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The Canticles Of Salomon - Chapter I - Poem by William Baldwin

The Churche vnto Christ.

O that my loue whome onely I desyre,
Which hath me brought from vayne to perfit blisse
To perfect fayth, from wurkes of worldly myer:
Would with his mouth witsafe his Spouse to kisse.

The Kisse o Christe, which I of thee require
Thy grace, thy peace, thy loue (my Loue it is:
Whiche while I lacke, thy fathers wrath and yre,
Condemnesh me for my first fathers misse.

The lawe (alas) the dutie of our hyer,
Skarce kept in ought, doeth styll agaynste me hisse:
Wherfore o Christe who quenched hast his fyer,
Through loue and grace, delyuer me from this.

Whiche styl to craue the more I me encline
Bycause thy Teates, thy consolacion swete
Muche better be than any kynde of wine:
Furth from the whiche the oyntmentes for me mete

Of truthe, of hope, of pacience diuine,
With al good gyftes of the holy goste doe flete.
My spouse the flesh hath dugges, but very drye
Of fooed or fruyte, saue what is very yll:

From them therfore to thee my Christe I flye,
Besechyng thee with thyne my lust to fyll.
And thou my God suffisaunce hast alwaye
For al mankynde, for euery soles relyef:

For all among that God annoynted aye,
Thou wast, and art, and euer shalte be chyef.
Thy name my Dear, that art aye permanent,
Ryght sonne of God that ruleth ouer all.

Moste wyse, moste iust, most good, omnipotent,
Whiche wast at fyrst and dure for euer shal,
This thy name is an oyntment poured furth,
Of power to saue al that theron doe cal.

Thou art our sauiour Christ, the kyng of wurth
That doest redeme vs from our fathers fal.
Thou, thou alone, with blud thy crosse besprent,
By mercie hast made free vs that wer thral.

This name of thyne my Loue, hath suche a sent
Where preachers sheade it as it doeth behoue,
That Damsels young, folke young in fayth are bent
With earnest zeale thy mercy muche to loue.

For whose encreace o God I doe thee pray
To endue me with thy grace: and so to draw
From carnal lustes, that plucke me styl away
From loue of thee and kepyng of thy law:

That in thy truth so earnest be I may,
Of lyfe so good, in charitie not raw,
That taught of me, these Younglynges may assay
To wurke thy wyl, whiche earst in me they saw.

The Younglynges To Christ.

The fear that kept vs long in dout
Through grosnes of the flesh,
Now lord alone thou driuest out,
And doest our soules rifreshe.
Sith then that for thy spouses sake
Our weake heartes thou hast wonne:
Unto the trueth we vs betake,
And after thee we runne.

The Spouse To The Younglinges.

Kyng Christe (ye yong) whose loue (ye saw) I sought,
Hath kissed me with his swete peace and grace.
He hath by fayth my troubled conscience brought
To peace and rest, his pleasaunt Chamber place

For whan the law that no man can fulfil,
Had made me dead and could me not reuiue.
Because the fleshe ful sore against my wil
Mayntaynd with sinne, did stil agaynst me striue,

With price of bloud, he freely bought me free,
Geuing me lyfe by loue, and made me iust.
His restful places, Loe ye yong, these be:
Whertil he bringes al those that in him trust.

The younglinges to Christ.

VVe wil reioyce and ioy in thee,
O Lorde omnipotent:
Whiche through thy mercy makest free
Them that to trueth be bent.
Thy fruteful teates that are so fyne,
Thy consolacions swete,
We wil remember more than wine:
Whiche are for vs most mete.
For fayth al onely in thy bloud
In God the fathers sight,
We are reputed iust and good:
Where woorkes are al to light.
Wherfore the yong whome thou for iust
By mercy doest approue,
In thee alone, put al their trust,
And mearely do thee loue.

The Churche To The Younglinges.

O ye fayer Daughters of Ierusalem,
Ye faythful folke whiche pleased are so wel
In Christes teates in whiche there is no wem,
And in his restful parlers where ye dwel:

Now take good heed, and learne ye al by me
In fayth to stande in stormie troubles stoute.
Loe I am blacke welfauored though I be:
For persecucion toucheth me without.

