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The poems and verse-translations of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor

For the first time collected and edited after the author's own text: With introduction. By the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart [in Miscellanies of The Fuller Worthies' Library]
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II. Festival Hymns.
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II. Festival Hymns.

“I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”

[1 Corinthians xiv. 15. G.]


Hymns for Advent, or the weeks immediately before the Birth of our blessed Saviour.


[When Lord, O when shall we]

When Lord, O when shall we
Our dear salvation see?
Arise, arise,
Our fainting eyes
Have long'd all night; and 'twas a long one too.
Man never yet could say


He saw more then one day,
One day of Eden's seven:
The guilty hours there blasted with the breath
Of Sin and Death,
Have ever since worn a nocturnal hue.
But Thou hast given us hopes that we
At length another day shall see,
Wherein each vile neglected place,
Gilt with the aspect of Thy face,
Shall be like that, the porch and gate of Heaven.
How long, dear God, how long!
See how the nations throng:
All humane kinde
Knit and combin'd
Into one body, look for Thee their Head.
Pity our multitude;
Lord we are vile and rude,
Headless and sensless without Thee,
Of all things but the want of Thy blest face;
O haste apace!
And Thy bright Self to this our body wed,
That through the influx of Thy power,
Each part that er'st confusion wore
May put on order, and appear
Spruce as the childhood of the year,
When Thou to it shalt so united be.


The Second Hymn for Advent; or Christ's coming to Jerusalem in Triumph.

Lord come away,
Why dost Thou stay?
Thy rode is ready; and Thy paths, made strait,
With longing expectation, wait
The consecration of Thy beauteous feet.
Ride on triumphantly; behold we lay
Our lusts and proud wills in Thy way.
Hosanna! welcome to our hearts! Lord, here
Thou hast a temple too, and full as dear
As that of Sion, and as full of sin:
Nothing but thieves and robbers dwel therein,
Enter, and chase them forth, and cleanse the floore;
Crucifie them, that they may never more
Profane that holy place
Where Thou hast chose to set Thy face.
And then if our stiff tongues shall be
Mute in the praises of Thy Deity;
The stones out of the Temple-wall
Shall cry aloud and call
Hosanna! and Thy glorious footsteps greet.


Hymns for Christmas-day.


[Mysterious truth! that the self-same should be]

Mysterious truth! that the self-same should be
A Lamb, a Shepherd, and a Lion too!
Yet such was He
Whom first the shepherds knew,
When they themselves became
Sheep to the Shepherd-Lamb.
Shepherd of men and angels, Lamb of God,
Lion of Judah, by these titles keep
The wolf from Thy indangered sheep.
Bring all the world unto Thy fold,
Let Jews and Gentiles hither come
In numbers great that can't be told,
And call Thy lambs that wander, home.
Glory be to God on high,
All glories be to th'glorious Deity.

The Second Hymn; being a Dialogue between Three Shepherds.

Where is this blessed Babe
That hath made
All the world so full of joy
And expectation;


That glorious Boy
That crowns each nation
With a triumphant wreath of blessedness?
Where should He be but in the throng,
And among
His angel-ministers, that sing
And take wing
Just as may echo to His voyce,
And rejoyce
When wing and tongue and all
May so procure their happiness?
But He hath other waiters now;
A poor cow,
An ox and mule stand and behold,
And wonder,
That a stable should enfold
Him that can thunder.


O what a gracious God have we!
How good? how great? Even as our misery.

The Third Hymn: of Christ's Birth in an June.

The blessed virgin travail'd without pain,
And lodgèd in an inne;
A glorious star the sign,
But of a greater guest then ever came that way;


For there He lay
That is the God of night and day,
And over all the pow'rs of heaven doth reign.
It was the time of great Augustus tax,
And then He comes
That pays all sums,
Even the whole price of lost humanity;
And set us free
From the ungodly emperie
Of sin, and Satan, and of death.
O make our hearts, blest God, Thy lodging-place,
And in our brest
Be pleas'd to rest,
For thou lov'st temples better then an inne,
And cause that sin
May not profane the Deity within,
And sully o're the ornaments of grace.

[The Fourth] Hymn for Christmas Day.

Awake, my soul, and come away!
Put on thy best array;
Least if thou longer stay,
Thou lose some minitts of so blest a day.
Goe run,
And bid good morrow to the sun:


Welcome his safe return,
to Capricorn;
And that great morne
Wherein a God was borne,
Whose story none can tell
But He Whose every word's a miracle.
To-day Almightiness grew weak;
The Worde itself was mute, and could not speak.
That Jacob's star Which made the sun
To dazle if he durst look on,
Now mantled ore in Beth'lem's night,
Borrowed a star to shew Him light.
He that begirt each zone,
To Whom both poles are one,
Who grasp't the Zodiack in's hand
And made it move or stand,
Is now by nature man,
By stature but a span;
Eternitie is now grown short;
A King is borne without a court;
The water thirsts; the fountain's dry;
And Life being borne, made apt to dye.


