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.
 
The Anointing of Our Saviour
LXIV. John Bulloker
 
                WHILST 1 at Bethania he,
Receiued in Simon’s house, doth there remaine,
A woman, by him late from sinne set free,
Doth come, her louing Lord to entertaine,
  Bringing a boxe of alabaster faire,        5
  Fill’d with an ointment, costly, sweet, and rare.
 
O Love! sole life of peace, and death of strife,
Strong knot to tye, sweet vnion of consent;
Thought’s purity, faire mappe of angels’ life,
Heauen’s new-made liuery, nurce of all content;        10
  How true it is the world of thee doth say,
  That whoso loues can brooke of no delay!
 
This curious boxe she breaks, and quickly powres
This precious liquor on her Saviour’s head,
Whose sweet-distilling drops full mainly showres        15
Adowne his neck, and on his garments shed,
  Refining all the ayre neere which they fell
  With fragrant odour of their pleasing smell.
 
But enuious malice soon occasion finds
This woman’s godly meaning to reproue;        20
Some standers-by do murmur in their minds,
As discontent to see such zealous loue:
  His owne disciples, too, that sate at bord,
  Do grudge such cost bestow’d vpon their Lord.
 
Why need this needlesse waste be made, say they,        25
Of what was worth three hundred pence at least?
It better had bin sold, and giuen away
To poore for almes against this holy feast:
  ’Tis pitie such sweet oyle, so dearley bought,
  With idle vaine expence should come to nought.        30
 
Thus they: but Christ, that sought to saue his foes,
Forgets not now to helpe a friend at need;
He soon perceiues the grudging thoughts of those
That were mislikers of this woman’s deed,
  And mildly doth rebuke them for their sinne,        35
  With praise of her that did the worke begin.
 
O why should you, whom I have chose for mine,
Against your louing Lord offended be?
Why should your murmuring hearts with spite repine
At her whose faith wrought this good worke on me?        40
  Take heed, this lesson was first learnt at hell,
  To grudge at grace, and enuie doing well.
 
The poore may be relieued when you will,—
No want of them the earth doth euer find;
But me you shall not haue amongst you still:        45
The work’s now done that heauen had erst assign’d;
  And she that knew I shortly hence must go,
  Against my buriall did this cost bestow.
 
Of truth, therefore, I say, in each place where
The world’s redemption shall be preacht or taught,        50
This woman’s zeale shall be related there,
In memory of what she now hath wrought:
  Great loue shall surely reape a great reward;
  Heauen do’s the hart, not outward shews, regard.
 
Note 1. LXIV. John Bulloker wrote “A True Description of the Passion of Our Saviour Jesus Christ: as it was called by the bloodie Jewes; and registered by the Evangelists.” This was published in “English meetre. Calend. November 1618.” It was printed by George Purslowe, for Samuel Pend; and was “to be sold at his shop neere Holburne Bridge.” [back]
 
 
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