SALVE DEUS REX IUDÆORUM - Aemilia Lanyer Poems


Poems » emilia lanyer » salve deus rex iudaorum


Now Pontius Pilate is to judge the Cause
Of faultlesse Jesus, who before him stands;
Who neither hath offended Prince, nor Lawes,
Although he now be brought in woefull bands:
O noble Governour, make thou yet a pause,
Doe not in innocent blood imbrue thy hands;
    But heare the words of thy most worthy wife,
    Who sends to thee, to beg her Sauiours life.

Let barb'rous crueltie farre depart from thee,
And in true Iustice take afflictions part;
Open thine eies, that thou the truth mai'st see,
Doe not the thing that goes against thy heart,
Condemne not him that must thy Sauiour be;
But view his holy Life, his good desert.
    Let not vs Women glory in Mens fall,
    Who had power giuen to ouer-rule vs all.

Eues Apologie

Till now your indiscretion sets vs free,
And makes our former fault much lesse appeare;
Our Mother Eue, who tasted of the Tree,
Giuing to Adam what shee held most deare,
Was simply good, and had no powre to see,
The after-comming harme did not appeare:
    The subtile Serpent that our Sex betraide,
    Before our fall so sure a plot had laide.

That vndiscerning Ignorance perceau'd
No guile, or craft that was by him intended;
For had she knowne, of what we were bereau'd,
To his request she had not condiscended
But she (poore soule) by cunning was deceau'd,
No hurt therein her harmelesse Heart intended:
    For she alleadg'd Gods word, which he denies,
    That they should die, but even as Gods, be wise.

But surely Adam can not be excusde,
Her fault though great, yet hee was most too blame;
What Weaknesse offerd, Strength might haue refusde,
Being Lord of all, the greater was his shame:
Although the Serpents craft had her abusde,
Gods holy word ought all his actions frame,
    For he was Lord and King of all the earth,
    Before poore Eue had either life or breath.

Who being fram'd by Gods eternall hand,
The perfect'st man that ever breath'd on earth;
And from Gods mouth receiu'd that strait command,
The breach whereof he knew was present death:
Yea hauing powre to rule both Sea and Land,
Yet with one Apple wonne to loose that breath
    Which God had breathed in his beauteous face,
    Bringing vs all in danger and disgrace.

And then to lay the fault on Patience backe,
That we (poore women) must endure it all;
We know right well he did discretion lacke,
Beeing not perswaded thereunto at all;
If Eue did erre, it was for knowledge sake,
The fruit beeing faire perswaded him to fall:
    No subtill Serpents falshood did betray him,
    If he would eate it, who had powre to stay him?

Not Eue, whose fault was onely too much loue,
Which made her giu this present to her Deare,
That what shee tasted, he likewise might proue,
Whereby his knowledge might become more cleare;
He neuer sought her weakenesse to reproue,
With those sharpe words, which he of God did heare:
    Yet Men will boast of Knowledge, which he tooke
    From Eues faire hand, as from a learned Booke.

If any Euill did in her remaine,
Beeing made of him, he was the ground of all;
If one of many Worlds could lay a staine
Vpon our Sexe, and worke so great a fall
To wretched Man, by Satans subtill traine;
What will so fowle a fault amongst you all?
    Her weakenesse did the Serpents words obay;
    But you in malice Gods deare Sonne betray.

Whom, if vniustly you condemne to die,
Her sinne was small, to what you doe commit;
All mortall sinnes that doe for vengeance crie,
Are not to be compared vnto it:
If many worlds would altogether trie,
By all their sinnes the wrath of God to get;
    This sinne of yours, surmounts them all as farre
    As doth the Sunne, another little starre.

Then let vs have our Libertie againe,
And challendge to your selues no Sov'raigntie;
You came not in the world without our paine,
Make that a barre against your crueltie;
Your fault beeing greater, why should you disdaine
Our beeing your equals, free from tyranny?
    If one weake woman simply did offend,
    This sinne of yours, hath no excuse, nor end.

To which (poore soules) we neuer gave consent,
Witnesse thy wife (O Pilate) speakes for all;
Who did but dreame, and yet a message sent,
That thou should'st haue nothing to doe at all
With that just man; which, if thy heart relent,
Why wilt thou be a reprobate with Saul?
    To seeke the death of him that is so good,
    For thy soules health to shed his dearest blood.

