Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Elizabethan Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.  1845.
The Death of Christ
XXII. John Davies
NOW hath the great Creator, for man’s sake,
The second Adam cast into a sleepe:
Whiles of his heart-blood hee his spouse doth make,
For whom his heart doth blood and water weepe:
  Which compound teares are turn’d to ioy intire;        5
  For his heart-blood effects his heart’s desire.
Which deere desire was our deere spouse to haue,
To be co-partner of his griefes and ioyes;
Which when he wooke his God vnto him gaue,
To comfort him in comforts and annoies;        10
  Which when he saw, he held (most faire to se!)
  Flesh of his flesh, bone of his bones, to be!
Now hath the monster, flesh-devouring Death,
Got him within his bowels: but though dead,
Looke how a woman groaning languisheth        15
In childbirth till shee be delivered:
  So groaneth Death, who trauelleth in paine,
  Till of his charge he be discharg’d again.
*        *        *        *        *
O! that all spirits of high intelligence,
By royall armies, would themselues immure        20
In my blunt braines; that by their confluence
I might expresse with nectar’d phrases pure
  The praise that to this passion right pertaines,
  Whose sacred vertue sacred vertue staines!
The vertue of this passion is of pow’r        25
Reuenges red to change to mercies white:
This passion’s vertue is so passing pure,
That fowle to faire it turnes, and darke to light:
  The landmarke to true rest, when troubles tosse
  In sorrowes’ seas, is Christ vpon the crosse.        30
Ye vnconfused orders angellick,
In order come to take this blood effuz’d.
Bring forth celestiall bowles, with motion quick,
To which this pretious blood may be infuz’d:
  Let not one drop be lost of such rare blood,        35
  That makes men passing bad exceeding good.
Couer this Aqua vitæ with your wings
From touch of infidels and Jewes prophane:
They haue no interest in this King of kings,
Whose blood they suck’d, which blood will be their bane:        40
  Make much thereof, sith but the least drop of it
  Is worth ten thousand worlds for price and profit.
Yet let poore-spirited conuerts drinke their fill,
And swill their drie soules till with it they swell:
Such diuine surfetting is wholesome still;        45
For noysome humors it doth quite expell.
  Yea, though with griefe they swell and breake with paine,
  Such griefe brings ioy, and makes them whole againe.
The elephants of yore, inur’d to warre,
Before the fight some blood were vsed to see,        50
Which them incenst, the more to make them dare:
Then if a beast shall not our better be,
  Sith Christ wee see quite drown’d thus in his blood,
  We must endure the racke as he the rood.
Fine founts he opens, whence doe gushing flow        55
Red seas to drowne our blacke Egyptian sinnes,
That they no more may seeke our ouerthrow:
Then should we goe, like Israell’s denizens,
  Through wasts of woes, orethrowing eu’ry let,
  Till we into the Land of Promise get.        60

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