Then let our prayers emulate and vie
With His humilitie:
Since Hee's exil'd from skeyes
That we might rise,—
From low estate of men


Let's sing Him up agen!
Each man winde up's heart
To bear a part
In that angelick quire, and show
His glory high as He was low!
Let's sing t'wards men good wil and charity,
Peace upon Earth, glory to God on high
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

A Hymn upon St John's day.

This day
We sing
The friend of our eternal King:
Who in His bosome lay.
And kept the keys
Of His profound and glorious mysteries:
Which to the world dispensèd by his hand,
Made it stand
Fix'd in amazement to behold that light
Which came
From the throne of the Lamb,
To invite
Our wretched eyes—which nothing else could see
But fire, and sword, hunger and miserie—
To anticipate by their ravish'd sight
The beauty of celestial delight.


Mysterious God, regard me when I pray:
And when this load of clay
Shall fall away,
O let Thy gracious hand conduct me up,
Where on the Lamb's rich viands I may sup:
And in this last Supper I
May with Thy friend in Thy sweet bosome lie
For ever in Eternity.

Upon the Day of the Holy Innocents.

Mournful Iudah shreeks and cries
At the obsequies
Of their babes, that cry
More that they lose the paps, then that they die.
He that came with life to all,
Brings the babes a funeral,
To redeem from slaughter Him
Who did redeem us all from sin.
They like Himself went spotless hence,
A sacrifice to Innocence;
Which now does ride
Trampling upon Herod's pride:
Passing from their fontinels of clay
To heaven, a milky and a bloody way.


All their tears and groans are dead
And they to rest and glory fled.
Lord, Who wert pleased so many babes should fall
Whil'st each sword hop'd that every of the all
Was the desirèd king: make us to be
In innocence like them, in glory, Thee.

Upon the Epiphany, and the Three Wise Men of the East coming to Worship Jesus.

A comet dangling in the aire,
Presag'd the ruine both of Death and Sin;
And told the wise-men of a King,
The King of Glory, and the Sun
Of Righteousness, Who then begun
To draw towards that blesed Hemisphere.
They from the furthest East this new
And unknown light pursue,
Till they appeare
In this blest Infant-King's propitious eye;
And pay their homage to His Royalty.
Persia might then the rising Sun adore,
It was idolatry no more:
Great God they gave to Thee,


Myrrhe, frankincense, and gold;
But Lord, with what shall we
Present our selves before Thy majesty,
Whom Thou redeem'st when we were sold?
W'have nothing but our selves, and scarce that neither,
Vile dirt and clay:
Yet it is soft, and may
Impression take:
Accept it, Lord, and say, this Thou had'st rather;
Stamp it, and on this sordid metal make
Thy holy image, and it shall out-shine
The beauty of the golden myne.

A Meditation of the Four last things Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell For the time of Lent especially.

A Meditation of Death.

Death, the old serpent's son,
Thou had'st a sting once like thy sire,
That carried Hell, and ever-burning fire:
But those black dayes are done;


Thy foolish spite buried thy sting
In the profound and wide
Wound of our Saviour's side.
And now thou art become a tame and harmless thing,
A thing we dare not fear
Since we hear
That our triumphant God to punish thee
For the affront thou didst Him on the tree,
Hath snatcht the keyes of Hell out of thy hand,
And made thee stand
A porter to the gate of Life, thy mortal enemie.
O Thou who art that gate, command that he
May when we die
And thither flie,
Let us into the courts of Heaven through Thee.

The Prayer.

My soul doth pant tow'rds Thee
My God, source of eternal life:
Flesh fights with me;
Oh end the strife
And part us, that in peace I may


My wearied spirit, and take
My flight to Thy eternal spring;
Where for His sake
Who is my King,
I may wash all my tears away
That day.
Thou conqueror of Death,
Glorious triumpher o're the grave,
Whose holy breath
Was spent to save
Lost mankinde; make me to be stil'd,
Thy child,
And take me when I dye
And go unto the dust; my soul
Above the sky
With saints enroll,
That in Thy arms for ever I
May lie.

Of the Day of Judgement.

