Sir William Alexander

Doomes-Day: The Seventh Houre

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The Argument

To vice abandon'd, those who basely liv'd,
And sold their soules to be the slaves of lust;
Blasphemers, drunkards, gluttons, all who striv'd
To pamper flesh, and did to frailty trust,
False Iudges, witnesses, who fraud contriv'd,
Or were in that which they profess'd, unjust:
All learned men who have their gifts abus'd,
But chiefly Church-men are at last accus'd.
Loe, some whom fortune like her selfe made blinde,
Who sacred greatnesse did most grosly staine,
Involv'd in vices, and of such a kinde,
That them to taxe, even Gentiles did attaine,
Though not thought sin, nor by no law declin'd,
Whose facts (as filthy) Nature did disdaine:
Who (following sense) from reason did rebell,
Long loath'd on th'earth still tortur'd in the hell.

Assyria's King (no King before depriv'd)
(Though others barbarous) first who beastly prov'd,
Who (faint for lust) effeminately liv'd,
Till by despaire to seeme couragious mov'd,
He, (when he knew his ruine was contriv'd)
Did with himselfe burne all things which he lov'd:
This act was bad, yet praised for his best,
O who can thinke how hatefull were the rest!
Romes ugly Lord (power hatefull for his sake)
Whose vile desires could never be asswag'd,
Who (Natures horrour) man to wife did take,
All whole to lust and gluttony engag'd,
Who did profusely feasts prodigious make,
A death disastrous (as his due) presag'd:
He it (though ill) all meanes prepar'd to grace,
Yet (alwaies foule) dy'd in a filthy place.
There stand worlds great ones, who vaine joy enjoy'd,
While boundlesse lust still strange desires did breed,
Though gelded keepers jealously convoy'd
A female troupe, for fancy, not for need,
Vast appetite, weake power, much wish'd, soone cloy'd,
A longing first, straight loathing did succeed:
That sinne so sweet, which Nature most desires,
Doth here breed temporall, hence eternall fires.
The infant world great freedome did allow,
To those delights which people did the ground,
At least strict lawes did punish none as now,
For any fault that did not wedlocke wound,
And chastnesse then had beene a foolish vow,
When Parents praise a populous offspring crown'd.
Men then were forc'd with all degrees to wed,
Till some discents more lawfull limits bred.

That which God first in Eden did ordaine,
And with a wonder Christ confirmed too,
By which both sexes fortified remaine,
Two doubled ones, and a contracted two,
That sacred league who ever vow in vaine,
Although they thinke all secret what they doe:
It is a sinne which God so highly hates,
He markes it still with ruines of estates.
Amongst the Iewes where God most clearely wrought,
All women deem'd their husbands to deceive,
Straight by the Priest to publicke tryall brought,
If guilty dyed, not guilty, did conceive;
Love and faith wrong'd, this crime so foule was thought,
That when for sinne God would his people leave,
The Prophets all adultery did name,
(Iust bands dissolv'd) which did divorce with shame.
What raving madnesse doth enflame the minde
With curiousnesse, anothers course to know?
When one the like by lawfull meanes may finde,
Why should he seeke to steale what others owe?
Which is (when reach'd) not such as was design'd
By fond conceits imaginary show:
What (had with care) feare keeps, shame checks, woe ends,
Man wrong'd, God griev'd, damnation last attends.
Though by like law both sexes bounded be,
Yet to the stronger, lesse restraint was showne,
Who (others wives not touch'd) did else seeme free,
Where for each scape, a woman was o'rethrowne;
And forward fame (too partiall) as we see,
More damnes them, if suspect, then men when knowne:
He, this way stray'd, to some more gallant seemes,
Where her (once stayn'd) the world no more esteemes.

From wives so farre their fellowes to preferre,
The generall judgement diverse reasons move;
If from their honour any way they erre,
Some may them use, though never truely love;
As him her fault, the husbands shames not her,
Whose treacherous part may more pernitious prove
He but affords, and she recives disgrace,
He but augments, she falsifies the race.
A womans worth, which Nature deckes, not Art,
Opinion values, favour doth procure,
Whose glory is the conquest of a heart,
Which vertue doth, not vanity allure,
Where beauty, wit, and each respected part,
Are sham'd by her, but honour not a whore:
When false, or faint, men are disgrac'd two wayes,
A woman onely when from fame she strayes.
They who (all burning with voluptous fires)
Did dandle lust as a delightfull guest,
And (making beauty bawd to base desires)
Did buy their colour so to sell the rest,
Loe, painted, false, or stolne, face, minde, attires,
All is beli'd, and badnesse is their best;
Deare proves the pleasure, bitter is the gaine,
Which black disgrace upbraides with endlesse paine.
There, beauties goddesse with these dainty Greekes,
Who did endeere the treasure of a face,
And (fond of that which Idle fancy seekes)
Would kisse like doves, like Ivie did embrace,
Red lippes, white hands, black eyes, curl'd haires, smooth cheekes,
Which flattering smiles, and flaming lookes did grace;
That once forc'd favour, but now hatred moves:
Then for Adonis greater griefe she proves.

