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
 
104. Hymn to Saint Teresa
 
LOVE, thou art Absolute sole lord 
OF LIFE; & DEATH. To prove the word, 
Wee'l now appeal to none of all 
Those thy old Souldiers, Great & tall, 
Ripe Men of Martyrdom, that could reach down         5
With strong armes, their triumphant crown; 
Such as could with lusty breath 
Speak lowd into the face of death 
Their Great LORD'S glorious name, to none 
Of those whose spatious Bosomes spread a throne  10
For LOVE at larg to fill; spare blood & sweat, 
And see him take a private seat, 
Making his mansion in the mild 
And milky soul of a soft child. 
  Scarse has she learn't to lisp the name  15
Of Martyr; yet she thinks it shame 
Life should so long play with that breath 
Which spent can buy so brave a death. 
She never undertook to know 
What death with love should have to doe;  20
Nor has she e're yet understood 
Why to show love, she should shed blood, 
Yet though she cannot tell you why, 
She can LOVE, & she can DY. 
  Scarse has she Blood enough to make  25
A guilty sword blush for her sake; 
Yet has she'a HEART dares hope to prove 
How much lesse strong is DEATH then LOVE. 
  Be love but there; let poor six yeares 
Be pos'd with the maturest Feares  30
Man trembles at, you straight shall find 
LOVE knowes no nonage, nor the MIND. 
'Tis LOVE, not YEARES or LIMBS that can 
Make the Martyr, or the man. 
  LOVE touch't her HEART, & lo it beates  35
High, & burnes with such brave heates; 
Such thirsts to dy, as dares drink up, 
A thousand cold deaths in one cup. 
Good reason. For she breathes All fire. 
Her weake brest heaves with strong desire  40
Of what she may with fruitles wishes 
Seek for amongst her MOTHER'S Kisses. 
  Since 'tis not to be had at home 
She'l travail to a Martyrdom. 
No home for hers confesses she  45
But where she may a Martyr be. 
  She'l to the Moores; And trade with them, 
For this unvalued Diadem. 
She'l offer them her dearest Breath, 
With CHRIST'S Name in't, in change for death.  50
She'l bargain with them; & will give 
Them GOD; teach them how to live 
In him: or, if they this deny, 
For him she'l teach them how to DY. 
So shall she leave amongst them sown  55
Her LORD'S Blood; or at lest her own. 
  FAREWEL then, all the world! Adieu. 
TERESA is no more for you. 
Farewell, all pleasures, sports, & joyes, 
(Never till now esteemed toyes)  60
Farewell what ever deare may be, 
MOTHER'S armes or FATHER'S knee. 
Farewell house, & farewell home! 
SHE'S for the Moores, & MARTYRDOM. 
  SWEET, not so fast! lo thy fair Spouse  65
Whom thou seekst with so swift vowes, 
Calls thee back, & bidds thee come 
T'embrace a milder MARTYRDOM. 
  Blest powres forbid, Thy tender life 
Should bleed upon a barbarous knife;  70
Or some base hand have power to race 
Thy Brest's chast cabinet, & uncase 
A soul kept there so sweet, ô no; 
Wise heavn will never have it so. 
THOU art Love's victime; & must dy  75
A death more mysticall & high. 
Into love's armes thou shalt let fall 
A still-surviving funerall. 
His is the DART must make the DEATH 
Whose stroke shall tast thy hallow'd breath;  80
A Dart thrice dip't in that rich flame 
Which writes thy spouse's radiant Name 
Upon the roof of Heav'n; where ay 
It shines, & with a soveraign ray 
Beates bright upon the burning faces  85
Of soules which in that name's sweet graces 
Find everlasting smiles. So rare, 
So spirituall, pure, & fair 
Must be th'immortall instrument 
Upon whose choice point shall be sent  90
A life so lov'd; And that there be 
Fitt executioners for Thee, 
The fair'st & first-born sons of fire 
Blest SERAPHIM, shall leave their quire 
And turn love's souldiers, upon THEE  95
To exercise their archerie. 
  O how oft shalt thou complain 
Of a sweet & subtle PAIN; 
Of intolerable JOYES; 
Of a DEATH, in which who dyes 100
Loves his death, and dyes again; 
And would for ever so be slain. 
And lives, & dyes; and knowes not why 
To live, But that he thus may never leave to DY. 
  How kindly will thy gentle HEART 105
Kisse the sweetly-killing DART! 
And close in his embraces keep 
Those delicious Wounds, that weep 
Balsom to heal themselves with. Thus 
When These thy DEATHS, so numerous, 110
Shall all at last dy into one, 
And melt thy Soul's sweet mansion; 
Like a soft lump of incense, hasted 
By too hott a fire, & wasted 
Into perfuming clouds, so fast 115
Shalt thou exhale to Heavn at last 
In a resolving SIGH, and then 
O what? Ask not the Tongues of men. 
Angells cannot tell, suffice, 
Thy selfe shall feel thine own full joyes 120
And hold them fast for ever. There 
So soon as thou shalt first appear, 
The MOON of maidens starrs, thy white 
MISTRESSE, attended by such bright 
Soules as thy shining self, shall come 125
And in her first rankes make thee room; 
Where 'mongst her snowy family 
Immortall wellcomes wait for thee. 
  O what delight, when reveal'd LIFE shall stand 
And teach thy lipps heav'n with his hand; 130
On which thou now maist to thy wishes 
Heap up thy consecrated kisses. 
What joyes shall seize thy soul, when she 
Bending her blessed eyes on thee 
(Those second Smiles of Heav'n) shall dart 135
Her mild rayes through thy melting heart! 
  Angels, thy old freinds, there shall greet thee 
Glad at their own home now to meet thee. 
  All thy good WORKES which went before 
And waited for thee, at the door, 140
Shall own thee there; and all in one 
Weave a constellation 
Of CROWNS, with which the KING thy spouse 
Shall build up thy triumphant browes. 
  All thy old woes shall now smile on thee 145
And thy paines sitt bright upon thee. 
All thy SUFFRINGS be divine. 
TEARES shall take comfort, & turn gemms 
And WRONGS repent to Diademms. 
Ev'n thy Deaths shall live; & new 150
Dresse the soul that erst they slew. 
Thy wounds shall blush to such bright scarres 
As keep account of the LAMB'S warres. 
  Those rare WORKES where thou shalt leave writt 
Love's noble history, with witt 155
Taught thee by none but him, while here 
They feed our soules, shall cloth THINE there. 
Each heavnly word by whose hid flame 
Our hard Hearts shall strike fire, the same 
Shall flourish on thy browes, & be 160
Both fire to us & flame to thee; 
Whose light shall live bright in thy FACE 
By glory, in our hearts by grace. 
  Thou shalt look round about, & see 
Thousands of crown'd Soules throng to be 165
Themselves thy crown; sons of thy vowes 
The virgin-births with which thy soveraign spouse 
Made fruitfull thy fair soul; Goe now 
And with them all about thee bow 
To Him. Put on (hee'l say) put on 170
(My rosy love) That thy rich zone 
Sparkling with the sacred flames 
Of thousand soules, whose happy names 
Heav'n keeps upon thy score (Thy bright 
Life brought them first to kisse the light 175
That kindled them to starrs,) and so 
Thou with the LAMB, thy lord, shalt goe; 
And whereso'ere he setts his white 
Stepps, walk with HIM those wayes of light 
Which who in death would live to see, 180
Must learn in life to dy like thee. 
 
 
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