The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

Taken out of a Greek Ode, written by
Mr. Masters of New College in Oxford
from Works (1668; editor's copy)

         ENough, my Muse, of Earthly things,
         And inspirations but of wind,
         Take up thy Lute, and to it bind
         Loud and everlasting strings;
         And on'em play, and to'em sing,
         The happy mournful stories,
         The Lamentable glories,
         Of the great Crucified King.
Mountainous heap of wonders! which do'st rise
   Till Earth thou joynest with the Skies!  10
Too large at bottom, and at top too high,
   To be half seen by mortal eye.
   How shall I grasp this boundless thing?
   What shall I play? what shall I sing?
I'll sing the Mighty riddle of mysterious love,
Which neither wretched men below, nor blessed Spirits above
   With all their Comments can explain;
How all the whole Worlds Life to die did not disdain.
I'll sing the Searchless depths of the Compassion Divine,
         The depths unfathom'd yet  20
   By reasons Plummet, and the line of Wit,
   Too light the Plummet, and too short the line,
   How the Eternal Father did bestow
His own Eternal Son as ransom for his Foe,
         I'll sing aloud, that all the World may hear,
         The Triumph of the buried Conquerer.
         How Hell was by its Pris'ner Captive led,
         And the great slayer Death slain by the Dead.
   Me thinks I hear of murthered men the voice,
   Mixt with the Murderers confused noise,  30
   Sound from the top of Calvarie;
   My greedy eyes fly up the Hill, and see
   Who 'tis hangs there the midmost of the three;
         Oh how unlike the others he!
Look how he bends his gentle head with blessings from the Tree!
   His gracious Hands ne'r stretcht but to do good,
         Are nail'd to the infamous wood:
         And sinful Man do's fondly bind
The Arms, which he extends t'embrace all humane kind.
Unhappy Man, canst thou stand by, and see  40
   All this as patient, as he?
   Since he thy Sins do's bear,
   Make thou his sufferings thine own,
   And weep, and sigh, and groan,
   And beat thy Breast, and tear,
   Thy Garments, and thy Hair,
   And let thy grief, and let thy love  [1668: gief
   Through all thy bleeding bowels move.
Do'st thou not see thy Prince in purple clad all o're,
   Not purple brought from the Sidonian shore,  50
   But made at home with richer gore?
Dost thou not see the Roses, which adorn
   The thorny Garland, by him worn?
   Dost thou not see the livid traces
   Of the sharp scourges rude embraces?
   If yet thou feelest not the smart
   Of Thorns and Scourges in thy heart,
   If that be yet not crucifi'd,
Look on his Hands, look on his Feet, look on his Side.
Open, Oh! open wide the Fountains of thine eyes,  60
         And let 'em call
   Their stock of moisture forth, where e're it lies,
   For this will ask it all.
   'Twould all (alas) too little be,
   Though thy salt tears came from a Sea:
   Canst thou deny him this, when he
Has open'd all his vital Springs for thee?
Take heed; for by his sides misterious flood
         May well be understood,
That he will still require some waters to his blood.  70

This text normalized in the same way as Cowley's "Hymn to Light."
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