page  275 While they stood ready to prevent his Loss,
Love took him up, and nail'd him to the Cross▪
Immortal Love! which in his Bowels reign'd,
That we might be by such a Love constrain'd
To make return of Love; upon this Pole
Our Duty does, and our Religion rowle.
To Love is to believe, to hope, to know,
'Tis an Essay, a taste of Heav'n below.
He to proud Potentates would not be known,
Of those that lov'd him, he was hid from none.
Till Love appear, we live in anxious doubt;
But Smoke will vanish, when that Flame breaks out:
This is the Fire, that would consume our Dross,
Reine, and make us richer by the Loss.
Could we forbear Dispute, and practise Love,
We should agree, as Angels do above.
Where Love presides, not Vice alone does find
No Entrance there, but Vertues stay behind▪
Page  276 Both Faith and Hope, and all the meaner train
Of moral Vertues, at the door remain;
Love only enters, as a Native there,
For born in Heav'n, it do's but sojourn here.
He that alone, would wise and mighty be,
Commands that others Love, as well as he:
Love as he Lov'd, how can we soar so high?
He can add wings, when he commands to flie:
Nor should we be with this Command dismay'd,
He that Example gives, will give his Aid;
For he took flesh, that where his Precepts fail,
His Practice as a Pattern may prevail;
His Love at once, and Dread instructs our thought,
As Man he suffer'd, and as God he taught;
Will for the Deed he takes, we may with ease
Obedient be, for if we Love, we please;
Weak thô we are, to Love is no hard task,
And Love for Love, is all that Heav'n do's ask:
Page  277 Love, that would all men just and temperate make,
Kind to themselves, and others, for his sake.
'Tis with our Minds, as with a fertile ground;
Wanting this Love, they must with Weeds abound;
Unruly Passions, whose effects are worse,
Than Thorns and Thistles springing from the curse.

CANTO. IV.

TO Glory Man, or Misery is born,
Of his proud Foe the Envy or the Scorn;
Wretched he is, or happy in Extreme,
Base in himself, but great in Heav'ns esteem;
With Love, of all created things, the best,
Without it more pernicious than the rest.
For greedy Wolves ungarded Sheep devour
But while their hunger lasts, and then give or'e;
Mans boundless Avarice his want exceeds,
And on his Neighbors, round about him, feeds:
Page  278 His Pride, and vain Ambition are so vast,
That Delugelike, they lay whole Nations wast;
Debauches and Excess, thô with less noise,
As great a portion of Mankind destroys.
The Beasts and Monsters, Hercules opprest,
Might in that Age, some Provinces infest;
These more de••ructive Monsters, are the Bane
Of ev'ry Age, and in all Nations reign;
But soon would vanish, if the World were blest
With Sacred Love, by which they are represt.
Impendent death, and guilt that threatens Hell,
Are dreadful guests, which here with Mortals dwll,
And a 〈◊〉 Conscience mingling with their Joy
Thoughts of Despair, do's their whole Life annoy:
But Love appearing, all those Terrors flie,
We live contented, and contented die;
They in whose breast, this sacred Love has place,
Death as a passage to their Joy embrace.
Page  279 Clouds and thick Vapors which obscure the day,
The Suns victorious Beams may chase away;
Those which our Life corrupt, and darken, Love,
The Nobler Star, must from the Soul remove:
Spots are observ'd in that which bounds the year,
This brighter Sun moves in a boundless Sphere;
Of Heav'n the Joy, the Glory, and the Light,
Shines among Angels, and admits no Night.

CANTO V.