With daughters two Ioves Leda weepes in vaine,
(One by base sport transported for a space,)
Who kill'd her husband, by her sonne was slaine:
Next, that great beauty which the Greekes would grace,
But by more lustre doe betray a staine,
Troys fatall plague, the fable of each place,
Much courted once, she now detasted stands,
(As kill'd for her) accus'd by murmuring bands.
Lascivious Lais much in Corinth knowne,
Who sold deare pleasure, pretious but by price;
That dame of goods ill gain'd for franknesse showne,
Whom Rome made goddesse that way never nice,
Brave chiefes for whores who thousands have o'rethrowne,
Though striking hearts with horrour of that vice;
Lust breeds a plague of late which all doe loath,
As which still shame, death sometime, oft yeelds both.
That Pompous Queene admir'd so much for state,
When daunting them whose fame did hostes appall,
(Worlds Conquerours conquer'd) who (then both more great)
Made Cesar flie, and Antony to fall,
Rare courage! rais'd with a declining fate,
Who di'd triumphing, when design'd a thrall;
But for these faults which numbers did confound,
Then Aspickes gave, shee feeles a deeper wound.
Romes wanton dame doth thrust amid'st this throng,
(Soe sparkling lust empoison'd had her heart)
Who from the Stewes when exercised long,
Made weary oft, nor satisfi'd did part;
Yet match'd with Silius (made the vulgar song)
She forc'd grosse Claudius drowsily to start;
Who though that hee had cause to take her life,
Yet (strangely stupid) asked for his wife.

You who below have forfeited your fame,
And from their God so many doe divorce,
Who scarce can blush, though but a badge of shame,
Loe, what is all that you so much enforce!
A little flash, an extasie, a dreame,
Which loath'd when done, doth quickly leave remorse:
What fooles are these who for a fact so foule,
Lose fame, and goods, the body and the soule?
To force them further who were else their owne,
(Things faire when neare, fall foule when once they touch)
More love nor reason, but no favour showne,
Some loos'd just int'rest urging it too much;
Lots daughters this, and Tamars rape hath showne,
Iocasta, Myrrha, Canace, and such;
Incestuous matches make a monstrous brood,
Loath'd are they now who tainted thus their blood.
O fatall ill, which man-kinde may bemone!
Must things unlawfull most affected be?
All Edens fruits were freely given save one,
Yet Evah long'd for the forbidden tree,
Man o're all Creatures plac'd (as in a Throne)
Hath thrall'd himselfe, and in a base degree;
Vaine appetites, and an enormous lust,
Have brought him back more low then to the dust.
The Stygian Tyrant nothing can asswage,
When ravishers upbraid th'intended wrong;
There Tereus, Nessus, all shall have their wage;
These guests ingrate, who for the bride did throng:
Then Shechem, Amnon, Tarquin, by lusts rage,
Who were to force infortunately strong;
Blood quenching lust, death venging honours wound,
Euen in this world wrath did all those confound.

Such faults though great, match'd with more great, seeme lesse,
Those whom to pleasure weaknesse did betray,
They but the Law, not Nature did transgresse,
The sexe observ'd, in sort did onely stray:
Where some more vile then any can expresse,
Both God and Nature in such horrour have;
That if their sinne were not in Scripture seene,
I should not thinke that it had ever beene.
That Towne which was consum'd with showers of fire,
Where men first men, then Angels striv'd to staine,
O fearfull type of memorable ire!
Whose bounds still ugly like their sinne remaine,
Of which the worlds great Iudge shall now enquire,
And for the same appoint some speciall paine:
That fault too foule not fit to be but nam'd,
Let good men thinke that it cannot be dream'd.
Woe now to them who from all bounds did swerve,
And (still intemp'rate) liv'd like abject beasts,
As wholly given their appetites to serve,
Whose pleasure did depend upon their tasts,
And whil'st the poore (for famine faint) did sterve,
With food superfluous rioted in feasts:
With Dives now tormented they remaine,
And envy beggars whom they did disdaine.
That proud Chaldean banquetting in state,
As bragging of Gods spoils, puff'd up in heart,
Who drunke in minde, and surfeiting of meat,
To serve his use Church-vessels did convert;
Till this was seene his courage to abate,
Lo, thou art weigh'd, found light, thy kingdomes part:
Who with his hand whil'st writing thus, did wound,
Must with his whole in judgement quite confound.

He with brave troups who bragg'd Bethulian walls,
Whose breast for bloud, or wine, still raging boil'd,
Drinke forcing his, his sword a numbers falls,
Who men of lives, of honour women spoil'd;
He, then when threatning all the world as thralls,
Whil'st most secure, eternally was foil'd;
By sleep, by drink, by death, thrice senselesse made,
No wonder though a woman stole his head.
This filthy vice enfeebling Natures force,
Though other faults (foule in an high degree)
Make men like beasts, it onely makes them worse,
Since to be drunk beasts not so base can be;
From reason onely madnesse doth divorce
It both from sense, and reason, as we see:
A murtherer but procures the bodies fall,
Where drunkennesse with it, soules, fames, and all.
When sinnes so much were cropt, this budded first,
And who stood safe on Seas, by Land made sinke,
The father scorn'd, the sonne became accurst,
Deaths frighted remnant did for horror shrinke;
He who was never mov'd with Sodomes worst,
When scap't from flames was all enflam'd with drinke,
And of those two so singular for grace,
Th'one lost a part, the other all his race.
That in this sort which made such men to fall,
Of piety though speciall patterns nam'd,
No doubt it cannot but confound them all,
Who in this kinde have such contentment dream'd,
That (to the same vow'd voluntary thrall)
They brag when fresh, where they should be asham'd;
Such onely when growne worst, least please the devill,
Since then as dead, not able to do evill.

