Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 28. A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Sainte Teresa
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Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
  
28. A Hymn to the Name and Honor of the Admirable Sainte Teresa
By Richard Crashaw  (?1613–1649)
  
Fovndresse of the Reformation of the Discalced Carmelites, both men and Women; a Woman for Angelicall heigth of speculation, for Masculine courage of performance, more then a woman. Who yet a child, out ran maturity, and durst plott a Martyrdome.


LOVE, thou art Absolute sole lord
Of Life and Death. To prove the word,
Wee’l now appeal to none of all
Those thy old Souldiers, Great and tall,
Ripe Men of Martyrdom, that could reach down        5
With strong armes, their triumphant crown;
Such as could with lusty breath
Speak lowd into the face of death
Their Great Lord’s glorious names, to none
Of those whose spatious Bosomes spread a throne       10
For Love at larg to fill, spare blood and sweat;
And see him take a private seat,
Making his mansion in the mild
And milky soul of a soft child.
  Scarse has she learn’t to lisp the name       15
Of Martyr; yet she thinks it shame
Life should so long play with that breath
Which spent can buy so brave a death.
She never undertook to know
What death with love should have to doe;       20
Nor has she e’re yet understood
Why to show love, she should shed blood
Yet though she cannot tell you why,
She can Love, and she can Dy.
  Scarse has she Blood enough to make       25
A guilty sword blush for her sake;
Yet has she’a Heart dares hope to prove
How much lesse strong is Death then Love.
  Be love but there; let poor six yeares
Be pos’d with the maturest Feares       30
Man trembles at, you straight shall find
Love knowes no nonage, nor the Mind.
’Tis Love, not Yeares or Limbs that can
Make the Martyr, or the man.
  Love touch’t her Heart, and lo it beates       35
High, and burnes with such brave heates;
Such thirsts to dy, as dares drink up,
A thousand cold deaths in one cup.
Good reason. For she breathes All fire.
Her weake brest heaves with strong desire       40
Of what she may with fruitles wishes
Seek for amongst her Mother’s kisses.
  Since ’tis not to be had at home
She’l travail to à Martyrdom.
No home for hers confesses she       45
But where she may à Martyr be.
  Sh’el to the Moores; And trade with them,
For this unvalued Diadem.
She’l offer them her dearest Breath,
With Christ’s Name in’t, in change for death.       50
Sh’el bargain with them; and will give
Them God; teach them how to live
In him: or, if they this deny,
For him she’l teach them how to Dy.
So shall she leave amongst them sown       55
Her Lord’s Blood; or at lest her own.
  Farewel then, all the world! Adieu.
Teresa is no more for you.
Farewell, all pleasures, sports, and ioyes,
(Never till now esteemed toyes)       60
Farewell what ever deare may be,
Mother’s armes of Father’s knee.
Farewell house, and farewell home!
She’s for the Moores, and Martyrdom.
  Sweet, not so fast! lo thy fair Spouse       65
Whom thou seekst with so swift vowes,
Calls thee back, and bidds thee come
T’embrace a milder Martyrdom.
  Blest powres forbid, Thy tender life
Should bleed upon a barborous knife;       70
Or some base hand have power to race
Thy Brest’s chast cabinet, and uncase
A soul kept there so sweet, ô no;
Wise heavn will never have it so.
Thou art love’s victime; and must dy       75
A death more mysticall and high.
Into love’s armes thou shalt let fall
A still-surviving funerall.
His is the Dart must make the Death
Whose stroke shall tast thy hallow’d breath;       80
A Dart thrice dip’t in that rich flame
Which writes thy spouse’s radiant Name
Upon the roof of Heav’n; where ay
It shines, and with a soveraign ray
Beates bright upon the burning faces       85
Of soules which in that name’s sweet graces
Find everlasting smiles. So rare,
So spirituall, pure, and fair
Must be th’immortall instrument
Upon whose choice point shall be sent       90
A life so lov’d; And that there be
Fitt executioners for Thee,
The fair’st and first-born sons of fire
Blest Seraphim, shall leave their quire
And turn love’s souldiers, upon Thee       95
To exercise their archerie.
  O how oft shalt thou complain
Of a sweet and subtle Pain.
Of intolerable Ioyes;
Of a Death, in which who dyes      100
Loves his death, and dyes again.
And would for ever so be slain.
And lives, and dyes; and knowes not why
To live, But that he thus may never leave to Dy.
  How kindly will thy gentle Heart      105
Kisse the sweetly-killing Dart!
And close in his embraces keep
Those delicious Wounds, that weep
Balsom to heal themselves with. Thus
When These thy Deaths, so numerous,      110
Shall all at last dy into one,
And melt thy Soul’s sweet mansion;
Like a soft lump of incense, hasted
By too hott a fire, and wasted
Into perfuming clouds, so fast      115
Shalt thou exhale to Heavn at last
In a resolving Sigh, and then
O what? Ask not the Tongues of men.
Angells cannot tell, suffice,
Thy selfe shall feel thine own full ioyes      120
And hold them fast for ever there
So soon as you first appear,
The Moon of maiden starrs, thy white
Mistresse, attended by such bright
Soules as thy shining self, shall come      125
And in her first rankes make thee room;
Where ’mongst her snowy family
Immortall wellcomes wait for thee.
  O what delight, when reveal’d Life shall stand
And teach thy lipps heav’n with his hand;      130
On which thou now maist to thy wishes
Heap up thy consecrated kisses.
What ioyes shall seize thy soul, when she
Bending her blessed eyes on thee
(Those second Smiles of Heav’n) shall dart      135
Her mild rayes through thy melting heart!
  Angels, thy old freinds, there shall greet thee
Glad at their own home now to meet thee.
  All thy good Workes which went before
And waited for thee, at the door,      140
Shall own thee there; and all in one
Weave a constellation
Of Crowns, with which the King thy spouse
Shall build up thy triumphant browes.
  All thy old woes shall now smile on thee      145
And thy paines sitt bright upon thee,
All thy sorrows here shall shine.
All thy Suffrings be divine.
Teares shall take comfort, and turn gemms
And Wrongs repent to Diademms.      150
Ev’n thy Death shall live; and new
Dresse the soul that erst they slew.
Thy wounds shall blush to such bright scarres
As keep account of the Lamb’s warres.
  Those rare Workes where thou shalt leave writt      155
Love’s noble history, with witt
Taught thee by none but him, while here
They feed our soules, shall cloth Thine there.
Each heavnly word by whose hid flame
Our hard Hearts shall strike fire, the same      160
Shall flourish on thy browes, and be
Both fire to us and flame to thee;
Whose light shall live bright in thy Face
By glory, in our hearts by grace.
  Thou shalt look round about, and see      165
Thousands of crown’d Soules throng to be
Themselves thy crown. Sons of thy vowes
The virgin-births with which thy soveraign spouse
Made fruitfull thy fair soul, goe now
And with them all about thee bow      170
To Him, put on (hee’l say) put on
(My rosy love) That thy rich zone
Sparkling with the sacred flames
Of thousand soules, whose happy names
Heav’n keep upon thy score. (Thy bright      175
Life brought them first to kisse the light
That kindled them to starrs.) and so
Thou with the Lamb, thy lord, shalt goe;
And whereso’ere he setts his white
Stepps, walk with Him those wayes of light      180
Which who in death would live to see,
Must learn in life to dy like thee.

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