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Theophila Or Loves Sacrifice. Canto Iv - Poem by Edward Benlowes

O, DEUS, aut nullo caleat mihi Pectus ab Igne!
Aut solo caleat Pectus ab Igne Tui!
Languet ut Illa Deo, mihi Mens simul aemula languet!
Coelitùs ut rapitur, me Violenta rapit!

She Onset makes, first with Love--darts aloof;
Then, with Zeals Fire--works, storms Heav'ns Roof;
Whose Faiths Shield, & Salvations Helmet are Hell--proof.

THEOPHILA'S Soliloquie.

When Heav'ns Love! Paramount, Himself reveals,
And to the suppliant Soul, her Pardon seals,
At feard--Hopes doubtful Gate, wch trembling fell,

(Who Heav'n--ward sails, coasts by the Cape of Hell)
That Her He deigns to take, She joyes in Woes,
To have in Labour pass'd the Parturition Throes.

All Travell--pangs, all New--birth Heart--deep Groans,
All After--births of Penitential Mones,
Are swallow'd up in living Streams of Bliss;

When as the Heav'n--born Heir, the New--man is,
By th' quickning Spirit of the High'st reborn:
Time past hath pas'd her Night, present presents her Morn.

See Joy in Light, See Light in Joy; O, see,
Poor worthless Maid, Fruit brought thee from Lifes--Tree,
By th' Spouse & Spirit, Saints sole Supporters! Rise

Then, Hells Apostate, and be Heav'nly wise:
Thou art (Lets interpledge our Souls) my One,
My All, though not by Unitie, by Union!

Ineffably mysterious Knot begun;
Saints mount, as Dew allur'd by beckning Sun:
Loves faithful Friends, what parallels your Guard,

Where Truth is Sentinel, and Grace the Ward?
The Way is Flow'r--strown, where the Guide is Love:
His Spirit with you below, your Spirit with Him Above.

Reciprocal Excesse of Joy! Then, soar
My Soul to Him, Who Man became; Nay more,
Took Sin it self, to cleanse thy fully'd Clay,

But took it, only to take it away.
O, Self Donation! peerlesse Guift, unknown!
Now since that He is Thine, be never Thou thine own!

O, Prodigie of Great and Good! Faith, sound
This Loves Abysse, that do's so strangly bound
Almightines It Self! From Whose Veins, see,

Unsluc't, Loves purple Ocean, when His Free
Red--streaming Life did vanquish Death & Hell!
That thou might'st live, He dy'd! That thou might rise, He fell!

God so lov'd Man, that Naturalists may deem
God to set Man before Himself did seem!
When Man, with seeing blinde, 'gainst God arose,

And slew his only Friend, God sav'd his Foes!
Sol mour'nd in blacks! Heav'ns Vice--roy, Nature, swounded!
Excess Loves Reason was, Immensitie Love bounded!

Ye Twins of Light, as Sun--flow'rs be enclin'd
To th' Sun of Righteousnes; Let Taste, refin'd,
Like nothing as Loves Heav'nly Manna; and

Let all but Christ feel rough, as Esaus Hand;
Let nought like's Garment smell; Let Ears rejoyce,
But in expresles Dictates of Loves whisp'ring Voice!

He's thy bright Sun; 'twixt Whom, and thy Souls Bliss,
Thy earthie Body interposed is;
Whereby such dread Eclipses caused are,

As fam'd Astronomers can ne're declare:
Yet oft He shines; Then, vanish servile Fears;
Then, Heav'n--ward filial Hopes dry up thy trickling Tears.

Spiritual Light Spirituals clears: In Heav'n
Thou'lt view that full, what now by Glimps, like Steph'n
Thou canst but spy; There, shalt thou Face to Face,

His Light, His Joy, His Love, His Pow'r, His Grace,
And His All--Filling Glory clearly see
In optick Emanations from Eternitie!

I'th' Ring of boundless Luster, from whose Ray
This petty World gleaneth its peep of Day:
Thou shalt be Crown'd with Wreaths of endless Light:

Here, oft's an Enterview in Heat, and Might,
By Inter--lucidations from Above,
Twining Embraces with's ensphearing Arm of Love!

Most blessed Souls, to whom He do's appear,
Folded within your Arms chast Hemisphear!
O,Condescent! How's Lips shed Love! Life, Merit!