Though to be drunke one did no sinne commit,
Yet it is grosse, and ugly every way,
As that which spoils the grace, the strength, the wit,
The feet made stumble, and the tongue to stray;
And where a vertue is, quite smothering it,
Each weaknesse that one hath doth straight betray;
What vice like this, which all ills else includes,
Since sinfull, shamefull, hurting health and goods?
That race of Satan like himselfe in lyes,
Must then tell truth to him who all things knows,
Of circling fraud who soone the centre tryes,
And doth perceive all their deceiving shows,
Whose promises (like Spiders webs for flyes)
A subtle snare the better sort o're-throws.
Who vainly vaunt amid'st their flying joyes,
That men with oaths, and babes are trap'd with toyes.
O now they spie how ill they play'd their parts,
When they revive abandoning the dust!
Plaine, and transparant are their hollow hearts,
Which did delude the world, betraying trust;
Though subtle thought, then simple prove these Arts,
Which onely serve to circumvent the just:
Such (ventring soules) base trifles bent to gaine,
Were first to shame, and last expos'd to paine.
As many meane men muster in this band,
By avarice made false, or forc'd by want,
There others are who kingdomes did command,
And save themselves striv'd every thing to daunt;
To rise ambitious, jealous how to stand,
By policy who thousands did supplant,
And all the world imbrac'd within their minde,
Till at the last by some few foots confin'd.

Kings joyn'd with Subjects to be judg'd come in;
No Deputies, in person all compeere;
No greatnesse guilds their guilt, no guards guard sinne;
No majestie save one breeds reverence here;
For treacherous treaties they in vaine begin,
By blam'd Ambassadours themselves to cleare:
Power serves not now to count'nance crimes with might,
Nor policy to cloke their course with slight.
That gorgeous King who kill'd Cassanders sonne,
By him prevented onely by one day,
With mutuall feasts, and curtesies begun,
Both faining love, when purpos'd to betray:
These finde withall who have such courses runne,
That generous plainnesse proves the better way;
No men more wretched then some greatest Kings,
Both for omitting, and committing things.
They at this time not onely are accus'd,
For all which they directly did affect,
But even for others cannot be excus'd,
Whom they did raise, approve, or not correct;
Save greater torment when not rightly us'd,
Now soveraigne power doth purchase no respect:
“Of high imployments great accounts are crav'd,
“And they must render most, who most receiv'd.
Faith (if once broke) doth so displease each minde,
That it not kept (even to an Ethnicke King)
The last in Iuda's Throne (his Crowne resign'd)
All charg'd with chaines to bondage base did bring;
Who saw his sonnes first kill'd, then was made blinde,
What more mishap a heart with griefe could sting?
He wretched was, not that his eyes were reft,
But to see ill that they too long were left.

Pale stand they now, who took Gods name in vaine,
And have their souls for trifling ends forsworne;
Who hearts still straight, as simple did disdaine,
Whose wit could glose on vice, and vertue scorne,
Who thun'dring oaths the very ayre did staine;
O how they curse the houre that they were borne!
Such oft the devill have call'd, and God refus'd,
With imprecations, execrations us'd.
Of all these false ones which this time doth try,
With greatest wrath the Lord doth them pursue,
Who (forcing faith) were bold to sell a lye,
Affirming freely what they never knew:
With these vile hirelings which made Nabal dye,
A number more damn'd for this fault I view,
Which witnesses to try, no witnesse needs,
Their guilty conscience large confession breeds.
Troups which for spite durst urge a false complaint,
That Tyrants might the Saints of God commit,
With palenesse now their faces feare doth paint,
To witnesse wrong who did extend their wit:
Whilst they behold those whom they striv'd to taint,
With Angels rank'd (in judging them) to sit:
The great accuser doth against them plead,
Whom once he pleas'd, that he them thence may leade.
Loe, as their bodies, naked are their minds,
(That maske remov'd which did them long disguise)
Whose vows, and oaths, but breath, went with the winds,
Not to secure, given onely to entice,
These nets of fraud, weav'd in so many kinds,
Whence poys'nous snakes did (hid with flowers) surprise,
All at an instant now is brought to light,
Which deep dissemblers had wrapt up in night.