Yea, so thou mai'st these sinful people please,
Thou art content against all truth and right,
To seale this act, that may procure thine ease
With blood, and wrong, with tyrannie, and might;
The multitude thou seekest to appease,
By base deiection of this heauenly Light:
    Demanding which of these that thou should'st loose,
    Whether the Thiefe, or Christ King of the Jewes.

Base Barrabas the Thiefe, they all desire,
And thou more base than he, perform'st their will;
Yet when thy thoughts backe to themselues retire,
Thou art vnwilling to commit this ill:
Oh that thou couldst vnto such grace aspire,
That thy polluted lips might neuer kill
    That Honour, which right Iudgement euer graceth,
    To purchase shame, which all true worth defaceth.

Art thou a Judge, and asketh what to do
With one, in whom no fault there can be found?
The death of Christ wilt thou consent vnto,
Finding no cause, no reason, nor no ground?
Shall he be scourg'd, and crucified too?
And must his miseries by thy meanes abound?
    Yet not asham'd to aske what he hath done,
    When thine owne conscience seeks this sinne to shunne.

Three times thou ask'st, What euill hath he done?
And saist, thou find'st in him no cause of death,
Yet wilt thou chasten Gods beloued Sonne,
Although to thee no word of ill he saith:
For Wrath must end, what Malice hath begunne,
And thou must yield to stop his guiltlesse breath.
    This rude tumultuous rowt doth presse so sore,
    That thou condemnest him thou shouldst adore.

Yet Pilate, this can yeeld thee no content,
To exercise thine owne authoritie,
But vnto Herod he must needes be sent,
To reconcile thy selfe by tyrannie:
Was this the greatest good in Iustice meant,
When thou perceiu'st no fault in him to be?
    If thou must make thy peace by Virtues fall,
    Much better 'twere not to be friends all.

Yet neither thy sterne browe, nor his great place,
Can draw an answer from the Holy One:
His false accusers, nor his great disgrace,
Nor Herods scoffes; to him they are all one:
He neither cares, nor feares his owne ill case,
Though being despis'd and mockt of euery one:
    King Herods gladnesse giues him little ease,
    Neither his anger seekes he to appease.

Yet this is strange, that base Impietie
Should yeeld those robes of honour, which were due;
Pure white, to shew his great Integritie,
His innocency, that all the world might view;
Perfections height in lowest penury,
Such glorious pouerty as they neuer knew:
    Purple and Scarlet well might him beseeme,
    Whose pretious blood must all the world redeeme.

And that Imperiall Crowne of Thornes he wore,
Was much more pretious than the Diadem
Of any King that ever liu'd before,
Or since his time, their honour's but a dreame
To his eternall glory, beeing so poore,
To make a purchasse of that heauenly Realme;
    Where God with all his Angels liues in peace,
    No griefes, nor sorrowes, but all joyes increase.

Those royall robes, which they in scorne did giue,
To make him odious to the common sort,
Yeeld light of Grace to those whose soules shall liue
Within the harbour of this heauenly port;
Much doe they joy, and much more doe they grieue,
His death, their life, should make his foes such sport:
    With sharpest thornes to pricke his blessed face,
    Our ioyfull sorrow, and his greater grace.

Three feares at once possessed Pilates heart;
The first, Christs innocencie, which so plaine appeares;
The next, That he which now must feele this smart,
Is Gods deare Sonne, for any thing he heares:
But that which proou'd the deepest wounding dart,
Is Peoples threat'nings, which he so much feares,
    That he to C{ae}sar could not be a friend,
    Vnlesse he sent sweet IESVS to his end.

Now Pilate thou art proou'd a painted wall,
A golden Sepulcher with rotten bones;
From right to wrong, from equitie to fall:
If none vpbraid thee, yet the very stones
Will rise against thee, and in question call
His blood, his teares, his sighes, his bitter groanes:
    All these will witnesse at the latter day,
    When water cannot wash thy sinne away.

Canst thou be innocent, that gainst all right,
Wilt yeeld to what thy conscience doth withstand?
Beeing a man of knowledge, powre, and might,
To let the wicked carrie such a hand,
Before thy face to blindfold Heau'ns bright light,
And thou to yeeld to what they did demand?
    Washing thy hands, thy conscience cannot cleare,
    But to all worlds this staine must needs appeare.

For loe, the Guiltie doth accuse the Iust,
And faultie Iudge condemnes the Innocent;
And wilfull Iewes to exercise their lust,
With whips and taunts against their Lord are bent;
He basely vs'd, blasphemed, scorn'd and curst,
Our heauenly King to death for vs they sent:
    Reproches, slanders, spittings in his face,
    Spight doing all her worst in his disgrace.