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(1574–1656) (BISHOP OF EXETER AND NORWICH) IF F earth (that is provided for Mortalitie, and is
possessed by the Maker's Enemies) have so much pleasure in it that Worldlings thinke it worth the account of their Heaven ; such a Sunne to enlighten it, such an Heaven to wall it about, such sweet Fruits and Flowers to adorne it, such variety of Creatures for the commodious use of it: what must Heaven needs be, that is provided for God himselfe and his friends ? How can it bee lesse in worth then God is above his Creatures, and God's Friends better then his Enemies? I will not onely bee content, but desirous, to be dissolved. 1
If I die, the World shall misse me but a little: I shall misse it lesse. Not it me, because it hath such store of better men. Not I it, because it hath so much ill, and I shall have so much happinesse.2
Our infancie is full of folly; youth of disorder and toyle; age of infirmitie; each time hath his burden, and that which may justly worke our wearinesse ; yet infancie longeth after youth, and youth after more age: and he that is very old, as he is a child for simplicitie, so he would be for yeeres. I account old age the best of three; partly for that it hath passed through the folly and disorders of the others; partly for that 1 From Meditations and Vows, the First Centurie, xxi.
2 Ibid. xxvii.
the inconveniences of this are but bodily, with a bettered estate of the minde; and partly for that it is neerest to dissolution. There is nothing more miserable than an old man that would be young againe.
It was an answere worthy the commendations of Petrarch, and that which argued a minde truely philosophicall of him who, when his friend bemooned 1 his age appearing in his White Temples, telling him hee was sorrie to see him looke so old, replied, Nay, bee sorie rather that ever I was yong to be a foole.2
In heaven there is all life, and no dying; in Hell is all death, and no life; in earth there is both living and dying ; which, as it is betwixt both, so it prepares for both. So that he which here below dies to sin doth after live in heaven; and contrarily, he that lives in sinne upon earth dies in hell afterwards. What if I have no part of joy here below, but still succession of afflictions ? The wicked have no part in heaven, and yet they enjoy the earth with pleasure: I would not change portions with them. I rejoyce that, seeing I cannot have both, yea I have the better. O Lord, let me passe both my deaths heere upon earth.
earth. I care not how I live or die, so I may have nothing but life to looke for in another world.3
Whence is this naturall madnesse in us men, that wee delight so much in this uncleane, noysome, darke, and comfortlesse prison of earth ? and thinke not of our release to that lightsome and glorious Paradise
3 Ibid. xliii.
above us, without griefe and repining? We are sure that we are not perfectly well heere; if we could be as sure that we should be better above, we would not feare changing. Certainely
Certainely our sense tels us we have some pleasure heere; and we have not faith to assure us of more pleasure above; and hence we settle ourselves to the present, with neglect of the future, though infinitely more excellent; the heart followes the eyes, and unknown good is uncared for.1
(OF HAWTHORNDEN) (1585–1649)
Is like a bubble blown up in the air
My thoughts hold mortal strife ;
Oft call that prince which here doth monarchise; 1 From Meditations and Vows, the Third Centurie, xciiii.
2 Madrigal i.
But he, grim-grinning king,
(OF TAVISTOCK) (About 1591-1645) L OADEN with earth, as earth by such as I,
In hope of life, in Death's cold arm I lie; Laid up there, whence I came, as ships near spilt Are in the dock undone to be new built. Short was my course, and had it longer bin, I had return'd but burthen'd more with sin. Tread on me he that list; but learn withal, As we make but one cross, so thou must fall, To be made one to some dear friend of thine, That shall survey thy grave, as thou dost mine.
Tears ask I none, for those in death are vain, The true repentant showers which I did rain From my sad soul, in time to come will bring To this dead root an everlasting spring.
Till then my soul with her Creator keeps,
ROBERT HERRICK (1591-1674)
ORNE I was to meet with Age,
And to walke Life's pilgrimage. Much I know of Time is spent; 1 From Madrigal v.
2 “ My Own Epitaph," 1614.
Tell I can't, what's resident.
A wearied Pilgrim, I have wandred here
I do believe that die I must,
I do believe the good and I