The chiefe of such whom here abhorr'd I view,
Is he whose words as oracles were thought;
Who by two councells did his king pursue,
Whose shame the one, whose life the other sought,
Not wise, though wittie, false whil'st speaking true,
When all his plots were to confusion brought:
Who witnesse, partie, judge and hangman too,
Damn'd by himselfe, left now the lesse to doe.
That great Arch-patron of such cunning parts,
Is back'd by many drawne from Southerne climes,
Who first to tongues driv'd honestie from hearts,
And bent to prosper car'd not by what crimes,
The Florentine made famous by these Arts,
Hath tainted numbers even of moderne times:
Till subtilty is to such credit rais'd,
That falshood (when call'd policy) is prais'd.
Ah! this of zeale the sacred ardour cools,
And doth of Atheists great abundance make,
Philosophers, Physitians, lights of Schools,
First causes hunting, do the second take,
By learning ignorant, by wit made fools,
O how their knowledge makes them now to quake!
Who wrong'd Gods glory, and provok'd his wrath,
By forcing reason, and neglecting faith.
Who (natures slaves no grounds save hers would touch)
Still studying th'earth, not what did heaven concerne,
They wish they had knowne more, else not so much,
Had had no light, else judgement to discerne,
Diagoras, Democritus, and such
Voluptuous Epicures, and Stoicks sterne:
This narrow search which all their soules must sift,
No subtle wit by Sophistry can shift.

Though to all those whom sinne hath made to sinke,
(If pale repentance not by teares do purge)
This Court yeelds feares, even more then men can thinke,
Of all his laws when God a count doth urge,
Yet chiefly they whose doomes made others shrinke,
If once accus'd, they cannot scape a scourge;
Of such below who should his place supplie,
The Lord (as jealous) all the wayes doth try.
They who were judges judgement must attend,
Whose hearts with conscience have no longer truce,
Whom bribes, hate, love, or other partiall end,
Did buy, wrest, bow, or any way seduce;
No Law, nor practick can them now defend;
There is no hope this processe to reduce:
His sentences whose words are all of weight,
(Whence scarce pronounc'd) are executed straight.
He who to death did damne the Lord of life,
Vnhappy man how hatefull in his part?
When griev'd in minde, and warned by his wife,
He wash'd his hands, but would not purge his heart;
Yet for lesse paine with some he stands at strife,
Who give wrong doomes, yet not so much as smart:
But men to please since he the Lord contemn'd,
He must be judg'd by him whom he condemn'd.
Ones monstrous crimes with torments how to match,
The devils do all concurre for vengeance great,
Who (when at sacred food) did mischiefe hatch,
A traitor, theefe, apostate, and ingrate,
Who made (when he his Lord to trap did watch)
A kisse (though loves chiefe signe) the badge of hate;
He sought his wreake who came the world to save,
What greater crime could all hells hosts conceive?

They who of late did at poore suiters grudge,
Yet for more rich men reasons could contrive,
(Though there were hope that gifts could calme this judge)
They naked are, and nothing have to give,
O what strange furies in their bosomes lodge!
Who wish to dye, and yet of force must live:
These who from other plaints had barr'd their eares,
Smoke sighs in vaine, and raine downe flouds of teares.
Ye Iudges, ye, who with a little breath,
Can ruine fortunes, and disgrace inflict,
Yea, sit, securely (whil'st denouncing death)
In lives (though pretious) as but toyes, not strict;
Ye must be judged, and in a time of wrath,
When Christ himselfe to justice doth addict:
To rigour fierce then give not rashly place,
For if you scape, it onely is by grace.
All those whom power doth arme, and glory decke,
Not onely are for their owne faults disprov'd,
But for all theirs whom they were bound to checke,
Yet where they ow'd just hate, not loath'd, but lov'd:
His sonnes both kill'd, old Eli broke his necke,
Whom he (though tax'd) not mended, nor remov'd.
“Who punish may, and yet comport with sinne,
“They lose themselves where they should others winne.
Some who would mocke the world, appearing pure,
So with fraile colours frailty to disguise,
Whil'st privately some person they procure
To execute the ill that they devise,
Though (shadow'd thus) they dreame themselves secure,
Whil'st gaine to them, to others hate doth rise:
Who indirectly thus a fault commit,
Are found more guilty by dissembling it.

That Edomite in hels black depths involv'd,
Whil'st he revenge, else guerdon did attend,
Who even in Church, the Priests o're-throw resolv'd,
And at devotion mischiefe did intend:
(With heaven and earth at once all bands dissolv'd)
Vile Doeg, dogge, both false to God, and friend:
Though true his words, the sense was wrong annex'd,
And now he finds what glose betrai'd the Text.
Those base informers who (by envy led)
Three Hebrews ruine did with fraud conspire,
Then was the fornace when with flames made red,
More fierce they finde the rage of sparkling ire,
And (neare that forme by which their eyes were fed)
They enter must, not be consum'd with fire:
Yet differ thus, these scap't, not touch'd againe,
Where they must alwayes burne with endlesse paine.
These leacherous Iudges, infamie of age,
Who (for Susanna in an ambush plac'd)
Did runne (enflam'd with a voluptuous rage)
And living snows (all freez'd with feare) embrac'd,
Which treason did 'twixt two great straits engage,
To sinne in secret, or to dye disgrac'd;
They curse their course which so impetuous prov'd,
Twixt passions toss'd whil'st hating whom they lov'd.
That froth of envy, bubble of base pride,
Who for ones cause a Nation would o're-throw,
His whole in hazard, or he would abide
The triviall want of an externall show;
Yet had what he for others did provide,
A rare example of vaine height brought low;
Who of the man whom he did most disdaine,
The bridle led, most abject of the traine.