Without I am lyke to the Scithicke tentes,
Whiche outward blacke kepe treasures hyd within:
For though I be afflict with diuers dentes,
No farther yet pearce they than to the skin.

The peace of Christe doeth styll within me dwel,
And I am lyke to Salomons curtin:
For purple sylke, with fayth adorned wel,
And with Gods spirit, in stede of Cherubin.

Despise me not therfore though I be broun,
In syght of men bothe abiect, vayne and vyle:
For why the Sunne, euen Christe hath shyned doun,
And burnt my soule, whiche sinnes do sore defyle.

So that my wurkes appere now through his lyght,
Ful foule (God wote) the best not free from sin.
Yet by his beames that shyne on me so bright
I mortifie olde Adam hyd within.

Why I am blacke an other cause there is:
My mothers sonnes (for Eua is mother of all)
Fel out with me, the cause wherof is this:
I damne my wurkes, on Christes mercies I call,

True fayth in Christe all only maketh me iust.
Thus I beleue, wherat they all repyne,
And would compel me on my wurkes to trust.
Eke in theyr vines, theyr lawes to bad for swyne

They haue me set, a keper for to be.
Of Sathanas the Synagog they arre,
A minister wherof they dyd make me:
Which made me blacke, and doeth my beautie marre.

They made me thinke that false hypocrisie,
With ryghtles rites deuised by theyr brayne,
Were able ynough my soule to iustifie:
By meanes wherof, Kristes death I counted vayne.

And these theyr lawes repugnant to the truth,
Theyr vineyardes vile, I haue attended long.
But myne owne vyne, my soule euen from my youth,
I haue not kept, but euermore gone wrong.

The Spouse To Her Beloued.

O Christ my loue beloued of my soule,
I know that thou delyting in the light.
In mid day time, when men in fayth be hole,
Doest feede and rest, through pleasure and delight.

But in what place thou doest thee feede and rest.
I am not sure, wherfore I thee desyre
To teache me that, lest I with al the rest
By wandryng wyde, defyle vs in the myre.

The Churche malignant with her many mockes,
To be thy felow boldly doeth her boast,
And in thy name hath gathered myghty flockes:
Whiche straye abrode wel nygh in euery coast.

Newe foldes, new faythes, she dayly doeth diuice
Her flockes to feede, wherein alas they stray:
And as for thyne she counteth of no price,
Fraying by force, all shepe from them away.

Yet in thy name her office she doeth holde,
Makyng her vaunt that she the true Church is:
Enforcyng all that would be of thy folde,
Suche weedes to eat, as she hath sowen amis.

That I therfore lead not thy yong awrye,
Nor fall among thy fayned felowes flocke,
Enfourme me where thou doest thee feede and lye,
O Christ my lyght, my shepherd, and my rocke.

Christe To His Spouse.

Yf thou the fayrest of all woman kynde,
That euer I founde most faythful in dede,
Doest not of thy self know where me to fynde,
Except by my grace thou therto procede:

Because all wisdom of flesh is to blynde
To searche out the place where I lye and fede:
Because I thee loue and am to thee kynde,
The trueth wyl I teache thee: yf thou wylt spede,
Cum furth fro thy selfe.

Cum furth fro thy self, cum furth fro the darke--
sum trust in thy deades, wherof all the packe
That man may deuise, are not wurth a sparke
Of fayth in my blud, where can be no lacke.

Although that the church malignant doe barke,
Cum furth from her foldes: and bear on thy backe
My Lode, Crosse, and yoke, whiche shall be thy marke
For her to detest, and put thee to wracke:
Yet trace thou my steppes.

Yet trace thou my steppes, so shalt thou be sure
To gyde ryght thy yong, that long to be fed.
And sith that thou hast of suche taken cure
Whiche young are in truth, lyke kiddes lately bred,

Fyrst feede theym with mylke, let loue theym allure:
Than strength theym with fayth, (of scripture the head)
By good shepheardes tentes, my wurd that is pure.
Learne theym by the lyfe of Saynctes that are dead
In fayth to be firme.

