Poems » joshua sylvester » du bartas his divine weeks and works


   But ev'n as many (or more) quarrels cumber
Th' old heathen schools about the heavens' number.
One holds but one; making the world's eyes shine
Through the thin-thickness of that chrystal line,
(As through the ocean's clear and liquid flood
The slippery fishes up and down do scud).
Another, judging certain by his eye,
And, seeing sev'n bright lamps mov'd diversely,
Turn this and that way: and, on th' other side,
That all the rest of the heav'ns' twinkling pride
Keep all one course; ingeniously, he varies
The heav'ns' rich building into eight round stories.
Others, amid the starriest orb, perceiving
A triple cadence, and withal conceiving
That but one natural course one body goes,
Count nine, some ten; not numb'ring yet (with those)
Th' empyreal palace, where th' eternal treasures
Of nectar flow, where everlasting pleasures
Are heaped-up, where an immortal May
In blissful beauties flourisheth for ay,
Where life still lives, where God his sises holds
Environ'd round with seraphins and souls
Bought with his precious blood, whose glorious flight
Erst mounted earth above the heavens bright.
Nor shall my faint and humble Muse presume
So high a song and subject to assume.

      All-hail fair Earth, bearer of towns and towers,
Of men, gold, grain, physic, and fruits and flowers;
Fair, firm, and fruitful, various, patient, sweet,
Sumptuously clothed in a mantle meet
Of mingled-colour; lac'd about with floods,
And all embroider'd with fresh blooming buds,
With rarest gems richly about embost,
Excelling cunning, and exceeding cost.
All-hail great heart, round base, and steadfast root,
Of all the world, the world's strong fixed foot,
Heav'n's chastest spouse, supporter of this all,
This glorious building's goodly pedestal.
All-hail dear mother, sister, hostess, nurse
Of the world's sovereign: of thy liberal purse,
W'are all maintained: matchless emperess,
To do thee service, with all readiness,
The spheres before thee bear ten thousand torches:
The fire, to warm thee, folds his heatful arches
In purest flames above the floating cloud:
Th' air, to refresh thee, willingly is bow'd
About the waves, and well content to suffer
Mild Zephyr's blasts, and Boreas bellowing rougher:
Water, to quench thy thirst, about thy mountains
Wraps her moist arms, seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains.

And though our soul live as imprison'd here
In our frail flesh, or buried (as it were)
In a dark tomb; yet at one flight she flies
From Calpe t'Imaus, from the earth to skies;
Much swifter than the chariot of the sun,
Which in a day about the world doth run.
For, sometimes, leaving these base slimy heaps,
With cheerful spring above the clouds she leaps,
Glides through the air; and there she learns to know
Th' originals of wind, and hail, and snow,
Of lightning, thunder, blazing-stars, and storms,
Of rain, and ice, and strange exhaled forms.
By th' air's steep-stairs, she boldly climbs aloft
To the world's chambers: heaven she visits oft,
Stage after stage: she marketh all the spheres,
And all th' harmonious, various course of theirs:
With sure account, and certain compasses,
She counts their stars, she metes their distances
And differing paces; and, as if she found
No subject fair enough in all this round,
She mounts above the world's extremest wall,
Far, far beyond all things corporeal;
Where she beholds her Maker, face to face,
(His frowns of justice, and his smiles of grace)
The faithful zeal, the chaste and sober port
The sacred pomp of the celestial court.