Sir William Alexander

Doomes-Day: The First Houre

The Argument


God by his workes demonstratively prov'd;
His providence (impugning Atheisme) urg'd;
The Divels from heaven, from Eden man remov'd;
Of guilty guests the world by water purg'd;
Who never sinn'd to dye for sinne behov'd;
Those who him scourg'd in Gods great wrath are scourg'd;
Some temporall plagues and fearefull judgements past,
Are cited here as figures of the last.
Thou of whose power (not reach'd by reasons height)
The Sea a drop, we th'Earth a mote may call:
And for whose Trophees, stately to the sight,
The azure Arke was rear'd (although too small)
And from the lampe of whose most glorious light
The Sun (a sparke) weake, for weake eyes did fall,
Breath thou a heavenly fury in my brest:
I sing the Sabbath of eternall rest.
Though every where discern'd, no where confin'd,
O thou whose feet the clouds (as dust) afford,
Whose voyce the Thunder, and whose breath the winde,
Whose foot-stoole th'earth, seate heaven, works of thy word,
Guards, hosts of Angels moving by thy minde,
Whose weapons, famine, tempest, pest, and sword;
My cloudy knowledge by thy wisedome cleare,
And by my weakenesse make thy power appeare.
Loe, ravish'd (Lord) with pleasure of thy love,
I feele my soule enflam'd with sacred fires,
Thy judgements, and thy mercies, whil'st I move,
To celebrate, my Muse with zeale aspires;
Lord, by thy helpe this enterprise approve,
That successe so may second my desires.
Make Sathans race to tremble at my lines,
And thine rejoyce while as thy glory shines.
Ye blinded soules, who even in frailty trust,
By moments pleasures earning endlesse paine,
Whil'st charg'd with heavy chaines, vile slaves to lust,
Of earth, and earthly, till en-earth'd againe;
Heare, hold, and weigh my words, for once ye must
The strange effects of what I tell, sustaine:
I goe to sing (or thunder) in your eares,
A heaven of comfort, or a hell of feares.
All my transported thoughts at randome flye,
And where to fixe, no solid ground can finde,
Whil'st silent wondring makes a setled eye,
What huge amazement hath o'rewhelm'd my minde?
How some dare scorne (as if a fabulous lye)
That they should rise whom death to dust doth binde.
And like to beasts, a beastly life they leade,
Who nought attend save death when they are dead.
But yet what I admir'd, not strange doth seeme,
When as I heare (O heavens should such have breath?)
That there be men (if men we may esteeme
Trunkes that are void of soules, soules void of faith,)
Who all this world the worke of fortune deeme,
Not hoping mercy, nor yet fearing wrath,
There is no God, fooles in their hearts doe say,
Yet make their hearts their Gods, and them obey.
The stately heavens which glory doth array,
Are mirrours of Gods admirable might;
There, whence forth spreads the night, forth springs the day
He fix'd the fountaines of this temporall light,
Where stately stars enstall'd, some stand, some stray,
All sparks of his great power (though small) yet bright.
By what none utter can, no, not conceive,
All of his greatnesse, shadowes may perceive.
What glorious lights through christall lanternes glance,
(As alwaies burning with their Makers love)
Spheares keepe one musicke, they one measure dance,
Like influence below, like course above,
And all by order led, not drawne by chance,
With majestie (as still in triumph) move.
And (liberall of their store) seeme shouting thus,
Looke up all soules, and gaze on God through us,
This pond'rous masse (though oft deform'd) still faire,
Great in our sight, yet then a Starre more small,
Is ballanc'd (as a mote) amid'st the ayre;
None knowes what way, yet to no side doth fall,
And yearely springs, growes ripe, fades, falles, rich, bare;
Mens mother first, still Mistresse, yet their thrall.
It centers heavens, heavens compasse it, both be
Bookes where Gods pow'r the ignorant may see.

What ebbes, flowes, swels, and sinks, who firme doth keep?
Whil'st flouds from th'earth burst in abundance out,
As she her brood did wash, or for them weepe:
Who (having life) what dead things prove, dare doubt;
Who first did found the Dungeons of the deepe?
But one in all, o're all, above, about:
The flouds for our delight, first calme were set,
But storme and roare, since men did God forget.
Who parts the swelling spouts that sift the raine?
Who reines the winds, the waters doth empale?
Who frownes in stormes, then smiles in calmes againe,
And doth dispense the treasures of the haile?
Whose bow doth bended in the clouds remaine?
Whose darts (dread thunder-bolts) make men look pale?
Even thus these things to shew his power aspire,
As shadowes doe the Sunne, as smoake doth fire.
God visibly invisible who raignes,
Soule of all soules, whose light each light directs,
All first did freely make, and still maintaines,
The greatest rules, the meanest not neglects;
Fore-knowes the end of all that he ordaines,
His will each cause, each cause breeds fit effects,
Who did make all, all thus could onely leade,
None could make all, but who was never made.
Vile dogge, who wouldst the ground of truth o'rethrow,
Thy selfe to marke thy darkened judgement leade,
For (if thy selfe) thou must thy Maker know,
Who all thy members providently made,
Thy feet tread th'earth (to be contemn'd) laid low,
To looke on heaven exalted was thy head.
That there thou might'st the stately Mansion see,
From whence thou art, where thou should'st seeke to be.
The world in Soules, Gods image cleare may see,
Though mirrours bruis'd when falne, sparks dim'd far flowne,
They in strict bounds, strict bonds, kept captive be,
Yet walke o're all this all, and know not known;
Yea soare to heaven, as from their burden free,
And there see things which cannot well be showne.
None can conceive, all must admire his might,
Of whom each atome gives so great a light.
When troubled conscience reads accusing scroules,
Which witness'd are even by the breasts own brood;
O what a terrour wounds remording soules,
Who poyson finde what seem'd a pleasant food!
A secret pow'r their wand'ring thoughts controules,
And (damning evill,) an authour proves of good.
Thus here some mindes a map of hell doe lend,
To shew what horrours damned soules attend.
To grant a God, the divell may make men wise,
Whose apparitions Atheists must upbraid,
Who borrowing bodies, doth himselfe disguise,
Lest some his uglinesse might make afraid:
Yet oft in monstrous formes doth roaring rise,
Till even (as charm'd) the charmer stands dismaid.