Christe To His Spouse.

Thee (o my Spouse) which doest the thinges that I requier,
Which longtime strayedst wyde, to sin a captiue thrall:
I lyken to myne Oast, myne Angels bryght as fyer,
But yockt in Pharaos cartes, the captayne principall
Of hell, of hell.

From whose power I thee quit so soone as faythfully
Thou dydst in me beleue, and haue thee armed so
With giftes of grace diuine, that except wylfully
Thou yelde, not sin, nor death haue myght to wurke thee wo,
Nor hel, nor hel.

For why thy Chekes be fayer, I mean thyne outwarde hue,
Whiche beautified by me, that am thy bodies head,
Shyne lyke to the holy goste, (whiche is the turtle true)
With loue, with grace and lyght, and beautie ouerspred,
Full well, full well.

Thy necke, that is thy fayth by whiche thou doest receyue
All gyftes whiche I thee geue, as iustice, lyfe, and grace,
Is lyke a golden ouche that doeth no syght deceyue,
Whiche vyler thynges help not, but may it foule disgrace
Ryght well, ryght well.

Bycause therfore thy necke, thy perfect fayth is pure:
Least with the lawes of men, thou do it foully fyle,
Euen we the Trinitie wyl make thee a neckebonde sure,
Beset with syluer spanges, wurkes for thy fayth not vyle,
But good, but good.

Good wurkes that shall procede of fayth, as humblenes
Toward vs the Lorde thy God, obedience to our wyl:
With loue, all suche to help as shalbe succourles.
This neckebande shalt thou wear these wurkes accept we wyll
For good, for good.

The Spouse To The Younglynges.

VVyle that I walkt in wurkes of mannes deuice,
Thinkyng my self of power my selfe to saue,
I dyd good dedes, but they wer of no price:
For faulte of fayth I coulde no merit haue.

But after Christe had sowed in my brest
The seede of fayth, through his beneuolence:
And as a Kyng had layed hym doune to rest
Vpon his Couche, my quiet conscience:

Than dyd my Narde, myne oyntment of belief
Yelde furth the smell, the fruteful wurkes of faythe,
Among the which my charitie for chief
God doeth accept, and most of value wayeth.

So that my Loue whome I to be doe know
A bundle of Myrrhe, though bytter, yet in seint
Excedyng good, and makyng all thynges slow
For to corrupt, that therwithal be meint:

Betwene my brestes, suche cumfort as I show
To all that nede, delyteth for to dwel.
Ye Christe my Loue from whom all fayth doeth flow,
In me his Churche so pleasauntly doeth smell,

That to my taste he is the goodly grayne
Of Cypresse swete, whiche commonly doeth spryng
Among the vines, the elect that do remayne
In Engaddi, Gods truth, the true kyddes spryng.

Christe To His Spouse.

Loe thou my Loue, art fayer:
Myselfe haue made thee so,
Yea thou art fayer in dede,
Wherefore thou shalt not nede
In beautie to dispayer:
For I accept thee so
For fayer.

For fayer, because thyne iyes
Are lyke the Culuers, whyte:
Whose simplenes in dede
All others doe excede:
Thy iudgement wholly lyes
In true sence of spryte,
Moste wyse.

The Spouse To Her Beloued.

Thou thou o Christe, it is that arte so fayer,
YeĆ  my Beloued, most beautifull art thou:
As for my borowed beautie may appayer,
Whiche wer but fylth except thou it allow.

But sith thou Lorde, moste fayre, moste beautiful,
Imputest to me parte of thy beautie bryght,
Beholde our Bed, our peace most plentiful
Of conscience, doeth florish through thy myght.

Our houses eke of fayth wherin we dwell,
Haue sylynges fine, the scriptures truly taught,
Of Cedre tree, whose euerlastyng smel
Shal styll endure whan all thynges cum to naught.

With these sylynges Crosse ioynters ioyned are
Of Cypresse swete, a wood that wyl not rot:
Good wurkes in whiche we do our fayth declare,
Through lyuely loue, with death that dyeth not.

Here endeth the first chapter.

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