Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1607–1764
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. I–II: Colonial Literature, 1607–1764
 
A New England Saint
By Benjamin Woodbridge (d. 1710)
 
[Preached in Bristol, R. I., and Kittery, Me., 1680–88. Died at Medford, Mass., 1710. “Upon the Tomb of the Most Reverend Mr. John Cotton,” as quoted in Cotton Mather’s “Magnalia.”]

HERE lies magnanimous humility;
Majesty, meekness; Christian apathy
On soft affections; liberty in thrall;
A noble spirit, servant unto all;
Learning’s great masterpiece, who yet would sit        5
As a disciple, at his scholars’ feet:
A simple serpent or serpentine dove,
Made up of wisdom, innocence and love:
Neatness embroider’d with itself alone,
And civils canonized in a gown;        10
Embracing old and young, and low and high,
Ethics embodied in divinity;
Ambitious to be lowest, and to raise
His brethren’s honor on his own decays;
(Thus doth the sun retire into his bed,        15
That being gone the stars may show their head;)
Could wound at argument without division,
Cut to the quick, and yet make no incision:
Ready to sacrifice domestic notions
To churches’ peace and ministers’ devotions:        20
Himself, indeed (and singular in that)
Whom all admired he admired not:
Liv’d like an angel of a mortal birth,
Convers’d in heaven while he was on earth:
Though not, as Moses, radiant with night        25
Whose glory dazzl’d the beholder’s sight,
Yet so divinely beautified, you’ld count
He had been born and bred upon the Mount!
A living, breathing Bible; tables where
Both covenants at large engraven were;        30
Gospel and law in ’s heart had each its column;
His head an index to the sacred volume;
His very name a title-page; and next
His life a commentary on the text.
O, what a monument of glorious worth,        35
When, in a new edition, he comes forth,
Without erratas, may we think he’ll be
In leaves and covers of eternity!
A man of might, at heavenly eloquence,
To fix the ear, and charm the conscience;        40
As if Apollos were reviv’d in him,
Or he had learned of a seraphim;
Spake many tongues in one; one voice and sense
Wrought joy and sorrow, fear and confidence:
Rocks rent before him, blind receiv’d their sight;        45
Souls levell’d to the dunghill, stood upright:
Infernal furies burst with rage to see
Their prisoners captiv’d into liberty:
A star that in our eastern England rose,
Thence hurri’d by the blast of stupid foes,        50
Whose foggy darkness and benumbed senses
Brookt not his dazzling fervent influences:
Thus did he move on earth, from east to west;
There he went down, and up to heaven for rest.
Nor from himself, whilst living, doth he vary,        55
His death hath made him an ubiquitary:
Where is his sepulchre is hard to say,
Who, in a thousand sepulchres, doth lay
(Their hearts, I mean, whom he hath left behind)
In them his sacred reliques, now, enshrin’d.        60
But let his mourning flock be comforted,
Though Moses be, yet Joshua is not dead:
I mean renowned Norton; worthy he,
Successor to our Moses, is to be.
O happy Israel in America,        65
In such a Moses, such a Joshua!
 
 
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