He bellowing forth abhominable lyes,
Bloud in his mouth, and terrour in his eyes
Who saves the world lest that it ruin'd be
By him whose thoughts (as arrowes) ayme at ill
Save one that rules the world by his decree;
Who makes his power not equal with his will?
Of which (not left to plague at pleasure free)
He (forc'd) affords a testimony still.
From every thing thus springs to God some praise,
Men, Angels, Divels, all must his glory raise.
Though trusting more, yet some transgresse as much
As those who unto God draw never neare:
For what the first not see, the last not touch,
Th'ones eyes are blinde, the others are not cleare:
Their mindes (false mirrours) frame a God, but such
As waters straight things crooked make appeare.
Their faith is never firme, their love not bright,
As Ankers without holds, fires without light.
Their judgements fond, by frailty all confinde,
Whose soule (as water) vanity devoures;
Doe faine in God what in themselves they finde,
And by their weaknesse judge the pow'r of pow'rs;
Then (the unbounded bounding by their minde)
Would staine heavens Garden with terrestriall flowres.
“Men still imagine others as they are,
“And measure all things by corruptions square.
They thinke that God, soft pleasure doth affect,
And jocund, lofty, lull'd in ease, as great,
Doth scorne, contemne, or at the least neglect
Mans fickle, abject, and laborious state,
That he disdaines to guerdon, or correct
Mans good or euill, as free from love, or hate.
That when th'earth is his prospect from the skies,
As men on beasts, on men he casts his eyes.
No, high in heaven from whence he bindes, and frees,
He in voluptuous ease not wallowing lyes;
What was, what is, what shall be, all he sees,
Weighs every worke, each heart in secret tryes,
Doth all record, then daily by degrees
Gives, or abstracts his grace, cause, end, both spies.
His contemplation farre transcends our reach,
Yet what fits us to know, his word doth teach.
Then to confirme what was affirm'd before,
That no God is, or God doth not regard,
Who doe blaspheme (say fooles) or who adore,
This oft due vengeance wants, and that reward,
Then godly men the wicked prosper more,
Who seeme at freedome, and the others snar'd.
Such (as they thinke) feele paine, and dreame but joy,
Whil'st they what can be wish'd, doe all enjoy.
The Sunne in all like comfort doth infuse,
The raine to all by equall portions parts,
Heavens treasures all alike both have, and use,
Which God to all (as lov'd alike) imparts;
Each mindes free state like passions doe abuse,
Each burd'nous body by like sicknesse smarts.
Thus all alive alike all fortunes try,
And as the bad, even so the best doe dye.

O men most simple, and yet more then mad,
Whose foolish hearts sinne wholly hath subdu'd,
Whil'st good men now are griev'd, though you be glad,
They weake, (yet pure) you strong, (yet stain'd, and lew'd)
Huge are the oddes betwixt the best and bad,
Which darkely here, hence shall be cleerely view'd.
When of Gods wrath the winde sifts soules at last,
They shall abide, you vanish at a blast.
Gods benefits though like to both design'd,
Whil'st judgement doth upon weake sight depend,
Yet th'inward eyes a mighty difference finde,
To ballance them whil'st spirituall thoughts ascend,
The gift is one, but not the givers minde,
The use is one, but not the users end.
God so would clogge the one, the other raise,
Those take themselves to please, they him to praise.
The godly ill, the wicked good may have,
And both may be whil'st here, pleas'd, or annoy'd;
But as they are, all make what they receive,
Not reall of it selfe, but as imployd;
Those temporall treasures monuments doe leave,
As by a blessing, or a curse convoy'd.
But this is sure, what ever God doth send,
To good mens good, to evill mens evill doth tend.
God, soules to cure, doth divers Balmes apply,
Whil'st his intent the successe still doth crowne;
Some are press'd downe, lest they should swell too high,
Some are rais'd high, lest that they should sinke downe:
Some must have wealth, their charity to try,
Some poverty, their patience to renowne.
“He who made all, knowes all, and as they neede
“Not as they wish, makes things with his succeed.
Since worldly things, God makes both sorts possesse,
Whose use in them a gratefulnesse should move:
Let us seeke greater things (though seeming lesse)
Which for one sort doe onely proper prove,
That heavenly grace, whose power none can expresse,
Whose fruits are vertue, zeale, faith, hope, and love.
“The godly may the wickeds treasures gaine,
“But theirs the wicked never can attaine.
Ah, why should soules for senselesse riches care!
They mercy neede, it is a way to wrath:
The first man he was made, the rest borne bare;
Those floting treasures come, and goe with breath.
Not mortals goods, no, mortals evils they are,
Which (since but dead) can nothing give save death.
Their seed base care, their fruit is torturing paine,
A losse when found, oft lost, the loosers gaine.
The greatest good that by such wealth is sought,
Are flattering pleasures, which (whil'st fawning) stayne,
A smoake, a shadow, froth, a dreame, a thought,
Light, sliding, fraile, abusing, fond, all vaine;
Which (whil'st they last, but shewes) to end soon brought,
Of bravest thoughts, the liberty restraine.
As of heavens beauties, clouds would make us doubt,
Through mists of mindes, the sprite peeps faintly out.

