Verse > Anthologies > Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. > Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th c.
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Herbert J.C. Grierson, ed. (1886–1960). Metaphysical Lyrics & Poems of the 17th C.  1921.
 
Richard Crashaw
 
100. To the Noblest & Best of Ladyes, the Countesse of Denbigh,
Perswading her to Resolution in Religion
 
WHAT heav'n-intreated HEART is This 
Stands trembling at the gate of blisse; 
Holds fast the door, yet dares not venture 
Fairly to open it, and enter, 
Whose DEFINITION is a Doubt         5
Twixt Life & Death, twixt In & Out. 
Say, lingring fair! why comes the birth 
Of your brave soul so slowly forth? 
Plead your pretences (o you strong 
In weaknes!) why you choose so long  10
In labor of your selfe to ly, 
Nor daring quite to live nor dy? 
Ah linger not, lov'd soul! a slow 
And late consent was a long No, 
Who grants at last, a long time tryd  15
And did his best to have deny'd, 
What magick bolts, what mystick Barres 
Maintain the will in these strange warres! 
What fatall, yet fantasick, bands 
Keep The free Heart from it's own hands!  20
So when the year takes cold, we see 
Poor waters their owne prisoners be. 
Fetter'd, & lockt up fast they ly 
In a sad selfe-captivity. 
The' astonisht nymphs their flood's strange fate deplore,  25
To see themselves their own severer shore. 
Thou that alone canst thaw this cold, 
And fetch the heart from it's strong Hold; 
Allmighty LOVE! end this long warr, 
And of a meteor make a starr.  30
O fix this fair INDEFINITE. 
And 'mongst thy shafts of soveraign light 
Choose out that sure decisive dart 
Which has the Key of this close heart, 
Knowes all the corners of't, & can controul  35
The self-shutt cabinet of an unsearcht soul. 
O let it be at last, love's houre. 
Raise this tall Trophee of thy Powre; 
Come once the conquering way; not to confute 
But kill this rebell-word, IRRESOLUTE  40
That so, in spite of all this peevish strength 
Of weaknes, she may write RESOLV'D AT LENGTH, 
Unfold at length, unfold fair flowre 
And use the season of love's showre, 
Meet his well-meaning Wounds, wise heart!  45
And hast to drink the wholsome dart. 
That healing shaft, which heavn till now 
Hath in love's quiver hid for you. 
O Dart of love! arrow of light! 
O happy you, if it hitt right,  50
It must not fall in vain, it must 
Not mark the dry regardles dust. 
Fair one, it is your fate; and brings 
Æternall worlds upon it's wings. 
Meet it with wide-spread armes; & see  55
It's seat your soul's just center be. 
Disband dull feares; give faith the day. 
To save your life, kill your delay. 
It is love's seege; and sure to be 
Your triumph, though his victory.  60
'Tis cowardise that keeps this feild 
And want of courage not to yeild. 
Yeild then, ô yeild, that love may win 
The Fort at last, and let life in. 
Yeild quickly. Lest perhaps you prove  65
Death's prey, before the prize of love. 
This Fort of your fair selfe, if't be not won, 
He is repulst indeed; But you'are vndone. 
 
 
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