He makes his Angels Court of Guard! By's Spirit
He crowns you with his Grace! So, with his Blood,
When He Redeem'd you, and consign'd His Flesh for Food!

Meat came from th' Eater, from the Strong did Dew
Sweetnesse; when as, incomparably true,
Omnipotencies Self did largely shed

His mystick Oil of Joy upon thy Head:
Then, trample Sin in Babylons golden Cup;
Treasures away She trifles, Trifles treasures up.

Oyl of this Lamp, obsequious Soul, lights Thee
To thine approaching Heav'n in Sanctitie
Be actuated then; Being up assum'd

By this bright Sun, with this rich Oyl perfum'd,
Th' art prepossest with Heav'nly Comforts, which,
With their Soul--chearing Sweets, both ravish and enrich.

Poor, panting Heart, Loves Seat, yearn for Joys Pith!
To have (thy highest Bliss!) Communion with
The Father & the Son, one Spirit with Christ!

And One in Them, as They are One! Thou fly'st
Through Grace to Glory! Vision shall sublime
Thy Faith, Fruition Hope, Eternity thy Time!


Self! ô, how mean an Harmonie it breeds!
JESUS! All Names this Name of Names exceeds!
This Name's Gods Mercie at full Sea, 'tis Loves

High Tow'r, Joyes Loadstone; This, my Spirit moves.
Hark: Rise my Love, my Fair One, Come away;
Lingring breeds Losse; I am thy Leader, Light, and Way.

What Speed Speeds self can make, Soul, flie withall;
Greatnes and Goodnes most Magnetical!
Shoot, like a Flash of Fire, to th' ruby Wine,

His precious Blood, transcendently Divine!
(How poor those costly pearls were, drunk by Some)
My Lord, drink Blood to me! Let It to th' Worlds Health come!

All Hope's unanchor'd but in That. Thou art,
'Bove Indies Womb, rich to my Love--sick Heart!
Flesh--fair Endowments are but Skin--deep Brags,

Varnisht Corruption; Wealth is but Cares Bags;
The Bag impostom'd choaks. Gold, Beauty, Fame
Are sublunary Mysts to Saints Seraphick Flame.

JESUS! This fans my Fire, which has at best
But Grains of Incense, Pounds of Interest.
Go, Int'rest; Take the Principal, Thine own:

Divine Love loves thy Lovelines alone!
What Flames to Thine proportionable be!
LORD, had'st not first lov'd Man, Man could not have lov'd Thee!

Why lov'st us, but because Thou would'st? O, why
For Lepers would the Undefiled die?
That Pen was dipt i'th' Standish of thy Blood,

Which wrot th' Indenture of our termless Good!
O, Love, 'bove Wish! Never such Love enroll'd!
Who think their utmost Flames enough for Thee, are cold.

Whose Highnes did not to be low disdain,
Yet, when at Lowest, Highest did remain!
Who bow'dst Heav'ns Altitude, refresh with Flowrs,

With JESSES Sov'raign Flow'r, my fainting Pow'rs,
Which sink (as shaft--struck Hart embost) twixt Grief,
And Joy: Grief for my Sin, Joy for thy free Relief.

Wrackt is with bitter--sweet Extreams my Minde,
Shell'd, sheath'd, cag'd, coffin'd in her treacherous friend;
Her always tempting mass of Flesh She bears,

Her Hopes, did they not sprout from Thee, were fears:
Hope, Thou Perfume of Lovers, for thy Sake
Love's generous, throws at All: Life's but a petty Stake;

Scarce worth the Prize. Love makes two Spirits but one;
Me, Counterpart to thy Indenture, own;
I, active then as Light, tread Air and Flame,

Without or Wing, or Chariot; and disclaim
All the faint Sweets of Earth. Thy Spirit views
How in Loves torrid Zone thy sweltring Martyr stews.

Row me, ye Dove--wingd Oars, whom Hope do's buoy,
To wisht--for Hav'n, flowing with Tides of Joy!
Yet wish I not, my Joy, thy Joyes Above,

Meerly for Joy; nor Pleasures of thy Love,
Only for Love of Pleasure; No, let free
Spiritual Languors teem! Fruitful, yet Virgins be!

Give, give me Children, or I die! Love, rest
Thy Head upon the Pillows of my Breast!
When me Thou shalt impregn'd with Vertues make

A fruitful Eden, All the Frutage take!
Thy Passion, Jonathan, below did move;
Rapt Spirits, in high Excess flame with intensest Love!

