Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
The Ways of God Unsearchable
III. Edmund Spenser
OF 1 things unseene how canst thou deeme aright—
Then answered the righteous Artegall—
Sith thou misdeem’st so much of things in sight?
What though the sea with waves continuall
Doe eate the earth? it is no more at all:        5
Ne is the earth the lesse, or loseth ought:
For whatsoever from one place doth fall
Is with the tide unto another brought:
For there is nothing lost, that may be found if sought.
Likewise the earth is not augmented more        10
By all that dying unto it doe fade;
For of the earth they formed were of yore:
However gay their blossome or their blade
Doe flourish now, they into dust shall vade.
What wrong then is it, if that when they die        15
They turne to that whereof they first were made?
All in the powre of their great Maker lie:
All creatures must obey the voice of the Most Hie.
They live, they die, like as He doth ordaine,
Ne ever any asketh reason why.        20
The hils doe not the lowly dales disdaine;
The dales doe not the lofty hils envy.
He maketh kings to sit in soverainty;
He maketh subiects to their powre obay;
He pulleth downe, He setteth up on hy;        25
He gives to this, from that He takes away:
For all we have is His: what He list doe, He may.
Whatever thing is done, by Him is done,
Ne any may His mighty will withstand;
Ne any may his soveraine power shonne,        30
Ne loose that He hath bound with stedfast band:
In vaine therefore doest thou now take in hand
To call to ’count, or weigh his workes anew,
Whose counsel’s depth thou canst not understand;
Sith of things subiect to thy daily vew        35
Thou doest not know the causes, nor their courses dew.
For take thy ballaunce, if thou be so wise,
And weigh the winde that under heaven doth blow:
Or weigh the light that in the East doth rise;
Or weigh the thought that from man’s mind doth flow:        40
But if the weight of these thou canst not show,
Weigh but one word which from thy lips doth fall:
For how canst thou those greater secrets know,
That doest not know the least thing of them all?
Ill can he rule the great, that cannot reach the small.        45
Note 1. From The Faerie Queene, Book V., Canto II., ll. 343–87. [back]
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