THis Iron Age, so fraudulent and bold,
Toucht with this Love, would be an Age of Gold;
Not as they feign'd, that Oaks should Honey drop,
Or Land neglected bear an unsown Crop:
Love would make all things easy, safe, and cheap,
None for himself, would either sow, or reap:
Our ready Help, and mutual Love would yield
A nobler Harvest, than the richest Field.
Page  280 Famine and Dearth, confin'd to certain parts,
Extended are, by barrenness of Hearts;
Some pine for want, where others surfeit now,
But then we should the use of Plenty know:
Love would betwixt the Rich and Needy stand,
And spread Heav'ns bounty with an equal hand;
At once the Givers, and Receivers bless,
Encrease their Joy, and make their Sufferings less.
Who for himself no Miracle would make,
Dispens'd with Nature for the Peoples sake;
He that long Fasting would no wonder show,
Made Loaves and Fishes, as they eat them, grow.
Of all his Power, which boundless was above,
Here he us'd none, but to express his Love;
And such a Love would make our Joy exceed,
Not when our own, but other mouths we feed.
Laws would be useless which rude Nature awe,
Love changing Nature, would prevent the Law;
Page  281 Tygers, and Lyons, into Dens we thrust,
But milder Creatures with their freedom trust.
Devils are chain'd, and tremble; but the Spouse
No force but Love, nor Bond, but Bounty, knows:
Men, whom we now, so 〈◊〉 and dang'rous see,
Would Guardian Angels to each other be:
Such wonders can this mighty Love perform,
Vultures to Doves, Wolves into Lambs transform.
Love, what Isaiah prophecy'd, can do,
Exalt the Vallies, lay the Mountains low:
Humblethe Lofty, the Dejected raise,
Smooth, and make strait, our rough and crooked ways.
Love, strong as Death, and like it, levels all;
With that possest, the great in Title fall,
Themselves esteem, but equal to the least,
Whom Heav'n with that high Character has blest.
This Love, the Centre of our Union, can
Alone bestow complete Repose on Man;
Page  282 Tame his wild Appetite, make inward Peace,
And Foreign strife among the Nations cease:
No Martial Trumpet should disturb our rest,
Nor Princes Arm, thô to subdue the East;
Where for the Tomb ••o many Hero's, taught
By those that guided their Devotion, faught.
Thrice Happy we, could we like Ardor have
To gain his Love, as they to win his Grave!
Love as he Lov'd, a Love so unconfin'd
With Arms extended would embrace Mankind.
Self-Love would cease, or be dilated, when
We should behold, as many Selfs, as Men;
All of one Family, in Blood ally'd,
His precious Blood, that for our Ransom dy'd.

CANTO VI.

THô the Creation, so divinely taught,
Prints such a lively Image in our thought,
Page  283 That the first spark of new Created light
From Chaos struck, affects our present sight:
Yet the first Christians did esteem more blest
The day of Rising, than the day of Rest;
That ev'ry week might new occasion give,
To make his Triumph in their memory live.
Then let our Muse compose a Sacred Charm
To keep his Blood, among us, ever warm;
And singing, as the Blessed do above,
With our last breath dilate this lame of Love.
But on so vast a Subject, who can find
Words that may reach th' Idea's of his mind?
Our Language fails, or if it could supply,
What Mortal Thought can raise it self so high?
Despairing here, we might abandon Art,
And only hope to have it in our heart;
But though we find this Sacred Task too hard,
Yet the Design, th'endeavor brings Reward;
Page  284 The Contemplation does suspend our Woe,
And makes a Truce with all the Ills we know.
As Saul's afflicted Spirit, from the sound
Of David's Harp, a present Solace found;
So on this Theam while we our Muse engage,
No Wounds are felt, of Fortune, or of Age:
On Divine Love to meditate is Peace,
And makes all care of meaner things to cease.
Amaz'd at once, and comforted to find
A boundless Pow'r so infinitely kind;
The Soul contending to that Light to flie
From her dark Cell, we practise how to die;
Imploying thus the Poet's winged Art,
To reach this Love, and grave it in our heart.
Joy so complete, so solid and severe,
Would leave no place for meaner Pleasures there;
Pale they would look, as Stars that must be gone,
When from the East the Rising Sun comes on.
Page  285
Floriferis ut Apes in saltibus omnia libant,
sic nos Scripturae depascimur aurea dicta;
Anrea perpetuâ semper dignissima vitâ.
Nam Divinus Amor, cum coepit vociferari,
Diffugiunt Animi Terrores:—

Lucr.
Exul eram, requiesque mihi, non Fama petita est,
Mens intenta suis ne foret usque malis.
Namque ubi mota calent Sacrâ mea Pectora Musâ,
Altior humano Spiritus ille malo est.

De Trist.