That King (of men admir'd, of God belov'd),
Whom such none did preceede, nor yet succeede,
Who wisedomes minion, vertues patterne prov'd,
Did shew what heighth of blisse this earth could breed,
Whose minde and fortune in like measure mov'd,
Whil'st wealth and wit striv'd which should most exceed,
Even he was cross'd alive, and scorn'd when dead,
By too much happinesse, unhappy made
Her store, franke nature prodigally spent,
To make that Prince more than a Prince esteem'd,
Whilst Art to emulate her mistresse bent,
Though borrowing strength from her, yet stronger seem'd,
He nothing lack'd, which might a minde content,
What once he wish'd, or but to wish was deem'd.
For, thoughts of thousands rested on his will,
Great fortunes finde obsequious followers still.
With God the Father, he who did conferre,
And of the Sonne plac'd for a figure stood,
He to Gods law did his vile lust preferre,
His lust as boundlesse as a raging floud;
Who would have thought he could so grosly erre,
Even to serve Idols, scorne a God so good?
“The strong in faith (when destitute of grace)
“Like men disarm'd, fall faintly from their place.
Gods way cannot be found, his course not knowne,
As hearts he did enlarge, or else restraine,
Some were made Saints, who Saints had once o'rethrowne,
Some once thought holy, turn'd to be prophane,
To mocke mens judgement, justifie his owne,
Whil'st God by both did magnifi'd remaine.
Let none presume, nor yet all hope despise;
When standing feare, when falne, still strive to rise.
Through hell to heaven since our Redeemer past,
Thinke that all pleasure purchas'd is with paine,
Though the first death, none shall the second taste,
Who are with God eternally to raigne;
Chus'd, call'd, made holy, just and glorious last,
'Twixt heaven and earth they have a spirituall chaine,
Whose fastening faith, whose linkes are all of love,
Through clouds by Gods own hand stretch'd from above.
Let not the godly men affliction feare,
God wrestle may with some, but none o'rethrowes,
Who gives the burden, gives the strength to beare;
And best reward the greatest service owes,
Those who would reape, they at the first must eare;
Gods love, his faith, a good mans trouble showes.
“Those whom God tryes, he gives them power to stand,
He Iacob toss'd, and help'd, both by one hand.
Loe, since first chus'd ere made, much more ere prov'd,
Th'elected are not lost when as they stray,
And let none aske what so to doe God mov'd:
His will his word, his word our will should sway;
He hated Esau, and he Iacob lov'd,
Hath not the Potter power to use the clay?
And though his vessels could, why should they plead,
If to dishonour, or to honour made?
Some dare tempt God, presuming of his grace,
And proudly sinne, (as sav'd assur'd to be)
Nor care not much what course they doe imbrace,
Since nought (they say) can change Gods first decree:
No, none findes heaven, but heavenly wayes must trace:
The badge the bearer shewes, the fruits the tree.
Who doubt, doe good, as those who would deserve,
Who trust, be thankefull, both God better serve.
With gifts fit for their state, all are endu'd;
Grace mercy still, wrath justice doth convoy;
God cleares their sight of whom he will be view'd,
And blindes them here, whom hence he will destroy,
Those whom he did elect, them he renew'd,
Those whom he leaves, they sinne, and sinne with joy:
Such live like beasts, but worse (when dead) remaine,
Beasts dead, lose sense, death gives them sense with paine.
This froward race that to confusion runnes,
Through selfe-presumption, or distrust of God,
Shall once disgorge the surfet of their sinnes,
Whil'st what seems light, then proves a burd'nous lode,
With them in judgement once when God beginnes
To beat, to bruise them with an iron rod:
“Whil'st aiery pleasures, leaden anguish bring,
“Exhausted honey leaves a bitter sting.
Yet wicked men, whom foule affections blinde,
Dare say (O now that heaven not brimstone raynes!)
Let us alive have what contents the minde,
And dread (when dead) threats of imagin'd paines;
The debt we sweet, the interest easie finde,
At least the payment long deferr'd remaines:
Who shadowes feare whilst they the substance keepe,
But start at dreames, when they securely sleepe.
Ah filthy wretch, more high thy fancies lift,
(That doth encroach which thou would'st thus delay)
Then Eagle, arrow, Shippe, or winde, more swift,
(Match'd onely by it selfe) time posts away,
Straight of all soules, God shall the secrets sift,
And private thoughts, with publike shouts display.
Then when times glasse (not to be turn'd) is runne,
Their griefe still growes, whose joyes were scarce begun.
Whil'st rais'd in haste, when soules from him rebell,
By inundations of impetuous sinne,
The flouds of Gods deep indignation swell,
Till torments torrents furiously come in,
Damnations mirrours, models of the hell,
To shew what hence not ends, may here beginne.
Then let me sing some of Gods judgements past,
That who them heare, may tremble at the last.
That glorious angell bearer of the light,
The mornings eye, the Messenger of day,
Of all the Bands above esteem'd most bright,
(As is amongst the rest the month of May)
He whom those gifts should humbled have of right,
Did (swolne with pride) from him who gave them stray.
And sought (a traitour) to usurpe his seate,
Yea worse (if worse may be) did prove ingrate.

