Sov'reign Father, Heav'nly King! Altered from Dr. Hickes 's Reform'd Devotions. JESU, behold the Wise from far. JESU, who to thy Heav'n again. But soon He'll break Death's envious Chain,. NO common Vision this I see. MY Soul extols the mighty Lord,. The Rich have pin'd amidst their Store,. Tho' Hills be in the Ocean lost. O Thou, who when I did complain,. Then, O my Soul, be never more.
YE Nations, who the Globe divide,. HOW swiftly wafted in a Sigh,. Thou leav'st Thy Father's blissful Face. No Profit canst thou gain. Thro' Waves and Clouds and Storms. Let us in Life, in Death,. Speak to my warring Passions, "Peace;". Close by Thy Side still may I keep,. So when on Sion Thou shalt stand,. My Heart from all Pollution clean,.
Why do these Cares my Soul divide. Nigh with my Lips to Thee I draw,.
1771 - 1779
Whate'er I fondly counted Mine,. Take this poor wandring, worthless Heart,. I know Thou wilt accept me Now,. Since Thou hast bid me come to Thee,. O Thou, to whose all searching Sight. Wash out its Stains, refine its Dross,. JESU, thy boundless Love to me. My Saviour, Thou thy Love to me. From all Eternity with Love. GOD's Love to Mankind. Thou shin'st with everlasting Rays;.
They All Began To Make Excuse
GOD's Greatness. Refulgent from afar. First and Last , I feel Thee now,. Far as our Parent's Fall. Essay your choicest Strains,.
Though some of the meal was prepared by cooks from Cedar Grove United Methodist Church, the rest was potluck, and so included some of the freshest and best-tasting greens, tortillas, salsa, and chicken I have ever had. As our backdrop we enjoyed a double rainbow on a massive thundercloud to the east, while the sun slowly made its way down the horizon behind us. Children were running around blowing and catching bubbles.
Others danced to the sound of a live bluegrass band. The taste of delectable food, the sounds of laughter and singing, the aroma of fresh flowers and harvest, the hugs of friends and neighbors, and the sensation of a cooling fall night all came together in what I considered a foretaste of heaven.
Why should I or anyone else think that this meal mattered?
Hymns and sacred poems: Published by John Wesley, and Charles Wesley,
Is the invocation of heaven not overdrawn? After all, the evening has passed, and the physical sensations are no longer effective in me. No matter how much or how finely I eat, I, along with all the other animal and plant bodies, will still die, and so return to the soil out of which we came and upon which we daily feed. But what if that night and the communion it enacted is indeed a glimpse, however imperfect, of what life ultimately is meant to be?
Trinitarian theology asserts that all reality is communion — the giving and receiving of gifts — because it has its source and sustenance in the eternal Triune love described by theologians as perichoresis , a making room within oneself for another to be. This means that nothing in creation exists by itself, in terms of itself, or for itself.
Creatures are marked from beginning to end by the need to receive the gifts of nurture. Inspired by Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we have the opportunity to turn our homes into places of hospitality and ourselves into nurture for others. At its best, eating is a sharing and welcoming movement that makes room for others. The mundane act of eating is thus a daily invitation to move responsibly and gratefully within this given life. It is a summons to commune with the divine Life that is presupposed and made manifest in every bite.
This claim will be difficult to swallow for people who are convinced that food consists of little more than a bundle of nutrients that we simply need to get in the right quantities, variety, and proportion. According to this view, food is primarily a fuel we need to keep our machine-like bodies running at an optimal level.
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career, Till civil-suited Morn appear, Not tricked and frounced, as she wont With the Attic boy to hunt, But kerchieft in a comely cloud, While rocking winds are piping loud, Or ushered with a shower still, When the gust hath blown his fill, Ending on the rustling leaves, With minute drops from off the eaves. And let some strange mysterious dream, Wave at his wings in airy stream, Of lively portraiture displayed, Softly on my eyelids laid. And as I wake, sweet music breathe Above, about, or underneath, Sent by some Spirit to mortals good, Or the unseen Genius of the wood.
There let the pealing organ blow, To the full voiced Quire below, In service high and anthems clear, As may with sweetness, through mine ear, Dissolve me into ecstasies, And bring all Heaven before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age Find out the peaceful hermitage, The hairy gown and mossy cell, Where I may sit and rightly spell, Of every star that Heaven doth shew, And every hearb that sips the dew; Till old experience do attain To something like prophetic strain. These pleasures, Melancholy, give And I with thee will choose to live.
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell. Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures, Whilst the lantskip round it measures: Russet lawns, and fallows gray, Where the nibbling flocks do stray; Mountains on whose barren breast The labouring clouds do often rest; Meadows trim with daisies pied; Shallow brooks, and rivers wide.
Towers and battlements it sees Bosomed high in tufted trees, Where perhaps some Beauty lies, The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes. Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes From betwixt two aged oaks, Where Corydon and Thyrsis met Are at their savoury dinner set Of hearbs and other country messes, Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses; And then in haste her bower she leaves, With Thestylis to bind the sheaves; Or, if the earlier season lead, To the tanned haycock in the mead. Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, By whispering winds soon lulled asleep.