When sometime match'd by emulating strife,
Black calumnie (swolne hate, and envies childe)
Damnes him with others (false records are rife)
By whom Apelles was from men exil'd,
Who (animating colours) colour'd life,
Till (by their eyes) men joy'd to be beguil'd:
Whil'st drawn by him an admirable peece,
It (as a Treasure) was engross'd in Greece.
No vice below fraughts Pluto with more spoils
Than Avarice, which nothing can controule;
(The heart with cares, the body tyr'd with toils)
Whil'st it (a tyrant) doth oppresse the soule,
And all the buds of rising vertue foils,
Too grosly base, and miserably foule,
Then it can never scape a generall hate,
Which one to found would ruine every state.
Not onely wretches all the world would wrong,
But even themselves defraud of what is due;
From all their treasures travell'd for so long,
Which they but owe, not use, not owe, but view,
Them fortune oft, death still to part is strong,
Who of all sinners have most cause to rue:
They lose themselves that doubtfull heires may gaine
The pleasures want of sinne, have but the paine.
By misery to finde his folly mov'd,
When Fortunes dreames were vanish'd all away,
That Lydian King who Solon's speech approv'd,
Did clearly tell how greatnesse did betray,
And highly loath'd what he too much had lov'd;
Thoughts which for treasures, no, for trifles stray:
What even when pleasant he did then disdaine,
O how he hates it now when cause of paine!

That Roman who but such did rich esteeme,
As furnish might an hoast, yet want not feare,
When his Sonnes head (whose hopes so great did seeme)
With horrour crown'd a bragging Parthians speare,
Then all his wealth could not himselfe redeeme,
Kill'd oft ere dead, Barbarians scoffes to beare;
Thus he who long below so rich did dwell,
Rob'd fortune, fame, and life, went poore to hell.
She whose base mind they whom it pleas'd did scorne,
(Vile avarice so poison'd had her heart)
Whilst charg'd with all which foes left armes had borne,
Did nothing get, yet they too much impart,
The words were kept, but not the sence was sworne,
The which, (though their deceit) was her desart;
But though that monstrous weight bruis'd all her bones,
A greater now doth crush her all at once.
Of him whose touch made gold, when rich at will,
That ancient tale each misers state hath showne,
Who steale from others, rob themselves, poore still,
As borne to envy wealth, though even their owne;
Gold did his Chests, but not his stomack fill,
Starv'd by abundance, by his wish o'rethrowne;
He but in eares, such always asses be,
Since still in toile from burdens never free.
Then avarice that painefull guide to paine,
With greater Troupes no sinne triumphes in hell,
What fettered captives charg'd with guilty gaine;
Prey of their prey, their wreake by winning tell?
That glue of Soules must them from heaven restraine,
Who ti'd to it, on th'earth would always dwell:
Such jealous fooles, they not enjoy, though match,
But build a nest where others are to hatch.

Of all those hearts which this curst hag doth stitch,
Though by the world they are detasted most,
Who are like him whom stealing did bewitch,
With gold, and garments, tainting Iosuas host,
Yet many are by farre worse meanes made rich,
Who more doe sinne, yet of their sinne dare boast;
Theeves oft (like him with Christ) get life by death,
Where such are onely kept for endlesse wrath.
They by their place who should all faults redresse,
And guard the weake against encroaching wrong,
If of their greatnesse they the ground transgresse,
(As for inflicting harme made only strong,)
Though they a space by power the poore oppresse,
O! they shall find with griefe ere it be long,
How much it had imported to their state,
That they had striv'd to be more good then great.
Thou who rais'd high, should'st helpe the humble sort,
Yet, whil'st thy pride all law, and reason foiles,
The entrailes, yea, their marrow dost extort,
Bath'd by their sweat, annointed with their toiles,
Dost urge more then they owe, or can support,
Deare is thy state when purchas'd by such spoiles;
Though theft be much detasted at this time,
Oppression then shall prove the greater Crime.
He who inferiours thus to ruine brings,
Who neither may resist nor dare complaine,
Though lawes approve, and custome cloke such things,
His course at last doth all unmask'd remaine;
Who late were Lords, and kept a Court like kings,
Of them whome once they rul'd no vantage gaine;
No bragges, nor bribes, no care nor friendship aides,
The judge in wrath with frownes their faults upbraides.

Though lofty Tyrants first much mischiefe breed,
Their ravenous course whil'st nothing can appease,
Yet others are who on their fall doe feed,
Whom so to humble it the lord doth please,
Whose summes for interest principalls exceed,
A cosening favour, ruining with ease;
But Christ at last a Iubilee doth sound,
His free from bands, who did them bind, are bound.
Then Robbers, Theeves, Oppressours, usurers there,
One sort at least the Lord farre more doth hate,
His temple spoiling, who himselfe not spare,
Take what zeale gave, the fat of offerings eate,
What was allow'd the Levites for their share,
Prophanely us'd to found a private state:
They must thinke God lesse then the Devill to be,
Who thousands kill'd to keepe his Altars free.
What leaden weight the soules of them doth lode,
(Like those in waters, bubbles but of breath,)
With words outragious, who contest with God,
Though oft even here made spectacles of wrath,
By ruines axe, not by corrections rod,
But are for ever tortur'd after death:
What they must suffer cannot be devis'd,
When judg'd by him whom they so long despis'd.
He thundring vaunts, who did his pride proclaime,
And bright with brasse, like Rhodes great statue shin'd,
With Launce more grosse then any Weavers beame,
The masse most monstrous of the Gyants kinde,
Whil'st braving God, by seeking Israels shame,
He first amaz'd, then fill'd with feare each minde:
An Oxe in strength, and death, lesse in the last,
A small stone fell'd him which a boy did cast.