Their starry tailes the pompous Peacocks spreade,
As of all birds the basenesse thus to prove,
So Lucifer who did hels legions leade,
Was with himselfe preposterously in love;
But better Angels scorning such a head,
No flattering hope to leave their Lord could move.
“Those who grow proud, presuming of their state,
“They others doe contemne, them others hate.
The divell to all, an easie way affords,
That strife which one devis'd, all did conclude,
Their armour malice, blasphemy their swords,
Darts sharp'd by envy, onely aym'd at good:
They when they met, did need to use no words,
The thoughts of others, who soone understood.
By bodies grosse when they no hindrance have,
Pure sprites (at freedome) all things may conceive.
As where uncleannesse is, the Ravens repaire,
The spotted band swarm'd where he spu'd his gall,
Who fondly durst with God (foule foole) compare,
And his apostasie applauded all,
Then to usurpe heavens throne, did bend their care,
So hasting on the horrour of their fall,
Whose trayterous head made (like a whore that strayes,)
His flaming beauties prodigall of rayes.

Whil'st vainely puft up with preposterous aymes,
He even from God his treasure striv'd to steale,
The Angels good (those not deserving names)
With sacred ardour, boldly did appeale;
Their eyes shot lightning, and their breath smoak'd flames,
As ravish'd with Gods love, burnt up with zeale.
All lifted up their flight, their voyce, their hands,
Then sang Gods praise, rebuk'd rebellious bands.
This mutiny a monstrous tumult bred,
The place of peace all plenish'd thus with armes;
Bright Michael forth a glorious squadron led,
Which forc'd the fiends to apprehend their harmes,
The lights of heaven look'd pale, clouds (thundring) shed,
Winds (roaring trumpets) bellow'd loud alarmes:
Thinke what was fain'd to be at Phlegra bounds,
Of this a shadow, ecchoes but of sounds.
O damned dog, who in a happy state,
Could not thy selfe, would not have others bide:
Of sinne, death, hell, thou open didst the gate,
Ambitions bellowes, fountaine of all pride,
Who force in heaven, in Paradice deceit,
On earth us'd both, a traitour alwaies try'd.
O first the ground, still guilty of all evils,
Since whom God Angels made, thou mad'st them divels.
When them he view'd, whose power nought can expresse,
To whose least nod the greatest things are thrall,
Although his word, his looke, his thought, or lesse,
Might them have made dust, ayre, or what more small,
Yet he (their pride though purpos'd to represse)
Grac'd by a blow, disdain'd to let them fall.
But them reserv'd for more opprobrious stripes,
As first of sinne, still of his judgement types.
Those scorned Rivals, God would judge, not fight,
And then themselves none else, more fit could finde,
Brands for his rage, (whil'st flaming at the height,)
To cleare their knowledge it with terrour shin'd;
Whose guilty weakenesse match'd with his pure might,
Did at an instant vanish like a winde.
“Their conscience fir'd, who doe from God rebell,
“Hell first is plac'd in them, then they in hell.
That damned crue, God having spy'd a space,
First, lightning lookes, then thundred forth those words,
Baites for my wrath, that have abus'd my grace,
As once of light, of darkenesse now be Lords,
Where order is, since forfeiting your place,
Passe where confusion every thing affords.
And use your spight to pine, and to be pin'd,
Not Angels, no, doe evils as divels design'd.
If we great things with small things may compare,
Or with their Maker, things that have been made,
Marke when the Falcon fierce soares through the ayre,
The little feathered flockes fall downe as dead;
As darkenesse flyes, heaven (like a Bride) lookes faire,
When Phœbus forth doth fiery Coursers leade,
Like some Bride-groome bent for his wedding place,
Or like a mighty man to runne his race.

Even so as lightning (flashing from the sky)
Doth dye as it descends, scarce seen when gone,
More fast then follow could a thought, or eye,
Heavens banish'd rebels fell downe every one;
Then abject runnagates over all did flye,
As seeking desarts where to howle and moane.
O what a deadly storme did then begin,
When heaven rain'd divels to drown the world with sin!
That forge of fraud, evils centre, spheare of pride,
From blisse above, whom Gods owne breath had blowne;
He, who his strength in heaven in vaine had try'd,
(As dogs bite stones for him who hath them throwne,)
Did hunt Gods image, when in Adam spy'd,
And (grudging at his State) despis'd his owne:
It never ended yet, which then began,
His hate to God, his envy unto man.
Ere tainted first with that most fatall crime,
Then Adam liv'd more blest then can be thought:
Babe, Infant, Childe, Youth, Man, all at one time,
Form'd in perfection, having need of nought,
To paradice preferr'd from abject slime,
A graine of th'earth to rule it all was brought.
With him whom to content, all did contend,
God walk'd, and talk'd, as a familiar friend.
Then of his pleasures to heape up the store,
God Evah did create with beauties rare,
Such as no women had since; none before,
Thinke what it is to be divinely faire,
And then imagine her a great deale more;
She, principall, the rest but copies are.
No height of words can her perfections hit,
The worke was matchlesse, as the worke-mans wit.
The worlds first father what great joyes did fill,
Whil'st Prince of Paradice from trouble free,
The fairest creature entertain'd him still;
No rivall was, he could not jealous be,
But wretched prov'd, in having all his will,
And yet discharg'd the tasting of one tree.
“Let one have all things good, abstract some toy,
“That want more grieves, then all he hath gives joy.
Through Edens garden, stately Evah stray'd,
Where beauteous flowers her beauties backe reglanc'd
By natures selfe, and not by art array'd,
Which pure (not blushing) boldly were advanc'd;
With dangling haires the wanton Zephyres play'd,
And in rich rings their floting gold enhaunc'd.
All things concurr'd, which pleasure could incite,
So that she seem'd the centre of delight.
Then could she not well thinke, who now can tell
What banquetted her sight with objects rare?
Birds striv'd for her whose songs should most excell,
The odoriferous flowres perfum'd the ayre:
Yet did her breath of all most sweetly smell,
Not then distemper'd with intemperate fare.
No mixtures strange, compos'd corrupting food,
All naturally was sweet, all simply good.

