Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
The Teares of Our Sauiour in the Garden
LXXXV. Anonymous
 
THE MEEKE 1 and gentle pledge of mortall peace,
Christ Jesus had receiued the Paschall Lambe;
His holy trayne, vnto their ioyes encrease,
Had reapt the fruites, and tasted of the same:
  The grace was sayd, the night approached on,        5
  The fatall night, the night of care and moane:
 
When as kind Christ with his disciples went
Vnto the farme-house of Gethsemane;
And feeling heapes of sorrow and lament
Afflict his heart like to the troubled sea,        10
  Forth wends he with three followers for to pray;
  The rest he wild them there awhile to stay.
 
Along he walkes, and still his woe encreaseth,
Whiles Peter weepes to see his Master sory;
Yet matchlesse Christ his sorrow nere surceaseth;        15
So feruent griefe engirts the King of Glory:
  The sonnes of Zebede with teares bewaile him,
  Yet more and more his moanes doe still assaile him.
 
Oh reuerent browes with agony perplexed,
Loe bloud and gastly sweate together mixed;        20
The heart with horrour, care, and griefe is vexed;
The flesh is frayle, the eyes with feare is fixed:
  O rent my soule in thought of his distresse,
  Who dain’d these griefes thy dangers to redresse.
 
But when he felt no measure of his moane,        25
“My soule,” saith he, “is heauy vnto death;
Then stay my friends, for I will walk alone;
But watch and pray, whiles you inioy your breath.”
  So foorth he went, and flat vpon his face
  With pittious plaints implor’d his Father’s grace.        30
 
And thus he prayed: “O Father, God of light,
If it may be, let this vnseasoned cup
Of sorrow passe, that doth my soule affright:
For why? in griefe my heart is swallowed vp:
  Yet not my will, but euen thy will be done,        35
  Through whom by me this worke was first begun.”
 
Long lay he feeding on his wofull languish,
And in his cryes redoubled oft the same:
At last, forgetting of his baleful anguish,
He rose, and straight to his disciples came;        40
  Who, through their cares and pittious teares there wept,
  Without suspect of harmes securely slept.
 
But he, the carefull Shepheard of his flocke,
Seeing the day of daungers neere at hand,
The foe of man prepar’d his sheep to yoake,        45
With tender care their mischiefs did withstand:
  And waking them, he sayd vpon that stowre:
  “What! can you not keep watch with me one houre?
 
O watch and pray; temptations are too nye;
The spirit willes, and yet the flesh saies, nay.”        50
With that the teares of pitty foorth did flye:
O words and tears which mercy did bewray!
  And now the second charge approacheth on,
  And, pensiue, Christ alone to pray is gone.
 
As sturdy trees with murmuring noyse lament        55
The northerne windes outragious blasts that’s gone;
As flowers doe waile when sommer daies are spent,
To see theyr pride by nipping frostes vndone;
  As day doth lowre, depriu’d of sunne’s delight,
  And night complaines, when moone reflects no light;        60
 
As he laments who neuer hopes for grace;
As lookes the man that loathes his eyes haue sight;
As sighes the wofulsts braunch of mortall race,
Compare their paines, their hope, their small delight;
  Yea, thinke more woes than we haue wayes to wring,        65
  And thinke by them what cares did Jesus sting.
 
His browes, the tables where our peace is written,
With purple bloud and amber sweate were stain’d;
His heauy lookes disclosed the heart was bitten;
His weeping eyes his wofull state complain’d;        70
  His folded armes, his reuerent knees that bended,
  His hydious harmes and endlesse care intended.
 
Here stands dispaire, that shold haue swallowed man,
And threatneth him with death for our offences;
Sinne with recountlesse shapes afflictes him, than        75
Hell shewes the horrour, Sathan his pretences:
  Meanwhile our Lord, that neuer thought on ill,
  Endurde those threatning plagues to saue vs still.
 
O were each thought transformed to a pen;
And euery pen of power to write an age;        80
And euery age could take his forme agen;
And euery forme did serue but for a page;
  All would not serue—then sigh, and say thou this,—
  Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus beneficiis?
 
The hostes of heauen were moued with his moane,        85
Whilst he with teares his Father’s grace implores;
And euery period was a bitter groane—
Euen thus the Sonne of God his Lord adores:
  “Father, if thou wilt now remooue from me
  This cup: if not, thy will fulfilled be.”        90
 
Heerewith th’ imperiall gates of heauen began
To open wide, and from the brightsome throane
Of Him who ruled the world, and fashion’d man,
An angell bright with wauing wings is gone,
  And there alights, where as the God of light        95
  Lay quite dismayed, and rob’d of all delight.
 
As seamen smiles when after stormy blasts
The radiant sunne commaunds the warring windes,
And trimmes his tackles, and repayres his masts,
And mends each leake that he by searching findes;        100
  So fares distressed Christ, when he did view
  The lip of heauen, his onely sorrow’s dew.
 
He gathered his distempered sprites in one,
Whilst that the angels whispered in his eare
His Father’s will: then lifts he vp anonn        105
His reuerend head, and ’gan his eyes to cleare;
  And foorth he walkes, and at the becke againe
  The angell parts, and hasteth thence amaine.
 
Arriued there where his disciples lay,
He found them sleeping through their cares forepast,        110
And thus bespake: “Why sleep you? rise and pray,
For why? temptations doe approach vs fast.”
  His pensiue traine were whist, and could not tell
  How to excuse the slouth in them did dwell.
 
Againe from them vnto his prayer he goes,        115
Loosing the fountaines of his eyes at large;
His restles limbes vpon the earth he throwes,
And thus with sighes his prayers he doth discharge:
  “O Father, looke, looke, Father, on my sheepe,
  That thou hast lent thy pensiue Sonne to keep:        120
 
O loue them, Lord; for why? the world disdaines them;
And why? because they are not worldly-minded:
Th’ hard-hearted wolues hereafter oft will paine them;
Oh helpe their wants; Lord, let them not be blinded:
  For them I weep, for them I shed my teares;        125
  Father, regard my suite with open eares.
 
Let them whose sinnes exceede the sandy seas,
Whose hope is drown’d, whose heart is stain’d with feares,
Euen by my death thy bitter wrath appease;
Father, for them I shed these brinish teares—        130
  O let my weeping wound thine eares diuine,
  And mooue compassion for these flockes of mine.”
 
Heere ceast his teares and prayers: for why? the houre
Of griefe and death approached neere at hand;
So forth he hastes vpon that helpless stoure,        135
And found his followers sleeping on the land:
  “Sleep hardly,” saith he, “take your ease at will,
  The houre is come of sorrow and of ill.
 
The Sonne of man already is betrayed
To sinners’ hands: arise, and let vs goe.”        140
With that, with hearts appal’d and quite dismayed,
They all arose to tend the houre of woe;
  Whilst traiterous Judas with his traine appeares,
  Armed with staues, with clubs, and warlike speares.
 
The cursed out-cast of the twelue betray’d        145
His heauenly Master by a cursed kisse:
His foes to touch his person were affraide—
Short tale to tell, our Lord supprised is,
  And bound with bonds, unto the place is led,
  Where all the high priests dwelt vpon that sted.        150
 
Note 1. LXXXV. Anonymous.—In 1601 was published “The Song of Mary the Mother of Christ; containing the story of his life and passion; the teares of Christ in the garden; with the description of the heauenly Ierusalem.” This work was issued anonymously, and the principal poem in it bears a strong resemblance to that entitled “Mary Magdalen’s Lamentation for the Losse of her Maister Jesus.” [back]
 
 
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