Towered cities please us then, And the busy hum of men, Where throngs of Knights and Barons bold, In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold, With store of Ladies, whose bright eyes Rain influence, and judge the prize Of wit or arms, while both contend Of win her grace whom all commend. There let Hymen oft appear In saffron robe, with taper clear, And pomp, and feast, and revelry, With mask and antique pageantry; Such sights as youthful Poets dream On summer eves by haunted stream.
These delights if thou canst give, Mirth, with thee I mean to live. We are still witnessing a pretty young Milton, here all of the bottom four are from his early twenties, as Number 7 will make quite clear. HOW soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year! Like most English practitioners of the sonnet, Milton also likes to have an epigrammatic couplet at the end, though in Milton this couplet is typically marked by syntactic closure, not by rhyme.
CYRIACK, whose grandsire on the royal bench Of British Themis, with no mean applause, Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws, Which others at their bar so often wrench, To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench In mirth that after no repenting draws; Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause, And what the Swede intend, and what the French.
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; For other things mild Heaven a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wise in show, That with superfluous burden loads the day, And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains. Leaping ahead much later in his career. I hope Cyriack Skinner dropped by for a beer after receiving this note! Or that his hollowed relics should be hid Under a stary-pointing pyramid? Thou, in our wonder and astonishment, Hast built thyself a livelong monument. For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art, Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book, Those Delphic lines with deep impression took; Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving, Dost make us marble, with too much conceiving; And, so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie, That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.
We must begin, of course, with the invocation—and do not fail to notice how much conscious craftsmanship is packed in here. And although after Blake many a reader has, through an education which promotes the Promethean at the expense of other humane concerns, or through sheer laziness, stopped after the raging Satanic debate of the first two books, I think much of the best of Paradise Lost is in Book Four. It opens with the Mount Niphates soliloquy, as the evil one creeps into the world and is so struck with the majesty of human creatures that he almost reconsiders his plan—and then breaks logic and syntax to shreds in order to assert his deformed will against his Creator:.
Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down, The tempter, ere the accuser, of mankind, To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell. Yet not rejoicing in his speed, though bold Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast, Begins his dire attempt; which, nigh the birth Now rowling, boils in his tumultuous breast, And like a devilish engine back recoils Upon himself. Horror and doubt distract His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir The hell within him; for within him Hell He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell One step, no more than from Himself, can fly By change of place.
Now conscience wakes despair That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory Of what he was, what is, and what must be Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue! Ah, wherefore? He deserved no such return From me, whom he created what I was In that bright eminence, and with his good Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise, The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks, How due? Yet all his good proved ill in me, And wrought but malice. Oh, had his powerful destiny ordained Me some inferior Angel, I had stood Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised Ambition.
2. Commenting on Politics
Yet why not? Some other Power As great might have aspired, and me, though mean, Drawn to his part. But other Powers as great Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within Or from without to all temptations armed! Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand? Thou hadst. Be then his love accursed, since, love or hate, To me alike it deals eternal woe. Nay, cursed be thou; since against his thy will Chose freely what it now so justly rues. Me miserable! O, then, at last relent! Is there no place Left for repentence, none for pardon left? None left but by submission; and that word Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts Than to submit, boasting I could subdue The Omnipotent.
Aye me! While they adore me on the throne of Hell, With diadem and sceptre high advanced, The lower still I fall, only supreme In misery: such joy ambition finds! But say I could repent, and could obtain, By act of grace, my former state; how soon Would highth recal high thoughts, how soon unsay What feigned submission swore!
Ease would recant Vows made in pain, as violent and void For never can true reconcilement grow Where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep Which would but lead me to a worse relapse And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear Short intermission, bought with double smart. This knows my Punisher; therefore as far From granting he, as I from begging, peace.
The Bread of Life and the Hidden Manna
All hope excluded thus, behold, instead Of us, outcast, exiled, his new delight, Mankind, created, and for him this World! So farewell hope, and, with hope, farewell fear, Farewell remorse! In this pleasant soil His far more pleasant garden God ordained. Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste; And all amid them stood the Tree of Life, High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit Of vegetable gold; and next to life, Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew fast by— Knowledge of good, bought dear by knowing ill. Thus was this place, A happy rural seat of various view: Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm, Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, Hung amiable—Hesperian fables true, If true, here only—and of delicious taste.
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap Of some irriguous valley spread her store, Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose. The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs, Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, Led on the eternal Spring.
Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, God—like erect, with native honour clad In naked majesty, seemed lords of all, And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine The image of their glorious Maker shon, Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure— Severe, but in true filial freedom placed, Whence true authority in men: though both Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; For contemplation he and valour formed, For softness she and sweet attractive grace; He for God only, she for God in him. Beyond is all abyss— Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. Greatly instructed I shall hence depart, Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain; Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Only add Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith; Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love, By name to come called Charity, the soul Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess A Paradise within thee, happier far. Let us descend now, therefore, from this top Of speculation; for the hour precise Exacts our parting hence; and, see!
We may no longer stay. But now lead on; In me is no delay; with thee to go Is to stay here; without thee here to stay Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me Art all things under Heaven, all places thou, Who for my wilful crime art banished hence.