Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
The Description of Heauenly Ierusalem
LXXXV. Anonymous
 
MY thirsty soule desires her drought
  At heauenly fountaines to refresh;
My prysoned minde would fayne be out
  Of chaynes and fetters of the flesh.
 
She looketh vp vnto the state        5
  From whence she downe by sin did slide;
She mournes the more the good she lost,
  For present euill she doth abide.
 
She longs from rough and dangerous seas
  To harbour in the hauen of blisse;        10
Where safely anchor at her ease,
  And store of sweet contentment is.
 
From banishment she more and more
  Desires to see her countrey deare;
She sits and sends her sighes before—        15
  Her ioyes and treasures all be there.
 
From Babilon she would returne
  Vnto her home and towne of peace,
Ierusalem, where ioyes abound,
  Continue still, and neuer cease.        20
 
There blustering winter neuer blowes,
  Nor sommer’s parching heate doth harme;
It neuer freezeth there, nor snowes;
  The weather’s euer temperate warme.
 
The trees doe blossome, bud, and beare;        25
  The birds doe euer chirpe and sing;
The fruit is mellow all the yeare:
  They haue an euerlasting spring.
 
The pleasant gardens euer keep
  Their hearbes and flowers fresh and greene;        30
All sorts of dainty plants and fruites
  At all times there are to be seene.
*        *        *        *        *
The riuer, wine most perfect flowes,
  More pleasant than the honnycombe;
Vpon whose bankes the sugar growes,        35
  Enclosed in reedes of sinamon.
 
Her walles of jasper stones be built,
  Most rich and fayre that euer was;
Her streetes and houses pau’d and gilt
  With gold more cleare then christall glasse.        40
 
Her gates in equall distance be,
  And each a glistering margarite,
Which commers in farre off may see—
  A gladsome and a glorious sight.
 
Her sunne doth neuer clipse nor cloude;        45
  Her moone doth neuer wax nor wane:
The Lambe with light hath her endued,
  Whose glory pen cannot explaine.
 
The glorious saintes her dwellers be,
  In numbers more then men can thinke;        50
So many in a company
  As loue in likeness doth them linke.
 
The starres in brightnes they surpasse;
  In swiftnes, arrowes from a bowe;
In strength, in firmnes, steele or brasse;        55
  In brightnes, fire; in whitnes, snow.
 
Theyr cloathing are more softe then silke,
  With girdles gilt of beaten golde;
They in their hands, as white as milke,
  Of palme triumphant branches holde.        60
 
Theyr faces, shining like the sunne,
  Shoot forth their glorious gladsome beames:
The field is fought; the battle won;
  Their heads be crown’d with diademes.
 
Reward as vertue different is;        65
  Distinct their ioyes and happines;
But each in ioy of other’s blisse
  Doth as his owne the same possesse.
 
So each in glory doe abound,
  And all their glories doe excell:        70
But where as all to each redound,
  Who can th’ exceeding glory tell?
 
Triumphant warriers you may heare
  Recount their daungers which doe cease;
And noble citizens euerywhere        75
  Their happy gaines of ioy and peace.
*        *        *        *        *
The King that heauenly pallace rules
  Doth beare vpon his golden shield
A crosse in signe of tryumph, gules
  Erected in a uerdant field.        80
 
His glory such as doth behoue
  Him in his manhood for to take,
Whose Godhead earth and heauen aboue,
  And all that dwell therein, did make.
 
Like friends, all partners are in blisse,        85
  With Christ their Lord and Master deare;
Like spouses they the bridegroome kisse,
  Who feasteth them with heauenly cheare;
 
With tree of life, and manna sweete,
  Which taste doth such a pleasure bring,        90
As none to iudge thereof be meete,
  But they which banquet with the King.
 
With cherubins their wings they mooue,
  And mount in contemplation hye;
With seraphins they burne in loue,        95
  The beames of glory be so nygh.
 
O sweet aspect; vision of peace;
  Happy regard and heauenly sight;
O endlesse ioy without surcease;
  Perpetuall day which hath no night!        100
 
O well of weale; fountaine of life;
  A spring of euerlasting blisse;
Eternal sunne; resplendant light;
  And eminent cause of all that is!
 
River of pleasure; sea of delight;        105
  Garden of glory euer greene;
O glorious glasse, and mirrour bright,
  Wherein all truth is clearly seene!
 
O princely pallace, royall court;
  Monarchall seate; emperiall throne!        110
Where King of kings, and Soueraigne Lord,
  For euer ruleth all alone:
 
Where all the glorious saints doe see
  The secrets of the Deity;
The Godhead one, in persons three,        115
  The super-blessed Trinity.
 
The depth of wisdome most profound,
  All puisant high sublimity;
The breadth of loue without all bound,
  In endlesse long eternity.        120
 
The heauy earth belowe by kinde
  Alone ascends the mounting fire:
Be this the centor of my minde,
  And lofty spheare of her desire.
 
The chafed deare doth take the foyle;        125
  The tyred hare the thickes and wood:
Be this the comfort of my toyle,
  My refuge, hope, and soueraigne good.
 
The merchant cuts the seas for gaine;
  The soldier serueth for renowne;        130
The tyllman plowes the ground for graine:
  Be this my ioy and lasting crowne.
 
The faulkner seekes to see a flight;
  The hunter beates to view the game:
Long thou, my soule, to see this sight,        135
  And labour to enjoy the same.
 
No one ’s without some one delight,
  Which he endeauours to attaine:
Seeke thou, my soule, both day and night,
  This one, which euer shall remaine.        140
 
This one containes all pleasures true—
  All other pleasures be but vaine:
Bid thou the rest, my soule, adue,
  And seeke this one alone to gaine.
 
To count the grass vpon the ground,        145
  Or sandes that lye vpon the shore;
And when yee haue the number found,
  The ioyes heereof be many more.
 
More thousand, thousand yeares they last,
  And lodge within the happy mynde;        150
And when so many yeares be past,
  Yet more and more be still behinde.
 
Farre more they be than we can weene;
  They doe our iudgment much excell:
No ear hath heard, or eye hath seene;        155
  No pen can write, no tongue can tell.
 
An angel’s tongue cannot recyte
  The endlesse ioy of heauenly blisse;
Which, being wholly infinite,
  Beyond all speach and writing is.        160
 
We can imagine but a shade;
  It neuer entred into thought,
What ioyes he hath enioyed, that made
  All ioyes, and them that ioy, of nought.
 
My soule cannot those ioyes contayne:        165
  Let her, Lord, enter into them,
For euer with thee to remayne,
  Within thy towne, Ierusalem.
 
 
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