My Life is hid with Thee in GOD! Descry
Thy Self, ô, Thou, my plighted Spouse, that I
May ever glorious be! That my joy'd Soul

With Thee may make up Marriage! and my whole
Self Thee for Bridegroom have! My Hope still sends
Up Come, that I may enter with thy feasted Friends!

O, That long--long'd for Come! ô, Come! mine Eyes,
Loves Sentinels, watch, like officious Spies!
Strike Sparks of Joy t' enflame Loves Tinder! make

The Exile view her Home, the Dreamer wake!
Tears raise the Fire of Love! Ease Sighs of Air,
Fires Passion, watry Tears, and earthy self Despair!

My Sighs, condens'd to Drops, compute Hours spent!
Cancell the Lease of my Clay--Tenement,
Which payes deer Rent of Groans! ô, grant a Writ

Of Ease! I languish out, not live! Permit
A Passe to Sions Mount! But, I resigne
My green--sick Will, though sick of Love, to that of Thine!

Waitings, which ripen Hopes, are not Delayes;
Presence how great, how true's Love, Absence saies:
While Lungs my Breath shall organ, I'l press still

Th' Exinanition of my o'regrown Will.
Behold, I quickly come. O're--joy'd I'm here!
O Come! Till then, each Day's an Age, each Hour a Year.

JESU! (That Name's Joyes Essence!) hasten on!
Throng amorous Sighs for Dissolution!
Fastidious Earth, avant; With Love--plumes soar,

My Soul, to meet thy Spouse. Can'st wish for more?
Only Come! give a RING! Re--eccho then,
O, Come. Even so, LORD JESU, Come! Amen. Amen.

Who's this Inamor'd Vot'resse? Like the Morn
From Mountain unto Mountain born?
Who first, with Night--drops dew'd, seem'd Turtle Dove forlorn?

But now, e're warped Body, neer Decay,
Stands, Bow--like, bent, to shoot away
Her Soul, Ere prone Looks kiss her Grave, e're her last Day,

She (Love--fill'd) wants no Mate, has rather one
Body too much. I'th' Spirits Throne
CHRISTS Peace is fullest Quire! Such Loneness, least alone!

When soft--flying Sleep, Deaths Sister, Wings do's spread
Over that curtain'd Grave, her Bed,
Then, with prophetick Dreams the Highest crowns her Head.

Behold, a comely Person, clad in white,
The all--inlightning Sun, lesse bright
Than that illustrious Face of His, which blest her Sight.

To Her, in Majestie, His Way HE broke,
And, softly thus to Her HE spoke.
Come, Come away. My JESUS? saies She. So, She woke.

Her Pray'rs, more passionate, than witty, rise,
As Sols Postilion, bright; her Eyes,
Wrastling with GOD for Grace, bedew Loves Paradise.

Betimes, when keen breath'd Winds, with frosty Cream,
Peri'wig bald Trees, glaze tatling Stream:
(For May--games past, white--sheet--peccavi is Winters Theme.

Those Day--breaks give good Morrows, wch she takes
With Thanks, so, doubly Good them makes.
Who in GODS Promise rests, in GODS Remembrance wakes.

Saints nothing more, Saints nothing lesse regard,
Than LOVES SELF, than self--Love; unscar'd,
Though rackt into an Anagram, their Souls being spar'd.

Through Vertuous Self--mistrust They acted move
Like Needle, toucht by th' Stone of Love.
Blest Magnet, which attracts, and Souls directs Above!

Were She but mortal, She were satisfy'd,
So GOD liv'd in Her, till She dy'd;
His Word, her Deed; his Will, her Warrant; Both, her Guide.

Thus, this Devota breaths out yerning Cries.
Let not Dust blinde my sensual Eyes,
When as my Spirits Energie transcends the Skies!

Virtues raise Souls. All's Filial to Above;
Low'st Step is Mercenary Love;
Fraternal are the Sides that Saints Ascent improve.

Manna to my enamour'd Soul, art THOU!
The Spirit of Heav'n, distill'd, do's flow
From thy Aspect; By That, from Brutes, we Angels

Had I, ô, had I many Lives, as Years;
As many Loves, as Love hath Fears;
All, All were Thine, had I as many Hearts, as Hairs!

