Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
XIV. Sir Nicholas Breton
 
O HOLY essence of all holynes;
Grace of all glory; glory of all grace;
Perfection’s vertue; vertue’s perfectnes;
Place of all beawtie; beawtie of all place;
Truthe’s only tryall; tyme’s æternitie;        5
Incomprehensible in thy Deitie:
 
Wisdome’s deuiser; father of her loue;
Constancie’s proofe, and life of patience;
Humilitie’s essence; fayth’s true turtle-doue;
Mercie’s almighty glorious residence:        10
Sweete Jesus Christ, mine humble sowle enflame,
To sing the glory of thy holy name.
 
Before what was, but that which euer is,
The Godhead, all incomprehensible;
Sweete Jesus Christ, the essence of all blisse,        15
But in his manhood only sensible,
My Sauiour was, and in himselfe alone
Contayning all things, but contaynd in none.
 
The nature of all vertues in his nature
Had all theyr essence of theyr only being,        20
When in creation of each kinde of creature
Wisdome in him had only all her seeing,
Whose loue in him yet constant patience found,
That of her grace and glory was the grownd.
 
His spotless vertue all his life did prove,        25
In doing good to all, and ill to none;
His wisedome did the doctors’ wonder moue;
His loue the touchstone of all truth alone;
His constancie euen to his dying hower
Did shew his patience had a heauenly power.        30
 
And for the note of his humilitie
His crosse bare witness in his lyfe and death,
Who bare all basenes’ inciuilitie,
Yitt neuer breath’d the smallest angry breath:
O glorious King, that came from heauen on high,        35
Vpon this earth for beggars so to dye.
 
His vertue in his will his woorde doth showe;
His wisedome in election and creation;
His loue his louers by his death do knowe;
His constancy his patience confirmation;        40
His patience his humilitie did proue;
And all, in summe, his glory from aboue.
 
Whose vertue such as his that could not sinne?
Whose wisdome such as woorketh vertues’ witt?
Whose loue is such as wisedome liueth in?        45
Whose constancy doth shew such kindnes still?
Whose patience such as did his passion showe?
Or who so high and euer brought so low?
 
What vertue doth, his wisedome doth express;
What wisedome doth, his loue doth manifest;        50
What loue doth, doth his constancy confesse;
What constancy doth, in his patience blest;
What patience doth, humilitie doth tell;
In him alone they all and only dwell.
 
Then lett the vertuous for all vertue loue him;        55
And lett the wise in wisedome’s loue admire him;
And let the constant in all kindenes proue him;
And lett the patient patiently desire him;
And lett the humble humbly fall before him;
And all together all in all adore him.        60
 
Oh that the world could see his vertues’ beawty;
Or witt of man his wisedome’s maiestie;
Or loue could looke into his constancy;
Or patience into his humilitie!
Then vice, nor folly, frailtie, rage, nor pride,        65
Should in the minds of men so much abide.
 
His vertue made the first perfection’s nature;
His wisedome made the forme of all perfection;
His loue did giue the lyfe to euery creature;
His constancy the care of loue’s direction;        70
His patience medicine for all miseries,
His humblenes the waye to Paradice.
 
Wouldst thow be perfect? in his vertues knowe itt;
Wouldst thow be vertuous? in his wisedome learne itt;
Wouldst thow be wise? in his loue only show itt;        75
Wouldst thow be louing? in his life discerne itt;
Wouldst thow be constant? in his care conceiue itt;
Wouldst thow be patient? in his death perceiue itt.
 
Wouldst thow be humble? in his lowliness
Learne to submitt thyself to higher powers.        80
Wouldst thow be blessed? in his blessednes
Learne to bestow the labour of thine howers.
Wouldst thow be holy, and liue happie euer?
Liue in his loue, and thow shalt liue for euer.
 
The infinite good thoughts his vertue giueth,        85
The infinite good woorks his will perfecteth,
The infinite good lyfe in his loue liueth,
The infinite loue his constancie effecteth,
The infinite constancy his patience proueth,
Doe humblie shew with infinitenes loueth.        90
 
Since vertues, then, good thoughts are infinite,
And infinite in vertue is good thought;
And infinite in wisedome is good witt;
And infinite is loue by wisedome wrought;
And infinite is constancy in loue,        95
Which infinitely patience doth prooue:
 
In infinite humilitie of harte,
Vnto the height of all infinitie,
In infinite perfection of each parte
That makes the infinite Diuinitie;        100
The Father, Soonne, and Holy Ghost, all three
In one, one God, all infinite glory bee.
 
And since no harte is able to attayne
Vnto his holy and æternall praise,
To whom alone doth duly appertayne        105
The date of glories’ neuer-ending dayes;
When angells in theyr halleluiah dwell,
Lett me but sing Amen, and I am well.
 
 
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