That moving mount of earth with others dread,
Who (trusting their owne strength) did God despise;
That King of Bashan (from his iron bed)
Who to oppugne Gods people did arise;
Some who like Wolves, with flesh of men were fed,
As he whose eye Vlysses did surprise:
Though huge, they quake, whil'st feare their pride restraines,
And with their strength, proportion'd are their paines.
With those who rail'd on God with horrour nam'd,
Stands Rabsache, whose breath the ayre defil'd,
And one who answer'd was when he exclaim'd,
Tell of the Carpenter what doth the childe,
That he for him a fatall coffin fram'd,
Whom death soone seizing from the world exil'd:
Such did pursue, where nothing could be wonne,
Like foolish dogges that barke against the Sunne.
There Christ must make that barbarous King afraid,
From whose fierce rage for him, babes were not free,
That with just scorne, the great Augustus said,
It better was his Sow then sonne to be:
One durst Gods praise usurpe, till quite dismaid,
His flattering troupes a judgement rare did see,
Whil'st him who swolne with pride, so much presum'd,
A loathsome death by meanes most vile consum'd.
Great is the wrath which doth all them pursue,
That from the Sabbath did prophanely stray,
Gave man too much, to God not what was due,
Where all was ow'd, who nothing would repay;
Whose course ingrate, oft guerdon'd thus we view,
Their yeares are curs'd, who scorn'd to keep one day:
Nor doth his rage lesse flames against them raise,
Who seeke by it their sport, and not his praise.

Of those the griefe no soule save theirs conceives,
Who Parents scorne, like nothing but their States;
By Chams eternall curse, who not perceives
How much the Lord rebellious children hates?
Since all his race (hereditary slaves)
Are sold like beasts, and at more easie rates:
A monstrous merchandise, unnaturall gaine,
But thirst of gold, what do'st thou not constraine?
Those soules which once enlightned were with grace,
Yet in heavens way abandon'd had their guide,
This present world (like Demas) to embrace,
Yea, worse, did fiercely fall, not weakely slide,
What fooles were they who did give over their race,
For falsenesse, faintnesse, or preposterous pride?
Since like their Lord, they needs would fall from light,
With him darke dungeons they deserve of right.
The man most mark'd amidst this damned traine,
Whose soule defection, numbers did annoy,
Is he from Schooles who Christians did restraine,
By ignorance the truth bent to destroy;
With him (well match'd) his master doth remaine,
Who fondly did too deepe a wit imploy:
Vile Porphyry, how wretched is thy state,
Who bought thy learning at too deare a rate?
Yet even then these, whose falles were marked most,
A number now are farre more guilty found,
These but themselves, they many thousands lost;
These seene were shunn'd, they seeming friends, did wound,
And where made Captaines, did betray the host,
Not forward march'd, did but the Trumpet sound:
Such teachers false, high indignation move,
Who plac'd for lampes, did rockes of ruine prove.

They (whil'st their faith for worldly causes faints)
Who were made Shepheards, do undoe their Sheep,
Religions casks, Church dregges, dissembled Saints,
Where trusted watch-men who fall first asleep;
O with what palenesse feare their faces paints,
For loosing them whom they were bound to keep!
Such Pastors now stand for all those dismaid,
By their example, or neglect, who strai'd.
He (even as spurning at a wall of brasse)
Who (though Gods Priest) his people would misguid,
Where bound to blesse, who there to curse did passe,
Seem'd to consult, yet God to tempt but tri'd,
Who forc'd (when left) him to obey his Asse,
Then it more grosse which first the Angel spi'd;
Deare proves his counsell when their plaints begin,
Whom he by beauty did betray to sinne.
With Balaam now this age a troupe doth match,
Who (flattering Sirens) some with pleasure charme,
Whil'st they like Tradesmen do their taske dispatch,
Since neither hot, nor cold, spu'd forth luke-warme,
Whose scandalous life choaks what their words do hatch;
What profit precepts, whil'st examples harme?
“Of tainted fountains all do flie the streames:
“As bright the Sunne, most pure are all his beames.
What great perfection can Theologues reach,
Who learne their Science as an Art to gaine,
And, farre from practise, onely strive to preach?
Such wanting salt would season soules in vaine,
In actions earthly, sprituall but in speech,
Who buy promotions, sell heavens goods againe:
Their money curs'd, detasted may they dye,
Who, what none value can, would basely buy.

