Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
 
Mary Magdalen’s Sixt Lamentation
LXXXVI. Anonymous
 
(“Jesus sayd vnto her, Mary: she turning sayd vnto him, Rabboni.”)

OH louing Lord, thou only didst defere
My consolation to increase it more;
That thy delightfull presence might preferre
The better welcome, being wisht so sore;
  In that thy absence little hope had left        5
  Vnto my hart so long of blisse bereft.
 
It may be that I knew not former blisse,
Till I a time was from the sweetnes weaned;
Nor what it was such treasures rich to misse,
Which in thy presence I of late attained;        10
  Vntill my pouerty had made it cleere,
  Of what inestimable rate they were.
 
But now thou shewst me by a proofe most sweete,
That though I pay’d thee with my deerest loue,
With water of my teares to wash thy feete,        15
With my best breath, which all desire could moue;
  Yet small the price was that I did bestowe,
  Waying the worth, which now thou let’st me know.
 
I sought thee dead, pind in a stony gaill,
But find thee liuing, and at liberty;        20
Shrinde in a shroud, thy visage wan and pale,
Left as the modell of all misery;
  But now inuest in glorious robes I finde thee,
  And as the president of blisse I minde thee.
 
As all this while I sought, but could not finde;        25
Wept without comfort; cald, vnanswerd too:
So now thy comming satisfies my minde,
Thy tryumphes please my teares, which long did wooe;
  And all my ioyes are husht with this one word,
  “Mary,” ’cause sweetly spoken from my Lord.        30
 
For when I heard thee call in wonted sort,
And with thy vsuall voyce, my only name
Issuing from that thy heauenly mouth’s report,
So strange an alteration it did frame,
  As if I had beene wholly made anew,        35
  Being only nam’d by thee, whose voyce I knew:
 
Whereas before my griefe benum’d me so,
My body seem’d the hearce of my dead hart;
My hart, soule’s coffin, kil’d with care and woe;
And my whole selfe did seeme in euery part        40
  A double funerall presented plaine,
  Of Thee, and of myselfe, together slaine.
 
But now this one word hath my sence restored,
Lightened my minde, and quickened my hart;
And in my soule a liuing spirit powred,        45
Yea, with sweete comfort strengthened euery part:
  For well this word a spirit dead may raise,
  Which only word made heauen, world, and seas.
 
Mary I was, when sinne possest me whole,
Mary I am, being now in a state of grace;        50
Mary did worke the ill that damn’d her soule,
Mary did good in giuing euill place:
  And now I showe both what I was and am;
  This word alone displaies my ioy and shame.
 
For by his vertues that did speake the same,        55
An epitome of all his mercies sweete,
A repetition of my miseries came,
And all good haps I did together meete;
  Which so my sences rauished with ioy,
  I soone forgot my sorrowes and annoy.        60
 
And thus my hart a troope of ioyes did leade;
Mustred in rancks to mutiny they fell,
Conspiring which might worthiest bee made;
With them my owne vnworthies doe rebell,
  And long in doubtfull issue they contend,        65
  Till view of highest blis the strife did end.
 
He was my Sun, whose going downe did leaue
A dumpish night with fearefull fancies fill’d;
And did each starre of glistering shines bereaue,
And all the world with misty horror hill’d;        70
  And euery planet raigning erst so bright
  Were chaung’d to dismall signes in this darke night.
 
Yet now the clearenes of his louely face,
His word’s authority which all obey,
This foggy darknes cleane away doth chace,        75
And brings a calme and bright well-tempred day;
  And doth depurple clouds of melancholy,
  Awaks my sence, and cures mye lethargy.
 
Rapt with his voyce, impatient of delay,
Out of his mouth his talke I gredily take,        80
And to this first and only word I say,
And with one other word this answeare make:
  “Rabboni”—then my ioy my speech did choke,
  I could no more proceede, nor more heare spoke.
 
Loue would haue spoke, but feare concealde the clause;        85
Hope framed words, but doubt their passage staies:
When I should speake, I then stood in a pawse;
My sodaine ioy my inward thoughts quite slayes:
  My voyce doth tremble, and my tongue doth falter;
  My breath doth faile, and all my sences alter.        90
 
Lastly, in lieu of words issue my teares;
Deepe sighes instead of sentences are spent;
Their mother’s want they fill with sobbes and feares,
And from the hart half-vttered words they sent;
  Which in so passion’s conflict disagree,        95
  To sounds perceau’d they cannot sorted bee.
 
So fares the hart that’s sick for sodaine ioy,
Attayning that for which it long did fire:
For euen as feare is loue’s still seruile boy,
And hope an vsher vnto hot desire;        100
  So loue is hard a firme beliefe in gaining,
  And credulous coniectures entertayning.
 
And though desire be apt for to admit
Of wisht-for comfort any smallest shade;
The hotter yet it burnes in hauing it,        105
The more it cares to haue it perfit made;
  And while least hope is wanting, which is sought,
  The best assurances auantage nought.
 
And euen as hope doth still the best presume,
Inuiting ioy to welcome good successe;        110
So feare suspects true blisse can hardly come,
And calls vp sorrowe, making it seem lesse;
  With griefe bewailing the incertainty
  Of that which should be sole felicity.
 
And while as these doe mutually contend,        115
Feare sometimes falleth into deepe dispaire;
Hope rising vp, his fiery darts doth send
Of wrath, repining to the empty ayre;
  Making a doubtfull skirmish dead they stand,
  Till euidence of proofe the strife haue scand.        120
 
For though poore I so suddainly reply’d,
Vpon the notice of his voyce well knowne,
Yet for because so rare a chaunce I spide,
His person chang’d, himselfe vnlookt for showne,
  The sight my thoughts into sedition drew,        125
  Till they were purg’d from doubts by stricter view.
 
And then, though speeches would haue issued faine,
And my poore hart to his hand duty sent,
Yet euery thought, for vtterance taking paine,
Which first might be receau’d, so hastly went,        130
  That I was forst, indifferent iudge to all,
  To act by signes, and let my speeches fall.
 
And runing to the haunt of my delight,
My chiefest blis, I straight fall at his feete,
And kindly offer in my Sauiour’s sight        135
To bath them now with teares of ioy most sweete;
  To sanctifie my lippes with kissing his
  Once grieuous, but now glorious wounds of blis.
 
To heare more words I listed not to stay,
Beeing with the word itself now happy made;        140
But deem’d a greater blisse for to assay
To haue at once my wishes full apaid,
  In honouring and kissing of his feete,
  Then in the hearing of his speeche lesse sweete.
 
For euen as loue in nature coueteth        145
To be vnited, yea, transformed whole
Out of itselfe into the thing it loueth;
So what vnits loue most affecteth sole,
  And still preferreth least coniunction euer
  Before best ioyes which distance seemes to seuer.        150
 
To see him, therefore, doth not me suffice;
To heare him doth not quiet whole my mind;
To speake with him in so familiar wise
Is not enough my loose let soule to bind:
  No, nothing can my vehement loue appease,        155
  Least by his touch my wo-worne hart I please.
 
 
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