Great Judge of all, how we vile wretches quake!
Our guilty bones do ake,
Our marrow freezes, when we think


Of the consuming fire
Of Thine ire;
And horrid phials thou shalt make
The wicked drink,
When Thou the wine press of Thy wrath shalt tread
With feet of lead.
Sinfull rebellious clay! what unknown place
Shall hide it from Thy face!
When Earth shall vanish from Thy sight,
The heavens that never err'd,
But observ'd
Thy laws, shal from Thy presence take their flight,
And kil'd with glory, their bright eyes, stark dead
Start from their head:
Lord, how shall we
Thy enemies, endure to see
So bright, so killing majesty?
Mercy dear Saviour: Thy judgement-seat
We dare not, Lord, intreat;
We are condemn'd already, there.
Mercy: vouchsafe one look
On Thy book
Of life; Lord we can read the saving Jesus, here,
And in His name our own salvation see:
Lord set us free:


The book of sin
Is cross'd within,
Our debts are paid by Thee.

Of Heaven.

O beauteous God, uncircumscribèd treasure
Of an eternal pleasure,
Thy throne is seated far
Above the highest star,
Where Thou prepar'st a glorious place
Within the brightness of Thy face
For every spirit
To inherit
That builds his hopes on Thy merit,
And loves Thee with a holy charity.
What ravish't heart, seraphick tongue or eyes,
Clear as the Morning's rise,
Can speak, or think, or see
That bright eternity?
Where the great King's transparent throne,
Is of an intire jaspar stone:
There the eye
And a sky


Of diamonds, rubies, chrysoprase,
And above all, Thy holy face
Makes an eternal clarity,
When Thou thy jewels up dost binde; that day
Remember us, we pray.
That where the beryl lies
And the crystal, 'bove the skyes,
There thou may'st appoint us place
Within the brightness of Thy face;
And our soul
In the scrowl
Of life and blissfulness enrowl,
That we may praise Thee to eternity.

Of Hell.

Horrid darkness, sad and sore,
And an eternal night,
Groanes and shrieks, and thousands more
In the want of glorious light:
Every corner hath a snake
In the accursèd lake:
Seas of fire, beds of snow
Are the best delights below,
A viper from the fire
Is his hire


That knows not moments from eternity.
Glorious God of day and night,
Spring of eternall light,
Allelujahs, hymns and psalms
And coronets of palms
Fill Thy temple evermore.
O mighty God
Let not thy bruising rod
Crush our loins with an eternal pressure;
O let Thy mercy be the measure,
For if Thou keepest wrath in store
We all shall die,
And none be left to glorifie
Thy name, and tell
How Thou hast sav'd our souls from Hell.

On the Conversion of St. Paul.

Full of wrath, his threatning breath
Belching nought, but chains and death:
Saul was arrested in his way
By a voice and a light,
That if a thousand dayes
Should joyn rayes
To beautifie one day,
It would not show so glorious and so bright.


On his amazèd eyes it night did fling,
That day might break within:
And by those beams of faith
Make him of a childe of wrath
Become a vessel full of glory.
Lord, curb us in our dark and sinful way,
We humbly pray,
When we down horrid precipices run
With feet that thirst to be undone,
That this may be our story.

On the Purification of the blessed Virgin.

Pure and spotless was the maid
That to the Temple came,
A pair of turtle-doves she paid,
Although she brought the Lamb.
Pure and spotless though she were,
Her body chaste, and her soul faire,
She to the Temple went
To be purifi'd
And try'd,
That she was spotless and obedient;
O make us follow so blest precedent,
And purifie our souls, for we


Are cloth'd with sin and misery.
From our conception
One imperfection,
And a continued state of sin,
Hath sullied all our faculties within.
We present our souls to Thee
Full of need and misery:
And for redemption a Lamb
The purest, whitest that e're came
A sacrifice to Thee,
Even He that bled upon the Tree.

On Good-Friday.

The Lamb is eaten, and is yet again
Preparing to be slain;
The cup is full and mixt,
And must be drunk:
Wormwood and gall
To this, are draughts to beguile care withall,
Yet the decree is fixt.
Doubled knees, and groans, and cries,
Prayers and sighs, and flowing eyes
Could not intreat
His sad soul, sunk


Under the heavy preasure of our sin:
The pains of Death and Hell
About Him dwell.
His Father's burning wrath did make
His very heart, like melting wax, to sweat
Rivers of blood,
Through the pure strainer of his skin,
His boiling body stood
Bubling all o're
As if the wretched whole were but one dore
To let in pain and grief,
And turn out all relief.
O Thou, Who for our sake
Dids't drink up
This bitter cup:
Remember us, we pray,
In Thy day,
When down
The strugling throats of wicked men
The dregs of Thy just fury shall be thrown.
Oh then
Let Thy unbounded mercy think
On us, for whom
Thou underwent'st this heavy doom,
And give us of the well of life to drink.


On the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin.