But ah! when she the apples faire did spy,
Which (since reserv'd) were thought to be the best;
Their fained pretiousnesse enflam'd to try,
Because discharg'd, she look'd where they did rest,
Luxuriously abandon'd to the eye,
Swolne, languishing (like them upon her brest.)
“Ah curiousnesse, first cause of all our ill,
“And yet the plague which most torments us still!
On them she (doubtfull) earnestly did gaze,
The hand oft times advanc'd, and oft drawne backe,
Whil'st Sathan cunningly her parts did praise,
And in a Serpent thus his course did take:
Your state is high, you may more high it raise,
And may (with ease) your selves immortall make.
This pretious fruit God you forbids to eate,
Lest (knowing good and evill) you match his state.
Those fatall fruits which poison'd were with sinne,
She (having tasted) made her husband prove;
What could not words of such a Sirene winne?
O woe to man, that woman thus can move!
He him to hide (his falls first marke) did rinne,
Whom knowledge now hath learn'd to loath, and love.
Death from that tree did shoot through shadowes darke,
His rest an apple, beauty was his marke.
Thus good and evill they learn'd to know by this,
But ah the good was gone, the evill to be:
Thus monstrously when having done amisse,
They cloathing sought (of bondage a decree)
“Loe, the first fruits of mortals knowledge is,
“Their nakednesse, and hard estate to see:
“Thus curiousnesse to knowledge is the guide,
“And it to misery, all toiles when tryde.
Marke Adams answer when his Maker crav'd,
If that his will had beene by him transgress'd;
The woman (Lord) whom I from thee receiv'd,
Did make me eate, as who my soule possess'd:
The woman said, the Serpent me deceiv'd:
Both burden'd others, none the fault confess'd.
Which custome still their faulty race doth use,
“All first doe runne to hide, next to excuse.
But he who tryes the reynes, and views the heart,
(As through the clouds) doth through fraile bodies see,
And is not mock'd by mens ridiculous art,
By which their crimes encreast, more odious be:
Who proudly sinne, they must submissely smart,
Loe, God craves count of what he did decree.
And those who joyn'd in sinne, are punish'd all,
All Adams partners crush'd were with his fall.
Thus God first damn'd the fountaine of deceit,
O most accurst of all the beasts which breed,
Still wallowing in the dust (a loathsome state)
Drawn on thy belly basely shalt thou feed;
The woman thee, thou shalt the woman hate.
Which hatred still inherit shall her seed.

Whose fierce effects both mutually shall feele,
Whil'st he shall breake thy head, thou bruise his heele.
And woman weake, whose thought each fancy blowes,
I will encrease thy griefe, thy joyes restraine,
And since thy judgement doth depend on showes
Thou to thy husband subject shalt remaine:
And (bringing forth thy brood with bitter throwes,)
What was with pleasure sown, shalt reape with paine.
Those beauties now which mustred are with pride,
In withered wrinckles, ruinous Age shall hide.
Fond Adam, thou (obeying thus thy wife)
What I commanded violate that durst:
Cares shall exhaust thy dayes, paines end thy life,
Whil'st for thy cause the earth becomes accurst,
With thornes and thistles, guerdoning thy strife,
Who sweating for thy food, art like to burst.
And looke no more for rest, for toile thou must,
Till whence first com'd, thou be turn'd back to dust.
By Angels arm'd barr'd from the pleasant place,
When wretched Adams pilgrimage was past,
The tree of sinne o're-shadowing all his race,
They from their minds all love of God did cast,
Them to reclaime who did contemne his grace,
Who weary was with striving at the last,
And of the world a harvest made by raine,
Did straight resolve to try new seede againe.
Yet since that Noah uprightly had liv'd,
He and his race stood safe on horrours height,
And when all creatures ruine was contriv'd,
Did live secure the forty-day-long night:
To make the world repent, that good man striv'd,
His swelling engine building in their sight.
“But with the wicked what can well succeed,
“In whom perswasions obstinacy breed.
Whil'st sin o're-flow'd the world, Gods wrath o're-flam'd,
Which when rais'd high, downe flouds of vengeance pours,
As Noahs preaching oft times had proclaim'd,
(Heavens threatning straight to drown the highest Towers
Clouds clustred darknesse, lightnings terrour stream'd,
And rumbling thunders usher'd ugly shoures;
Whil'st ravenous tempests swallow'd up the light,
Day (dead for feare) brought forth abortive night.
From guests prophane that th'earth might be redeem'd,
The lights of heaven quench'd in their lanternes lay,
The cloudy conduits but one Cisterne seem'd,
Whil'st (save the waters) all things did decay:
The fire drown'd out, heavens all disolv'd were deem'd,
Ayre water grew, the earth as wash'd away:
By monstrous storms, whil'st all things were o're-turn'd,
Then (save Gods wrath) in all the world nought burn'd.
Men to the mountaines did for helpe repaire,
Whence them the waves did violently chase;
In natures scorne, came scaly squadrons there,
The forests guests inheriting their place:
By too much water, no, for lacke of ayre,
All were confounded in a little space.

