Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
The Death of Death, Sinnes Pardon, and Soule’s Ransome
LIII. Samuel Rowlands
 
O SINFULL soule, the cause of Iesus’ passion,
Put sorrowes on, and sighing view thy guilt;
Bring all thy thoughts, fix them on meditation,
Weep drops of tears for streams of blood Christ spilt.
Summon thy fostred sinnes, selfe-hatched euils,        5
And cast them low as hell: they are the deuils.
 
Seat vertue riuall, where vsurping vice
Had seaz’d for Sathan to possese thy hart;
And though the traitor flesh from grace intice,
Yet yeeld thy Sauiour his deere purchast part:        10
The greatest loue that heau’n or earth doth know,
Did heau’n’s free loue on hel’s bond-slaues bestow.
 
He left his Father’s glorious right-hand seat,
To liue euen where his earthly footstole stands,
Vnmou’d thereto by our submisse intreat,        15
No suite of clay obtain’d it at his hands;
No power in vs, no humane will that sought it;
It was his loue; grace freely giuen wrought it.
 
O loue of soules, death’s victor, true life-giuer,
What charitie did ouercome thee so,        20
To die, that man might be eternall liuer,
Being thine aduerse, disobedient foe?
For friends if one should die were rarely much;
But die for foes, the world affords none such!
 
An ignominious death in shame’s account,        25
Of odious censure, and contempt’s disgrace,
On Caluarie, a stincking dunghill mount,
For murderers the common fatall place:
There dide the angels’ brightnesse, God and man;
There death was vanquisht, and true life began.        30
 
Yet there began not Iesus suffering,
Nor in the garden with his soule’s vexation:
There he perform’d victorious conquering;
His life was nothing els but stintlesse passion—
From cratch to crosse he trod a paineful path        35
Betwixt our guilt and God’s reuengefull wrath.
 
What paines their paines to Iesus not impart?
What moment tortures’ want did he indure?
What anguish addes not to his greeued heart?
What minute was he sorrowlesse secure?        40
What age, wherein his troubles were neglected?
What people, but his death cheeflie affected?
 
In eies he suffred monefull showres of teares;
His face had spittings and dispightfull blowes;
Blasphemous speech vpbraid his sacred eares;        45
Most lothsome carrion stincks entred his nose;
Gall in his mouth; the holiest hands were bound,—
Hands, feet, heart, head, were nailed, pierc’d, and crown’d.
 
From his birth-hower vntill his life-lost blood,
What moment past wherein hee did not merite?        50
What minute scap’d imploiment vnto good?
Who did implore his grace, and he deferre it?
How painfully his preaching spent the day!
How watchfully his nights were houres to pray!
 
Whom taught this truth, that him for truth beleeued?        55
Though truth without his presence ne’re was knowne.
With whom did he conuerse, and was ungreeued?
How ill intreated euen amongst his owne!
Though foxe and bird could find both hole and nest,
Where found his head reposed place for rest?        60
 
Pouertie he indured in the manger;
Warre with the tempter in the wildernesse;
Exile in Ægypt, forc’d by tirant’s danger,
And on the way o’re-painfull wearinesse:
In all his speech and actions contradictions,        65
Laden with wrongs, burdned with dire afflictions.
 
With hunger’s sword Food-giuer was acquainted,
And that the stone-presenting deuill saw:
At Iacob’s well with thirst he well-nie fainted,
While pinching woman stood on tearmes to draw:        70
All wants and woes impos’d vpon him still,
And his obedience suffred euery ill.
 
Traitor-led troopes by night did apprehend him,
Haling him cruell to the iudgement-hall,
Where all inflicted torments did offend him,        75
And mockeries to greeue his soule withall:
There Iudge was iudg’d, King scorned, Priest abus’d,
And of all just, the Iust vniustly vs’d.
 
Thence to his death with clamours, shouts, and cries,
Theeues at his side, the torturing hangman by him;        80
His crosse (his burden) borne before his eies,
Hart-launcing Longius the centurion nie him;
His friends aloofe; inuiron’d round with foes;—
Thus vnto death, soule’s loue, sweet Iesus goes.
 
Victoriously vpon the dunghill field        85
He manag’d combate with the roaring lion;
Old serpent, death, and hell at once did yeeld,
All vanquisht by triumphant Lambe of Sion;
Performing in that glorious bloodie fight
The euer conquest of infernall might.        90
 
 
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