From THEE my Joy--Extensions spreading flow;
Dilating, as Leaf--gold! be n't slow,
O, THOU, my All, and more! Love--lorn, THEE still I woo!

The Widow press'd, till THEE to grant She bound;
The Virgin sought Thee, till she found;
The Publican did knock, till opening, knocking crown'd.

Though nought but dross I in my self can spie,
Yet melted with Thy beaming Eye,
My Refuse turns to Gold, by mystick Alchymie;

Then, whet thy blunt Sythe, Time, and wing thy Feet:
Life, not in Length, but Use, is sweet:
Come, Death, (the Body brought a bed o'th' Soul) Come, fleet!

Be Pulse, my passing--Bell; be Skin, my Herse:
Nights sable Curtains that disperse
The Rayes of Day, be Shroud: Dews, weep my funeral Verse!

Pittie me, Love--sick Virgins! Then, She swound;
O'recome with Zeal, She sunk to th' Ground:
Darts of intolerable Sweets her Soul did wound.

She lay with flaming Love empierc't to th' Heart:
Wak't, As She bled, She kist the Dart;
Then sigh'd. Take all I am, or have! All, All Thou art!

Then, sunk again. Reviv'd, Loves Bow She bent,
And marry'd String to Shaft, and sent
Ejaculations, which the Skies, like Lightning, rent.

Piercing Them through (feather'd with Sighs) to show
She little pay'd, yet much did owe:
The Feathers sung, and fir'd, as they did upward go.

No ice--fring'd Cloud may quench Loves soaring Flame:
Love is more strong then Death, or Shame.
Grown up all Soul, the Flesh sinks in a triple Qualm.

I charge ye, Sion Virgins, let Her still
Enjoy her disencloystred Fill
In These high Extasies of Union and Will.

Do not with Claps of Hands, or noise of Feet,
Awake Her from what is more sweet,
Till the bright rising Day--star light Her to Heav'ns Street.

Yeeld Her, what her unfetter'd Rapture gives,
Since She's more where She loves, than lives:
Transanimations, scaling Heav'n, break carnal Gyves.

In Loves triumphant Chariot plac't She is;
Concentrick are her Joyes with His
Encharioted in Fire, her Spirit Heav'n--ripe for Blisse.

They're only sound, who Thus are lost in Trance;
Transported to the High'st Advance,
With Him, who was in Spirit rapt to' expresseless Glance.

Return'd; She cry'd. O, slay me thus again!
Ne're lives She who thus ne're is slain!
How sweet the Wounds of Love! No Pleasure to Loves pain!

In furnac't Heat, Pyrausta--like, I fry!
To live is Faith! 'tis Gain to die!
One Life's enough for Two! Thou liv'st in me, not I!

How, mid'st Regalios of Loves Banquet, I
Dissolve in Sweets Extremitie!
O, Languors! Thus to live is in pure Flames to die!

Three Kings three Gifts to th' King of Kings did bring;
Myrrhe, Incense, Gold, to Man, God, King:
For Myrrhe, Tears; Incense Pray'rs; Gold, take Loves Offering!

O, take Loves Hecatomb! Then, through her Eyes
Did Love inamoring Passions rise:
High'st Glory crowns Theophila's Love--Sacrifice.

Not She, Mortality alone did die;
Death's but Translation to the Skie:
All Virtues fir'd in her pure Breast their Spicerie.

As, when Arabias Wonder Spices brings,
Which fann'd to Flames by her own Wings,
She, from the glowing Holocaust in Triumph springs:

So, Virtues Pattern, (Priestesse, Altar, Fire,
Incense, and Victime) up did spire;
Victoria, Victoria, sung All Heav'ns Quire.

She Ecchoing (Eccho, which do's all surpasse!
GODS Sight is Glories Looking--glasse!)
Magnificats, Hosannas, Halleluiahs!

Pars Cursûs emensa mei, Pars restat aranda:
Ex aequo Metam Vesper & Ortus habent.
Ergo per immensos properent cava Lintea Fluctus:
Jactatam capiant Littora sancta Ratem!

-Amans Animâ satiatur Amantis.

View here the Authors high Designe,
His Book displaid, his Tapers shine,
Is Athenian Bird, the Dog, and Cat,
Which watchfull Study intimate.
THEOPHLA doth before Him stand
Amused wits erected Hand;
And, like an Eagle, upward flies,
Rapt by bright ANGELS to the SKIES.

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