“One creature needs all th'elements to live,
“But death to all one element can give.
That moving masse against the storme did strive,
Which all the creatures of the world contayn'd;
As through the deepes it through the clouds did drive,
Not by the Compasse, nor the Rudder rayn'd:
No Port, no land was, where it could arrive,
Whil'st th'earth with waters levell all remain'd.
The waves (the world all else as hush'd) at once,
Roard forth a consort with mens dying grones.
But when o're all Gods breath did ruine blow,
The Arke with others sinne from death did save:
Him whom the raging flouds did not o'rethrow,
Who (of Gods judgements judge) did all perceive,
A little liquour did at last o'rethrow,
Which to his sonne to mocke occasion gave.
“Thus drunkennesse disdaineful scorne doth breed,
“A fertile vice which others still succeed.
As the first world did first by pride offend,
Whose burning rage to such a height did runne,
That it to quench, God did the waters bend:
O drunkennesse, the second worlds first sinne,
The course of vice that Element must end,
Which is oppos'd to that which did begin.
In every thing Gods justice we may spy,
“As flouds drown'd pride, flames drunkennesse must dry.

The peopled world soone left the Lord to feare,
And Sathan in their soules did raise his Throne;
O what a burden nature, do'st thou beare,
Since that to sinne and live, seeme both but one!
Men Babels Towers against the starres did reare,
Since like deserving, fearing what was gone,
As though that God could but one plague command;
(Ah fooles) what strength against his strength can stand?
Whil'st fondly they proud weaknesse did bewray,
(Who can the deeps of his high judgements sound?)
By making their owne tongues their hearts betray,
The Thund'rer straight those Titans did confound:
Here divers tongues the worke of men did stay,
Which afterwards the worke of God did ground.
“One meanes made Christians joyne, and Ethnicks jarre,
“Did helpe th'Apostles, Babels builders marre.
When purpos'd to dissolve quicke clouds of dust,
Gods wrath (as stubble) sinners doth devoure;
That towne to sacke, which had not ten men just,
He brimstone rain'd (O most prodigious shoure!)
Their bodies burn'd, whose soules were burn'd with lust,
What fayre was, ugly, what was sweet, grew sowre.
Yet of that fire, Lot scap'd the great deluge,
“Gods holy Mountaine is a sure refuge.
I thinke not of the ruine of those states,
Which since but strangers to the ground of grace,
Were carried head-long with their owne conceits,
And even (though brightly) blindely ran their race:
Gods firme decrees, which fondly they call'd fates,
Did bound their glory in a little space.
Whil'st tempests huge toss'd their tumultuous mindes,
Like Reeds by Rivers wav'ring with all windes.
Such rais'd not for their good, but for Gods ends,
When bent his owne to punish, or support,
Doe (as his arrowes) hit but where he tends,
Else of themselves their power doth not import;
His spotted flocke, when he to purge intends,
They are but tooles us'd in a servile sort,
To fanne or cleanse, such fannes or Besomes are,
Which afterwards he not in wrath doth spare.
Proud Ashur first did daunt all other soiles,
Till barbarous Persia did become her head;
The Greekes did glory in the Persians spoiles,
Whose Prince at last, Rome did in triumph leade;
Rome (ravishing the earth) bred bloudy broiles,
Yet was by whom she scorn'd a widdow made.
“The world a Tennis-court, the Rackets fates,
“Great Kings are bals, when God will tosse their states.
To them whom God to doe great things doth chuse,
He generous mindes, and noble thoughts imparts,
And doth in them all qualities infuse,
That are requir'd to act heroicke parts;
Of matters base, then making others muse,
He breaks their sprites, and vilifies their hearts.
“As greatnesse still a gallant mind preceeds,
“A staggering courage, ruine still succeeds.

Of Greece and Rome, the glory mounting high,
Did minds amaze, (made all the Muses song,)
On both the wings of worth, whil'st it did flye,
By valour rais'd, borne up on learning long;
But (loe) both base in abject bondage lye,
Whose brood proves now as faint, as once thought strong.
That which their Empires (made their enemies spoiles,)
Their sprites seeme too transferr'd to forraine soiles.
For, nations once which strangers were to fame,
On whom (as Monsters) civill lands did gaze;
Those who in scorne did them Barbarians name,
Doe now farre passe in all which merits praise:
Thus glories Throne is made the seate of shame,
Who were obscure, doe honour highest raise.
“Nought constant is below, no, not true worth,
“It melted South, and freezes in the North.
What heart not quakes to thinke what scroules record,
The vengeance huge inflicted oft below?
Not onely Gentiles thus as then abhorr'd,
High indignation justly did o'rethrow;
That heritage long labour'd by the Lord,
Which (as his portion) he would onely owe.
As loath'd for sinne, or for repentance lov'd,
Gods minion still, or slave to strangers prov'd.
By monstrous plagues, God did his power expresse
In Nilus bounds, which yet admir'd remaines,
The subtile Sorcerers forcing to confesse,
That his owne finger pointed out their paines;
The Seas retir'd, would not his will transgresse,
Till squadrons march'd upon their Virgin playnes.
He gloriously triumph'd o're Pharaohs hoast,
What Israel sav'd, that the Egyptians lost.
God made not wonders strange to Iacobs brood,
When their great journey boldly was begun,
Over them a cloud by day, by night fire stood,
A guide, a guard, a shadow and a sunne,
Rockes vomited a floud, heavens raind down food,
Canaan was miraculously wonne.
Their armes did Armies spoile, huge Gyants kill,
Weake blasts breach'd walls, the Sun (as charm'd) stood still.
But who can thinke and trust, trust, not admire,
That those ingrate to such a God could prove;
Who oft had seen (above their owne desire)
His power by wonders, and by gifts his love?
Yet they provok'd the holy one to ire,
And did the mighties indignation move.
Till as abhorr'd, the land did spue them forth,
And Euphrates did swallow Iordans worth.
That Realme the worlds first froth, and now the lees,
Of which for Israel, Angels hosts had slaine;
The Lord transplanting men (as men doe trees)
It Israel made a captive to remaine:
The stately Temple nought from ruine frees,
Whose sacred vessels, Ethnicks did prophane.
Yet (when repenting) all turn'd backe by faith:
“Sole mortals teares doe quench th'immortals wrath.