There are some Priests whom foolish pride made rave,
(Like Isis Asse whose burden was ador'd)
Who of their parts too great opinion have,
And more affect than reason can afford;
Where humblenesse her chiefe abode should have,
A haughty minde must justly be abhorr'd;
Vile avarice, and pride, from heaven accurst,
In all are ill, but in a Church-man worst.
Sinne sinfull still, and vice is vile in all,
But most abhorr'd by guides of soules when done,
Whose faults seeme ugly, though they be but small,
As stains in Crystall, darknesse in the Moone;
They when they stumble, make a number fall;
Where laws scarce urge, example leads us soone;
Woe to those Shepheards who their flocks betray,
Whose trusted steps make all their followers stray.
Next comes a company then these more bad,
Who in some sort made eminent to be,
Did poyson draw, where others honey had,
Blinde by sinnes beams who could it selfe not see,
By curiousnesse grown grosse, by learning mad,
Where Adam rob'd the fruits, who rent the Tree:
Confusions slaves, whose course all union wrongs,
They part mens hearts, where Babel but the tongues.
Those soules impostours, rocks of ruine borne,
Who what they fancied did too much esteeme,
And of Religion held true grounds in scorne,
By strange opinions singular to seeme;
They who the Church did teare, their hearts are torne,
Whose spirituall errours nothing could redeeme;
Then all those Atheists who the light deny'd,
Strai'd Hereticks are more pernicious try'd.

Their vaine divisions have much mischiefe wrought,
Christs coat still torne, for lots (yet question'd) set,
The figures literall, letters figures thought,
Whil'st forging reasons, they the sense forget,
And catching all within their compasse brought,
Like poysnous Spiders fram'd in aiery net;
Yet that the world might spie their damned state,
Still jarr'd amongst themselves, did others hate.
None gives Religion a more dangerous wound,
(Of which firme union is a certaine signe)
Then Schismaticks whose dreames would truth confound,
And do divide what faith should fast combine;
When learned Doctors do dispute the ground,
How can weake vulgars but from light decline?
Whil'st parts are question'd, all the whole in doubt,
First Heresie, then Atheisme doth burst out.
Whil'st false conceptions do abuse the braine,
Oft monstrous broods have all the world appall'd,
Even when Apostles did themselves explaine,
Some strangely strai'd, yet scorn'd to be recall'd,
Whil'st grosly subtle, learnedly prophane,
To sp'rituall bondage voluntarly thrall'd:
Instruction loath'd, they shamelesse in offence,
Of living Authors did pervert the sense.
Ere from mens mindes the Gospels purenesse past,
That vaunting Sect which holy Iohn did hate,
With drunkards sober, liv'd with wantons chast,
And bragg'd by strength temptations to abate,
Till falne by standing, them their strength did cast,
Whil'st stumbling blocks had fram'd for sinne a bait:
Then faults they fled farre greater did them staine,
Presumption devillish, weaknesse is humane.

From fountains pure what tainted streames did fall,
By which made drunke huge troups strange dreames conceiv'd,
Nestorians, Arrians to grosse errours thrall,
The Montanists and Donatists deceiv'd;
The Manichæans, and Pelagians all,
With millions else who admirably rav'd:
And when they once abandon'd had the light,
Thought all the world was wrong, they onely right.
These viprous broods whose course no reason rain'd,
Did when first borne their mothers belly teare,
Bred by contention, and by bloud maintain'd,
Who rent the Church, pretending it to reare,
Then, with themselves, all who would trust them stain'd,
And them to hell led headlong by the eare:
But who for Patrons prais'd such once as Saints,
They curse them now with multipli'd complaints.
Of all the gifts that garnish mortals here,
Though for perfection learning most imparts,
And to the Deity draws her followers neare,
Scarce lesse then Angels, more then men for parts,
Yet their accounts some Scholars worst can cleare,
Who lodg'd their knowledge in corrupted hearts:
Whil'st lengthning life by memorable lines,
In spite of death extending bad designes.
Ah, of that troupe who can the torments dreame,
Of all hels hosts which with most horrour howls,
The scorne of knowledge, and the Muses shame,
Who with vaine pleasures do empoyson soules,
And (reaching ruine) whil'st they toile for fame,
Do vomit volumes of contagious scrouls,
Which bent for glory (though vaine thoughts they take)
Do but their sinnes, not them immortall make?

When dead to sinne, to ruine from the grave,
Though hid in th'earth infecting still the ayre!
What greater mischiefe could the devill conceive,
Then like himselfe make men? what authors rare?
That they with life can wickednesse not leave,
Whil'st bounded in one place, o're all a snare,
That course doth never end which they begin:
Death but their dayes, scarce Doomsday bounds their sinne.
Of each Divine who thoughts to Time commits,
(Whil'st cosening conscience) racking reasons bounds,
With subtle Logicke intricating wits,
(Sophisticating truth) which faith confounds,
Whose aguous fancies with infective fits,
The world abus'd, abusing sacred grounds;
Their writs which (wresting words) much mischiefe wrought,
To damne the Author are in judgement brought.
Of these brave sprits (neglecting vulgar dates)
The tongues of Time, interpreting the dead,
Who entertaine intelligence 'twixt States
By registring all what was famous made,
Of them I heare too many curse their fates,
(When trusted guides) who others wrong did leade;
And partially a lye for truth gave forth,
To colour vice, or derogate from worth.
And therefore Muse, thy purenesse do not spill,
(Though griefe do make thee passionate to prove)
Loath them to taxe whom thou do'st reverence still,
But passe not publicke wrongs for private love,
And whil'st such faults all minds with feare do fill,
This them who live to change their course may move;
Ah that heavens lampe might still direct our wayes,
Whom Starres should crowne, and not terrestriall Bayes.

