Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
Lines from “Job Militant”
XXI. Francis Quarles
The Argument.
Job wisheth his past happinesse,
Shewes his state present, doth confesse
That God’s the author of his griefe,
Relates the purenesse of his life.

OH! that I were as happy as I was
When heaven’s bright favours shone upon my face,
And prosper’d my affairs, inrich’d my joyes,
When all my sonnes could answer to my voyce;
Then did my store and thriving flocks encrease,        5
Offended justice sought my hands for peace;
Old men did honour, and the young did feare me,
Princes kept silence, (when I spake) to heare mee:
I heard the poore, reliev’d the widowe’s crie,
Orphans I succour’d, was the blind man’s eye,        10
The cripple’s foot, my helplesse brother’s drudge,
The poore man’s father, and the oppressor’s judge.
I then supposed that my dayes’ long lease
Would passe in plentie, and expire in peace;
My rootes were fixed, and my branches sprung,        15
My glory blazed, my power grew daily strong;
I speaking, men stood mute, my speeches mov’d
All hearts to joy, by all men were approv’d:
My kindly words were welcome as a latter
Raine, and were oracles in a doubtfull matter.        20
  O sudden change! I’m turned a laughing-stocke
To boyes, and those that su’d to tend my flock,
And such whose hungry wants have taught their hands
To scrape the earth, and dig the barren lands
For hidden roots, wherewith they might appease        25
Their tyran stomacks, these (even very these)
Flout at my sorrowes, and disdaining me,
Point with their fingers, and cry, This is he!
My honour’s foyl’d, my troubled spirit lyes
Wide open to the worst of injuries;        30
Where e’r I turne my sorrow new appeares,
I’m vex’d abroad with flouts, at home with feares;
My soule is faint, and nights, that should give ease
To tyred spirits, make my griefes encrease;
I loath my carkeise, for my ripened soares        35
Have changed my garment’s colour with their cores.
But what is worst of worsts, Lord, often I
Have cry’d to thee, a stranger to my cry;
Though perfect clemency thy nature be,
Though kinde to all, thou art unkinde to me:        40
I ne’r wax’t pale to see another thrive,
Nor e’er did let my afflicted brother strive
With tears alone: But I (poore I) tormented,
Expect for succour, and am unlamented:
I mourne in silence, languish all alone,        45
As in a desert am reliev’d by none:
My sores have dy’d my skin with filth, still turning
My joyes to griefe, and all my mirth to mourning.
  My heart hath past indentures with mine eye
Not to behold a maid; for what should I        50
Expect from heaven, but a deserv’d reward
Earn’d by so foule a sinne? for deaths prepared
And flames of wrath are blowne for such: doth He
Not know my actions that so well knowes me?
If I have lent my hands to flye deceit,        55
Or if my steps have not been purely straight,
What I have sowne then let a stranger eate,
And root my plants untimely from their seate.
If I with lust have e’r distain’d my life,
Or been defiled with another’s wife,        60
In equall iustice let my wife be knowne
Of all, and let me reape as I have sowne;
For lust that burneth in a sinfull brest
Till it hath burnt him too, shall never rest.
If e’r my haste did treat my servant ill,        65
Without desert making my power my will,
Then how should I before God’s judgement stand,
Since we were both created by one hand?
If e’r my power wronged the poore man’s cause,
Or to the widow length’ned out the lawes;        70
If e’r alone my lips did taste my bread,
Or shut my churlish doores the poore unfed,
Or bent my hand to doe the orphan wrong,
Or saw him naked, unapparell’d long;
In heapes of gold if e’r I took delight,        75
Or gave heaven’s worship to the heavenly light;
Or e’r was flatter’d by my secret will;
Or joyed in my adversarie’s ill:
Let God accurse me from his glorious seate,
And make my plagues (if possible) more great.        80
  Oh! that some equall hearer now were by
To judge my righteous cause: full sure am I
I shall be quitted by th’ Almightie hand.
What therefore if censorious tongues withstand
The judgement of my sober conscience?        85
Compose they ballads on me, yet from thence
My simple innocence shall gaine renowne,
And on my head I’le weare them as my crowne:
To the Almightie’s eare will I reveale
My secret wayes: to him alone appeale.        90
If (to conclude) the earth could finde a tongue
T’ impeach my guiltlesse hands of doing wrong:
If hidden wages (earn’d with sweat) doe lie
Rak’t in her furrowes, let her wombe deny
To blesse my harvest, let her better seeds        95
Be turn’d to thistles, and the rest to weeds.
The man whose soule is undistain’d with ill,
Pure from the check of a distemper’d will,
Stands onely free from the distracts of care,
And flies a pitch above the reach of feare;        100
His bosome dares the threat’ning bowman’s arme,
His wisdome sees, his courage feares no harme;
His brest lies open to the reeking sword;
The darts of swarthy Maurus can affoord
Lesse dread than danger to his well-prepar’d        105
And setled minde, which (standing on her guard)
Bids mischiefe doe the worst she can or will;
For he that does no ill deserves no ill.
  Would any strive with Samson for renowne,
Whose brawney arme can strike most pillars down?        110
Or try a fall with angels, and prevaile?
Or with a hymne unhinge the strongest iayle?
Would any from a pris’ner prove a prince?
Or with slow speech best orators convince?
Preserve he then unstained in his brest        115
A milk-white conscience, let his soule be blest
With simple innocence; this sevenfold shield
No dart shall pierce, no sword shall make it yeeld;
The sinewy bow, and deadly-headed launce,
Shall break in shivers, and the splinters glaunce        120
Aside, returning backe from whence they came,
And wound their hearts with an eternall shame.
The just and constant minde that perseveres
Vnblemisht with false pleasures, never feares
The bended threatenings of a tyrann’s brow—        125
Death neither can disturbe, nor change his vow.
Well guarded with himself he walkes along,
When most alone he stands a thousand strong.
  Lives he in weale and full prosperitie?
His wisdom tels him that he lives to die;        130
  Is he afflicted? sharpe afflictions give
Him hopes of change, and that he dyes to live;
  Is he revild and scornd? he sits and smiles,
Knowing him happy whom the world reviles.
If rich, he gives the poore, and if he live        135
In poore estate, he findes rich friends to give:
He lives an angel in a mortall forme;
And having past the brunt of many a storme,
At last arriveth at the haven of rest,
Where that just Judge that rambles in his brest,        140
Joyning with angels, with an angel’s voyce
Chaunts forth sweet requiems of eternall joyes.

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