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A Collection of Emblemes

Ancient and Moderne: Quickened VVith Metricall Illvstrations, both Morall and Divine: And disposed into Lotteries, That Instruction, and Good Counsell, may bee furthered by an Honest and Pleasant Recreation. By George Wither

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Illvstr. XXX.

[Whether the Salamander be a Beast]

Afflictions Fire consumeth Sinne;
But, Vertue taketh Life therein.

Whether the Salamander be a Beast,
Or Precious-Stone, which overcomes the Flame,
It skills not; Since, by either is exprest
The Meaning which we purpose by the same:
Both brooke the Fire unhurt; And (more then so)
The fiercer and the longer Heats there are,
The livelyer in the same the Beast will grow;
And, much the brighter, will the Stone appeare.
This Crowned-Salamander in the Fire,
May, therefore, not unfitly, signifie
Those, who in Fiery Charriots, doe aspire
Elijah-like, to Immortality:
Or, those Heroicke spirits, who unharm'd
Have through the Fires of Troubles, and Affliction,
(With Vertue, and with Innocencie arm'd)
Walkt onward, in the Path-way, of Perfection.
The Fiery-Tryall, which like Wood and Hay,
Consumes the Workes of ev'ry Wicked-one;
(And maketh all their Hopes to fume away)
Doth purifie what Faithfull-men have done.
They triumph in the Flames, and shall obtaine
The glorious Crowne of Endlesse-Happinesse,
When all that show of Blisse appeareth vaine,
Which Worldly men have seemed to possesse.
For, though some Sinnes and Follies, gilded are,
And shine like purest Gold, and Pretious-Stones;
This Test, will finde of what Allay they were,
And, make them knowne but Counterfeited Ones:
For, in this Fornace, all such Wormes expire;
And, none but Vertue liveth in this Fire.