Of all the workes which God for us hath wrought,
None more to stray opinions course permits,
Then our salvation, offred, urg'd, not sought,
And curious natures course the truth worst hits:
What was contemn'd, a pretious treasure bought,
A mystery surmounting vulgar wits.
“The worker, not the worke must move our mindes:
“Celestial secrets, faith (not reason) findes.
O! who could looke for glory from the dust?
Or for a Saviour fettred in the grave?
The power which wrought it, must give power to trust,
Else natures strength will but make wit to rave:
O justice mercifull, O mercy just!
He gave his best belov'd his foes to save.
And even to suffer, suffer did his Sonne,
“The victory over hell is hardly wonne.
The word was flesh, the God-head dwelt with men,
Invisible, yet subject to the sight,
He whom no bounds could bound, was bounded then,
Whil'st th'earthly darknesse clouded heavenly light:
Birds had their nests, and every beast a den,
Yet had he nought who did owe all of right.
No kinde of thing the wicked world could move,
Not wonders done below, words from above.
Those wonders then which sacred writs record,
Did some convert, a multitude amaze,
What did not Gods owne word doe by a word?
Lame ranne, Deafe heard, Dumb spake, Divels fled, Dead raise,
Of servants servant, whil'st of Lords the Lord,
Did seeke but his owne paine, mans good, Gods praise.
To marry heaven with earth whil'st he began,
God without Mother, without Father man.
Who never did begin, he would begin,
That lifes chiefe fountaine might of life be reav'd;
The innocent would beare the weight of sinne,
That by his sufferings, sinners might be sav'd,
Yet that which God must give, and none can winne,
(Though offred freely) many not receiv'd.
Whil'st on a tree Christ gain'd (when tortur'd most)
What by a tree for pleasure Adam lost.
The worlds great Iudge was judg'd, and worldlings stood,
Even glories Glory, glorying to disgrace;
They damn'd as evill, the Author of all good,
(Though death of death) who unto death gave place:
Ah, for our ransome offering up his bloud,
Great was the warre he had to make our peace!
The heire of heaven daign'd to descend to hell,
That in the heaven, hell-worthy men might dwell.
The Father saw the Sonne surcharg'd with woe,
Yet would to calme his griefe, no favour show;
For man could not repay, nor God forgoe,
That debt which the first man did justly owe:
Christ (as a God) could not have suffered so,
Nor have as man prevail'd, but both below.
He men most grac'd, when men him most disgrac'd:
Iustice and mercy mutually imbrac'd.

When God confirm'd with many fearefull wonder,
The great worke which was wrought for them he lov'd,
Heaven (clad with darknesse mourn'd,) th'earth sob'd asunder:
Thus creatures wanting sense, were highly mov'd,
Who should have had, had none, nor could not ponder,
What did import the anguish that he prov'd.
But of his torments strange which did abound,
Ah, mans ingratitude did deepest wound.
O! wicked off-spring of a godly Sire,
Who saw the Saviour of the world arise,
That which your fathers did so oft desire,
Yet could not get that which you did despise:
Who mercy mock'd, prepare your selves for ire.
He lives, he lives, whose death you did devise.
His bloud (not spent in vaine) must wash, or drowne:
Those whom it doth not save, it shall sinke downe.
To rest on them and theirs, Iewes who did cry
For Christs contemned bloud, had what they sought;
“Then bloud, no burden with more weight doth lye,
Even as they his, so was their o'rethrow wrought:
They by the Roman power did make him dye,
And them the Roman power to ruine brought:
Whil'st for their cause, God every thing had curst,
Romes mildest Emperour prov'd for them the worst.
Ierusalem the faire, Iehovahs love,
Repudiated by disdainefull wrath.
A bastard race did beare, whom nought could move;
A vile adultresse violating faith;
Then did the worlds delight her terrour prove,
And harmes perform'd fore-told by sacred breath:
Nought rested where the stately City stood,
Save heapes of horrour rais'd of dust and bloud.
But (murd'ring Saints) in wickednesse grown bold,
That Town which long was drunk, last drown'd with bloud
That Town by which who bought the world was sold,
Sold with disgrace, beheld her scorned brood:
Them lov'd by God, men did in honour hold,
And loath'd by God, with them in horrour stood.
Then Iewes whom God high rais'd, and low doth bow,
What name more glorious once, more odious now?
When of salvation, joyfull newes were spread,
With spirituall grace, all nations to bedew,
Whil'st famish'd soules that sacred Nectar fed,
The Lord strange judgements, millions made to view,
And those who first fierce persecutions bred,
A jealous God with vengeance did pursue.
The wrath that he against his servants beares,
Is kindled by their sinne, quench'd by their teares.
By him who first 'gainst Christ did ensignes pitch,
His Brother, Mother, Wife, and selfe was slaine;
The great Apostate wounded in a ditch,
Did grant with griefe the Galileans raigne;
Of him whose errours did whole Realmes bewitch,
The death most vile, did viler doctrine staine.
“A monstrous death doth monstrous lives attend,
“And what all is, is judged by the end.

