Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
 
Stanzas from “Beati Pacifici”
XLIII. Sir John Stradling
 
THE GOD OF PEACE, 1 by this name is he knowne,
His peace all vnderstanding doth surmount;
Then those whom he vouchsafeth for his owne,
If they to dwell with him doe make account,
  Must live in peace and perfect vnity,        5
  Else, if they say th’are his, I’le sweare they lye.
 
Peace, Loue, and Concord, Christian badges be,
By them are Christ’s disciples knowne from others:
But such as liue voyd of all charitie,
Are not his seruants, much lesse then his brothers;        10
  They to another master doe retaine,
  And he must pay them wages for their paine.
 
Sweet is the name of peace, but sweeter farre
The thing itself; experience prooues it true:
An adage old doth tell me, Sweet is warre.        15
To whom? To him that warre yet neuer knew.
  If any list to try before he trust,
  Such will approoue my saying true and iust.
 
If men did vnderstand what ioy of heart,
What inward comfort to a soule distrest,        20
What ease of griefe, and what release from smart,
God’s peace doth bring, and how it makes men blest;
  They would sell all they have to get that treasure,
  Placing therein their only ioy and pleasure.
 
Of peace God is the author and the giuer;        25
A King so great and bountifull as he
Bestowes not trifles on his true belieuer:
Then peace, God’s gift, must needs a good one be.
  All monarchs vpon earth, thou ioyn’d in one,
  May not compare their gifts with his alone.        30
 
Christ, when he came, brought peace, and when he parted,
Left that behind to his disciples deere:
Their doctrine, vnto those whom they conuerted,
Was full of peace; and whilst they liued heere
  They taught vs still to pray, Da pacem nobis,        35
  As Christ at parting says to them, Pax vobis.
 
Christ is our peace; what can be spoke more full,
In praise of that which needs none other glosing?
Yet are our wits, in things diuine, so dull,
As rather leane on human sense reposing,        40
  Then on the truth: wherein he that doth rest
  (Say worldlings what they list) is surely blest.
 
Well spake the Hebrewes, when they wished good
Vnto their neighbour whom they passed by,
Peace be to thee; which, rightly vnderstood,        45
Implies all blisse, and all felicity.
  That sacred tongue in briefe expresseth to vs
  What good peace (if we it imbrace) will doe vs.
 
Men of meeke spirit shall the land possesse;
Peace in abundance shall refresh their hearts:        50
Of innocence and perfect vprightnesse
Peace is the end—(good pay for high deserts):
  The hauty-hearted, wicked, and vniust,
  Some other thing for hire expect they must.
 
Tell, who began to breake the sacred band        55
Of blessed peace, wherein man liu’d at first:
Was’t not that Cain, who lifted vp his hand,
And with a murthrous mind (O wretch accurst!)
  Brake peace, and foully slue his onely brother,
  Though they had both one father and one mother?        60
 
This was the first of men that so transgressed,
Yet long before the deuill led the dance;
When Adam and his wife stood in state blessed,
In paradise; it fell not out by chance,
  But by suggestion of the wicked fiend,        65
  That man made God his foe, which was his friend.
 
The deuill was a make-bate and man-slayer
From the beginning, so continues still;
All that be such must vnto him repaire,
Where they shall finde of brawles and stirs their fill:        70
  Let them not looke for peace,—ther’s none in hell;
  Nay, hel’s on earth wheras peace doth not dwell.
 
In heauen is peace,—earth’s heauen where peace dwelleth:
A man within himself may be at bate.
The peace of conscience all peace else excelleth;        75
What so disquiets that, well maist thou hate.
  This both with God and with our selues doth set vs
  At perfect rest, and then can nothing fret vs.
 
O what a hell is’t in a countrey cot
Where dwels not peace, but harsh debate and strife!        80
All plentie’s there, they are not worth a groat,
Iarres being only ’twixt the man and wife:
  If they alone do loue, and liue as friends,
  For all defects besides that makes amends.
 
Children th’ example of their parents follow;        85
Good seruants doe their masters imitate:
Ther’s none (but if he haue his heart all hollow)
That ioyes not in beholding such a state.
  Such is the power of gracious vnity,
  Makes earthly men as heauenly angels be.        90
 
Proceed yet further to a stately towne,
Where peace and concord swayes ’mongst all degrees;
Riches and plenty doe their labours crowne,
They liue together like a swarme of bees;
  Both great and small bring honey to the hiue,        95
  A drone is he that knowes not there to thriue.
 
Of kingdomes and of empires, large and great,
Like may be said, and more if it were need:
’Tis peace that doth adorne a prince’s seat,
Making it glorious, like God’s throne indeed:        100
  As kings are God’s lieutenants, so should shine
  Their thrones, in sort resembling the diuine.
 
In heauen’s kingdome there is no contending,
Those subiects know and doe their duties right:
All is so well, that there needs no amending;        105
There God and King is euer in their sight.
  That’s not for terror, but t’increase their blisse,
  For in his presence all contentment is.
 
Once yet, aboue there was a foule rebelling,
When factious troupes of angell mutiners,        110
Ioyn’d with great Lucifer, in damn’d pride swelling,
Were tumbled downe, as vilde conspiraters,
  From highest heauen, into that burning lake,
  Which once to thinke on any heart would quake.
 
But since that time there neuer chanced more        115
The least disorder—neuer will againe;
Those angels that were true to God before
Had this free charter, that whil’st he did raigne
  (Which is for aye) they neuer should decline
  Not the least iot from his good will diuine.        120
 
And so they liue in peace (there needs be spoken
No more), that is, in a most blessed state;
Such peace as henceforth neuer can be broken,
Such loue as neuer can give way to hate;
  With psalms, and hymnes, and heauenly melodie,        125
  Yeelding laud to the glorious Trinitie.
 
Note 1. XLIII. Sir John Stradling wrote “Beati Pacifici: a Divine Poem,” which was published in 1623. This work is thus dedicated to King James: “To the Sacred Majestie of my dread Soveraigne Lord the King:
These verses present in your royal view,
Presumed not to presse into this roome:
Both brought as prisoners to receive from you,
Or death or life, as likes you best, the doome.
Thus the Author and his rimes both prostrate lie,
And as your highnesse says, say they and I.”
At a later date the poetical knight published a volume of Divine Poems. [back]
 
 
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