A wingèd harbinger from bright heav'n flown
Bespeaks a lodging-room
For the mighty King of Love.
The spotless structure of a virgin womb,
O'reshadow'd with the wings of the blest Dove:
For He was travelling to Earth,
But did desire to lay
By the way
That He might shift his clothes, and be
A perfect Man as well as we.
How good a God have we! Who for our sake,
To save us from the burning lake,
Did change the order of creation:
At first He made
Man like Himself in His own Image; now
In the more blessed reparation
The heavens bow:
Eternity took the measure of a span,
And said
Let us make our self like Man,
And not from man the woman take
But from the woman, Man.
Allelujah: we adore
His name, whose goodness hath no store.


Easter Day.

What glorious light!
How bright a sun after so sad a night
Does now begin to dawn! Bless'd were those eyes
That did behold
This sun when He did first unfold
His glorious beams, and now begin to rise:
It was the holy tender sex
That saw the first ray:
Saint Peter and the other, had the reflex,
The second glimpse o'th'day.
Innocence had the first, and he
That fled, and then did penance, next did see
The glorious Sun of Righteousness
In His new dress
Of triumph, immortality, and bliss.
O dearest God, preserve our souls
In holy innocence;
Or if we do amiss
Make us to rise again to th'life of grace
That we may live with Thee, and see Thy glorious face,
The crown of holy penitence.


On the day of Ascension.

He is risen higher, not set:
Indeed a cloud
Did with His leave make bold to shroud
The Sun of Glory, from Mount Olivet.
At Pentecost He'll shew Himself again,
When every ray shall be a tongue
To speak all comforts, and inspire
Our souls with their celestial fire;
That we the saints among
May sing, and love, and reign.

On the Feast of Pentecost, or Whitsunday.

Tongues of fire from heaven descend,
With a mighty rushing wind
To blow it up, and make
A living fire
Of heavenly charity, and pure desire,
Where they their residence should take:
On the Apostles sacred heads they sit,
Who now like beacons do proclaim and tell
Th'invasion of the host of Hell;
And give men warning to defend
Themselves from the inragèd brunt of it.


Lord, let the flames of holy charity,
And all her gifts and graces slide
Into our hearts, and there abide;
That thus refinèd, we may soar above
With it unto the element of love,
Even unto Thee, dear Spirit,
And there eternal peace and rest inherit.

Penitentiall Hymns.


[Lord, I have sinn'd, and the black number swells]

Lord, I have sinn'd, and the black number swells
To such a dismal sum,
That should my stony heart and eyes,
And this whole sinful trunk a flood become,
And run to tears, their drops could not suffice
To count my score,
Much less to pay:
But Thou, my God, hast blood in store,
And art the patron of the poore.
Yet since the balsam of Thy blood,
Although it can, will do no good,
Unless the wounds be cleans'd with tears before;
Thou in Whose sweet but pensive face


Laughter could never steal a place,
Teach but my heart and eyes
To melt away,
And then one drop of balsam will suffice.


[Great God, and just! how canst Thou see]

Great God, and just! how canst Thou see,
Dear God, our miserie,
And not in mercy set us free?
Poor miserable man! how wert thou born,
Week as the dewy jewels of the morn,
Rapt up in tender dust,
Guarded with sins and lust,
Who like Court-flatterers waite
To serve themselves in thy unhappy fate.
Wealth is a snare, and poverty brings in
Inlets of theft, paving the way for sin:
Each perfum'd vanity doth gently breath
Sin in thy Soul, and whispers it to Death.
Our faults like ulcerated sores do go
O're the sound flesh, and do corrupt that too:
Lord, we are sick, spotted with sin:
Thick as a crusty leaper's skin;
Like Naaman, bid us wash, yet let it be


In streams of blood that flow from Thee:
Then will we sing.
Touch'd by the heavenly Dove's bright wing,
Hallelujahs, psalms and praise
To God the Lord of night and dayes;
Ever good, and ever just,
Ever high, Who ever must
Thus be sung; is still the same;
Eternal praises crown His name.

A prayer for Charity.

Full of mercy, full of love,
Look upon us from above;
Thou who taught'st the blinde man's night
To entertain a double light.
Thine and the dayes—and that Thine too—
The lame away his crutches threw,
The parchèd crust of Leprosie
Return'd unto its infancy:
The dumb amazèd was to hear
His own unchain'd tongue strike his ear;
Thy powerful mercy did even chase
The devil from his usurp'd place,


Where Thou Thy self shouldst dwell, not he,
O let Thy love our pattern be;
Let Thy mercy teach one brother
To forgive and love another,
That copying Thy mercy here,
Thy goodness may hereafter reare
Our souls unto Thy glory, when
Our dust shall cease to be with men.