He who made Himens torch drop bloud, and teares,
(The nation most humane, growne inhumane)
Did bloud (when dead) at mouth, nose, eyes, and eares,
As vomiting his surfet so againe:
In crime, and crowne like charge his brother beares;
The bloudy band by mutuall blowes was slaine.
The King, the Duke, the Fryer, devis'd that ill,
The King the Duke, the Fryer the King did kill.
Whose sight is so eclips'd which now not sees,
In every Kingdome, Province, Towne and race,
On Princes, Subjects, men of all degrees,
What weighty judgements, sinners steppes doe trace?
Which not the Crowne, more then the Cottage frees?
The wicked man (sayes God) shall have no peace.
“A countenance calme may maske a stormy minde,
“But guiltinesse no perfect ease can finde.
Those temporall plagues are but small smoakes of ire,
To breach a breast which is not arm'd with faith,
And are when God due vengeance doth require,
Of indignation drops, weake sparkes of wrath;
As lightning is to hels eternall fire,
Or to a tempest huge, a little breath.
So are all those of this which I proclaime,
A puffe, a glance, a shadow, or a dreame.
As weigh'd by God, still ballanc'd hangs this round,
Which sinne (grown heavy) now quite downward beares;
Exhausted courage, horrour shall confound,
Till hopes high towers rest all o'reflow'd with feares:
All shall together fall, as by one wound,
Not having time to flye, no, not for teares.
On day as night (as on the wearied sleepe)
Death steales on life, and judgements way doth sweep.
All clearely see who lifes short race doe rinne,
Though this last judgement they would not admit,
That fatall doome inflicted first for sinne,
Which (whil'st not look'd for) doth most certaine hit,
And of all soules the processe doth beginne;
For straight when death arrests, the Iudge doth sit.
To beare this charge, all fortifie the minde,
“As death us leaves, so judgement shall us finde.
Death each man daily sees, but none fore-sees,
The wage of sinne, the Iubilee of cares,
First judgement threatned, base corruptions lees,
Inheritance that serves all Adams heires,
And marshalling (not partiall) all degrees,
The charge enjoyn'd for no respect that spares,
What agues, wounds, thoughts, pains, all breaching breath,
Are Heraulds, Serjeants, Vshers, posts of death.
Death dores to enter at, and darts to wound,
Hath as the heaven hath starres, or sea hath sands;
What though not sicke, not stab'd, not choak'd, burnt, drown'd,
Age matchlesse enemy all at last commands?
O what designes the Emperour pale doth bound,
Built of bare bones, whose arch triumphall stands!
Ah for ones errour, all the world hath wept,
The golden fruit, a leaden Dragon kept.

Then since sinnes hang-man, natures utter foe,
By whom true life is found, lifes shadow lost,
A thousand fancies interrupting so,
When least expected, doth importune most:
Haste, haste your recknings, all must pay, and goe,
Guests of the world, poore passengers that post,
“And let us strive (a change thus wisely made)
“To dye alive, that we may live when dead.
All thinke whil'st sound, what sicknesse may succeed,
How in the bed imprison'd ye may be,
When every object, loathsomnesse doth breed,
Within, without, that soule, or eyes can see,
To trembling nature, which still death doth dread,
Whil'st griefe paints horrour in a high degree,
The body in the bed, thoughts in it roule,
The conscience casting up a bitter scroule.
But when th'externall powers begin to faile,
That neither tongue can give, nor eares receive,
Friends (wretched comforters) retir'd to waile,
To agonize the soule alone doe leave,
Which Sathan straight with squadrons doth assaile,
Then bent to force whom first he did deceive;
Who once entic'd, then to accuse beginnes,
To wakened soules upbraiding buried sinnes.
That fatal conflict which all flesh doth feare,
By helpes from heaven, which foughten out, and wonne,
Whil'st soules to heaven triumphing Angels beare,
This mortall race magnanimously runne:
Of them that are to decke the highest sphere,
The soule shall shine more glorious then the Sunne.
Whil'st cloath'd with righteousnesse, a Priest, a King,
Hell where's thy victory, death where thy sting?
O! when to part, God doth the soule permit,
Rais'd from her shell, a pearle for Sion chus'd,
She recollects (accomplish'd ere she flit)
Her faculties amidst fraile flesh diffus'd;
As judgement, reason, memory, and wit,
Then all refin'd, no more to be abus'd.
And parts in triumph, free from earthly toiles,
Yet longs perchance to gather up her spoiles.
Let those great plagues (smoakes of our Makers ire)
Make all in time their inward state reforme,
Those plagues of which, loe, even to sing I tyre,
Ah, what doe those who beare their ugly forme!
Yet they but kindlings are of endlesse fire,
And little drops which doe foregoe a storme.
Look, look, with clouds heavens bosome now doth swell,
To blow the wicked to the lowest hell.



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Sir William Alexander