That sweet Mœonian, minion of each minde,
Who first (creating fame) with Time contract'd,
Then where he pleas'd, for favour it assign'd,
Made gods, and men, till, what he fain'd, seem'd act'd,
All ey'd within, of force without quite blinde,
Whose contemplation never was distract'd;
Seven Townes in vaine would hide him in their ground,
Whom all the world not at this time can bound.
Ah! this blinde guide made numbers walke astray,
By dreams and fables forcing them to fall,
Who now in darknesse do detaste the day,
And him (as chiefe) most tortur'd of them all;
The devill could never purchase such a prey,
As those rare sprits, when once to him made thrall;
Since they to hell made many thousands rinne,
With pleasant colours, masking ugly sinne.
Ye dainty wits admir'd for rich conceits,
Which (heavens chiefe sparks) should mortals farre transcend,
For beauties fraile which time with moments dates,
Eternall treasures do not fondly spend;
Thinke of those Angels (forfeiting their states)
Who from lights height to darknesse did descend:
Rise, rise (bright souls) and for true glory strive,
Ere here dissolv'd we may at heaven arrive.
Though these great minds by Satan soone were snar'd,
As pride, ambition, vanity, revenge,
Of loftie thoughts the small repose impair'd,
Which forcing fame engendred monsters strange;
Huge numbers are (base if with those compar'd)
Who act'd, or aym'd much ill, and borne for change.
By divers wayes to severall sinnes were led,
Which all by drinke or avarice were bred.

Of many Merchants none is then accus'd,
For ten-fold gaines (as partiall spite informes)
That by their hazards justly is excus'd,
Both day and night since toss'd by many stormes;
They onely smart who have the world abus'd,
Whil'st seeking substance, fraudfull in the formes;
False weights and measures do procure their paine,
Not for how much, but by what meanes they gaine.
There artizans (for too much Art convict'd)
Who falsifi'd the trade that they profess'd,
For abject lucre to foule fraud addict'd,
In forme, or matter, trusted grounds transgress'd,
Not fearing shame, nor what could be inflict'd,
So for the time they some small gaines possess'd:
And when once tax'd, as quite estrang'd from troth,
Of minde to purge, they damn'd themselves by oath.
Of this base sort another squadron stands,
Which others lesse, but more themselves did wrong,
Who by their belly did exhaust their hands,
Then they to gaine, a masse to waste more strong,
Who still contentious (staines to civill lands)
To all disorders did confus'dly throng:
Whil'st alwayes drunke they from no fault were free,
Till last by beggery that they bounded be.
Though base, not pass'd even beggars here are rife,
Who with procur'd, or counterfeited sores,
That they might live, did lose all use of life,
Not entring Churches, begg'd but at the doores,
Urg'd charity, and yet were still at strife,
By hand who helps them, them in heart abhorr's:
Adultrers, theeves, blasphemers, and ingrate,
The sinks of sinne, as poore in soules, as state.

Now mustring pride, no pompe, nor power protects,
Whil'st none so great as dares (when damn'd) reply,
Nor none so low whom this great Iudge neglects,
Lifes strict accounts when come in wrath to try;
Contempt, nor reverence, worke no such effects:
Mysts, whence they rose return'd, vaine vapours dye:
For state or birth, all duties due Time frees,
(Save parting paines) no difference in degrees.
Not onely soules for deeds are damn'd to fire,
Whose witness'd wrongs were from all colours free,
But even intentions, wishes, and desire,
Which (though none else) yet God himselfe did see;
The heart advanc'd, what member can retire?
The Author it, the rest but actors be:
These bent for ill, whom casuall lets did bound,
Then some who acted are more guilty found.
Not onely now all these to paine must part,
Who harmfull deeds well witness'd do accuse,
And who not seene (corrupted in the heart)
Were big with thoughts which Satan did infuse:
No, no, with them a number more must smart,
Who had more treasure then they daign'd to use:
This judgement generall all to triall brings,
Both for committed, and omitted things.
These wealthie ones whose steps the poore did trace,
Not help'd, not mark'd, not seene from such a height;
These who had power, and eminent in place,
Yet had no pitty when support they might;
These who had knowledge, and some seeds of grace,
Yet would with none communicate their light:
Woe, woe to them with whom God ventred most,
Whose Talents hid (since not encreas'd) were lost.

They who by riches nought save pleasure sought,
And griev'd for nothing but when forc'd to dye,
To heaven (poore soules) as hardly can be brought,
As cable-ropes come through a needle eye:
O what huge hosts even more than can be thought,
With shaking joynts, and chattering teeth I spie!
What fertile ages brought so many forth?
Yet most in number are the least in worth.
Hels wayes are large, heavens strict, I would proceed,
But words are weake to shew what I conceive;
The squadrons damn'd so high a horrour breed,
To look on them that I of force must leave;
My Muse which melts with griefe doth comfort need,
Which save from heaven, I no where else can have:
Lord cleare mine eyes, and let me see that band,
(The world all conquer'd) which in triumph stand.

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Sir William Alexander