Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
Mary Magdalen’s Second Lamentation
LXXXVI. Anonymous
 
(For the losse of the bodie which shee came to anoint.)

BUT 1 stay, my Muse, I feare my Maister’s loue;
The only portion that my fortune left mee,
Would languish in my brest, and childish proue,
Sith warmth to cherish it was quite bereft mee,—
  His words, his presence gone, which fed my flame,        5
  And not the ashes left to rake the same.
 
My spice and ointment shall be then prepar’d,
To pay last tribute of externall duty;
Though others haue thereto deuoutly car’d,
And brought the best in worth, in worke, in beauty;        10
  Yet such desire my duty doth inherit,
  That I must yield my loue my latest merit.
 
My loue each quantitie too little deem’d,
Vnlesse that mine were added thereunto;
Best quantitie too meane, and not esteem’d,        15
Except with mine it somewhat haue to doe;
  No dilligence enough for to applie,
  Vnlesse my seruice be unployed by.
 
Nor doe I thus sharp censure other’s deeds,
But ’cause loue makes me couetous of doing:        20
Though Ioseph’s worke no reprehension needs,
Though to my wish his balme he was bestowing,
  Yet all he did cannot my loue suffice,
  But I must actor be to please mine eyes.
 
Such is the force of true affection’s loue,        25
To be as eager in effects t’ appeare,
As it is zealous feruently to moue
Affections firme to what it holdeth deere:
  This loue deuout sets my poore hart on fire,
  To shew some deede of my most deepe desire.        30
 
And to imbalme his breathlesse corps I came,
As once afore I did annoynt his feete;
And to preserue the rellicks of the same,
The only remnaunt that my blis did meete;
  To weep afresh for him in depth of dole,        35
  That lately wept to him for mine owne soule.
 
But loe, alas! I find the graue wide ope,
The body gone, the empty sindon left;
The hollow tombe I euerywhere doe grope,
To be assurd of what I am sure bereft:        40
  The labour of imbalming is preuented,
  But cause of endlesse weeping is augmented.
 
Hee wanting is vnto my obsequies,
That was not wanting to my ceaselesse teares:
I find a cause to moue my miseries;        45
To ease my woe no wisht-for ioy appeares.
  Though thus I misse whom to annoynt I meant,
  Yet haue I found a matter to lament:
 
I hauing setled all my sole desires
On Christ my loue, who all my loue possest;        50
In whose rare goodnes my affection fires;
Whom to enioy I other ioyes supprest;
  Whose peerelesse worth’s vnmatcht of all that liue,
  Being had, all ioyes, and lost, all sorrowes giue.
 
The life of liues, thus murthering in his death,        55
Doth leaue behind him, lasting to endure,
A generall death to each thing hauing breath,
And his decease our nature hath made pure:
  Yet am poore I of ornament bereft,
  And all the world without perfection left.        60
 
What maruell then if my hart’s hot desire
And vehement loue to such a louely Lord
To see life’s wrack with scalding sighes aspire,
And for his bodie’s losse such woe afford;
  And feele like tast of sorrowe in his misse,        65
  As in his presence I enioyed blisse?
 
And though my teares distill’d from moisted eyes
Are rather oyle then water to my flame;
More apt to nourish sorrowe in such wise,
Then to diminish or abate the same;        70
  Yet, silly soule, I, plung’d in depth of paine,
  Doe yield myselfe a captiue to complaine.
 
Most true it is that Peter came and Iohn
With me vnto the tombe, to try report;
They came in hast, and hastily were gone;        75
They, hauing searcht, dare make no more resort:
  And what gain’d I? two witnesse of my losse,
  Dismaiers of my hope, cause of more crosse.
 
Loue made them come, but loue was quickly quail’d
With such a feare as call’d them soone away:        80
I, poore I, hoping, in dispaire assail’d
Without all feare, perseuering still to stay;
  Because I thought no cause of feare was left,
  Sith whom I fear’d was from my sight bereft.
 
For I, poore soule, haue lost my Maister deere,        85
To whom my thoughts deuoutly were combin’d;
The totall of my loue, my cheefest cheere,
The height of hope, in whom my glory shin’d;
  My finall feare; and therefore, him excepted,
  No other hope, nor loue, nor losse, respected.        90
 
Worse feare behind was death, which I desired,
And feared not, my soule’s life being gone;
Without which I no other life required,
And in which death had beene delight alone:
  And thus, ah! thus, I liue a dying life;        95
  Yet neither death nor life can end my strife.
 
Yet now, methinks, ’tis better die then liue,
For haply dying I my loue may finde;
Whom, while I liue, no hope at all can giue,
And, he not had, to liue I haue no minde:        100
  For nothing in myselfe but Christ I lou’d,
  And nothing ioyes, my Iesus so remou’d.
 
If any thing aliue to keepe me striu’d,
It is his image, ’cause it should not die
With me, whose likenes loue in me contriu’d,        105
And treasur’d vp in sweetest memory;
  From which my loue by no way can depart,
  Vnlesse I rippe the center of my hart:
 
Which had beene done, but that I fear’d to burst
The worthles trunck which my deere Lord inclosed;        110
In which the relliques of lost ioy was trust,
And all the remnant of my life imposed:
  Els griefe had chang’d my hart to bleeding teares,
  And fatall end had past from pitteous eares.
 
Yet pitteous I, in so imperfect sort,        115
Doe seeme to drawe my vndesired breath,
That true I proue this often-heard report,—
“Loue is more strong then life-destroying death:”
  For what more could pale Death in me haue done,
  Then in my loue performed playne is showne?        120
 
My wits distraught, and all my sence amaz’d;
My thoughts let lose and fled, I know not where;
Of vnderstanding rob’d, I stand agaz’d,
Not able to conceit what I doe heare:
  That in the end, finding I did not know,        125
  And seeing, could not well discerne the show.
 
I am not where I am, but with my loue;
And where he is, poore soule, I cannot tell:
Yet from his sight nothing my hart can moue;
I more in him than in my life doe dwell:        130
  And, missing whom I looke for with sad seeking,
  Poore wo-worne woman, at the tombe stay weeping.
 
Note 1. LXXXVI. Anonymous.—This author wrote a volume entitled “Mary Magdalen’s Lamentations for the Loss of her Maister Jesus,” which has been supposed by some to be the production of Sir Nicholas Breton. [back]
 
 
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