Jeremiah's Contemplations On Jeremiah's Lamentations
About this text
ENGLANDS Miseries matcht
with SIONS Elegies.
Described and unfolded in five
By JEREMIAH RICH,
JOB 22. v. 21.
Acquaint thy selfe with God, and be at peace,
thereby good shall come unto thee.
Printed for JOHN STEVENSON,
and are to be sold at his shop, at the Sunne
below Ludgate Hill. 1648.
PUBLISHED FOR John Stevenson
1. CHAP. I.
HOw sad doth Sion sit? how doth she hide
Her face in mourning? Like a forlorne Bride
Whose husband is departed, when deaths charms
Doth seperate Lovers from each others armes;
How doth she weep? the famous City now
Is weake and desolate, her Bulworkes bow
Their proud imperious necks to the vaine glory
Of the proud Enemy, and is tributory.
Her lovely cheeks, and her inchanting eie,
Where sat inthron'd a Princely Majestie,
Are bath'd in silent streames of flowing feares,
As if shee'd make them lovely with her teares:
Among her amorous Lovers there are none
Can give her comfort, but increase her moane;
Nay all her Lovers they forsake her too,
And doe as all dissemblers use to doe.
Victorious Judah she doth prisoner lye,
Fetter'd in chaines, in strong captivity;
Against the prisoners cry she stopt her cares;
And now the rampant Lion's full of feares:
Now glorious Judah, she that bore the bell
From the twelve Tribes of warlike Israell,
Now dwels among the heathen: and the head
Of Kingly Sion is dishonoured.
Those fragrant walkes, and those alluring wayes,
Do seeme to mourne, because no mirth, nor prayse,
No Feast, nor Sacrifice is in her gate.
Ah! lovely Land, how art thou desolate!
The holy Priest with teare bedewed eyes
Laments and sighs: the maidens Lover dyes,
And now poore Sion must her boddy dresse,
In darke, in dismall, mournfull heavines.
Her thundring Foes are lofty, they are high
That are the Actors of her Tragedy;
Her Pride and Insolence first brought this Rod,
Nor is it more then just that Israels God
Should sometimes lash his owne: since their owne Crimes
Spurr'd on their ruine to these dismall Times.
The Fathers sins have wrought the Childrens woe:
The Childrens griefe the Fathers overthrow.
That lovely beauty which did often shine
More glorious than the day with grace divine:
Those amorous glances once which had the art
To blind the Lovers eye and steale his heart,
Are now deformed; and the ashy hand
Of death hath spoyl'd the glory of the Land.
The Royall Princes which possest the Throne
Of Kingly Majesty are fled and gone.
Now sad Jerusalem sits and calls to mind
All her Rebellion: Ah she was unkind
To sin against her Lord, who checked Kings
For Sions sake, and gave her pleasant things;
Had she but clave to him, as he was just,
Shee had not laid her honour in the dust;
Nor been a scorne for fooles which sometimes say,
What gained Israell by the Sabbath day?
And wonder not Jerusalem is so mockt
Of all that hate her; for her sins have rockt
Her senses to a slumber, none do show
The sad approaching of her overthrow;
The lovely City now they much despise,
Who sometimes honoured her, their lofty eyes
Looke scornefull one her in her misery; thus
That face is loath'd that was so amorous.
Her shame lies hid to none both foe and friend,
Yet she remembred not her latter end,
Therefore her fall was wondrous sudden; oh
Why went poore Sion slumbring to her woe?
And who shall comfort poore Jerusalem now?
O glorious God looke on my miseries, thou
Art alsufficient, thou canst blow aside
The hopes of Mortalls in their height of pride.
And now the furious Foe hath stretcht his hand
On her rich Ornaments, and pleasant Land:
And 'cause he thought this not enough to do,
Thy Sanctuary is polluted too:
Although O Lord thou once didst give command
That no false stranger in a forreigne Land
Should dare to come with his unhallowed eyes
Where thine Annointed offer Sacrifice.
Ah me, who shall relieve me with some bread?
Our hearts are faint with hunger, feare and dread
Hath fill'd my tottering soule, where shall I flye
That Famine finde me not and so I dye?
My Garments, Jewels, Bracelets, and my Rings,
Houses, and Vineyards, all my pleasant things
I give for bread unto the angry foe;
Thou seest O Lord our soules are wondrous low.
Looke backe ye travellers, O cast your eye
Ye wandring strangers that are passing by;
If you have any pitty come and see
If any Nation were so low as me;
What sorrow is like mine? what sufferings can
Compare with Sions, that befalleth man?
While the displeasure of my angry God
Sweeps off my glory with his lashing Rod?
The burning fury of the high Jehove
Makes faint my heart, his jealousie above
Prevailes against me, and I sit in doubt
How to get in his favour, or how out
Of his displeasure; ah there is a net
Spread for my feet: a scorching furnace her
To burne me from my drosse, that I may be
Refin'd from sin, and Sathans Empery.
All my transgressious as a heavy yoake
Are fastened by his arme, and every stroake
Is laid upon my neck: my heart is weake
Since my accused soule those Lawes did breako
Which I was bound to keep; the Almighty hand
Of Israels God hath wasted Israels Land;
My glory is departed, and mine eyes
Behold no meanes for ever to arise.
Those mighty Warriers which did shelter round
The Gates of Sion, whose brave deeds redound
To Israels glory, and their Enemies wonder,
Lie bleeding on the ground, and trodden under;
The Lord hath call'd a counsell to consound
All Judah's glory on the Crimson ground;
The bleeding bodies of the young men joyne,
He trod them under as they tread the Vine.
For these things do I weepe, mine eye, mine eye,
Doth wash my Cheeckes; oh, what felicity
Can sad Ierusalem have in these diasters! nay,
Those that should comfort me arefar away;
My Land is desolate, all my friends are laine
In strong Captivity, and my Children slaine:
My God hath left me to the Enemies power,
Ah, who will caseme in this troubled houre?
Now lovely Sion sits with silent moanes;
She would implore some help by her deep groanes,
Alas, but there is none; the furious Foe
Desireth nothing but her overthrow.
The Lord hath lay'd a mighty siege about
The Tents of Jacob: and she sits in doubt
Of her deliverance, while her Foes deride
And loath her Actions as a wanton Bride.
And yet our God is just and righteous too,
Though sad Ierusalem knowes not what to do;
The Royall City dow does mourne because
She oft rebell'd against his righteous Lawes.
Ye neighbouring Nations that Spectatours be,
That sometimes looke upon my Tragedy,
Behold my Virgins and my young men go
To long Captivity and ling ring woe.
My dearest lovers which should have reliev'd me,
As sometimes Lovers do, they quite deceiv'd me;
The Priest, and Elders both for hunger faile,
Their lookes are wan, their countenance is pale,
Their bodies weake, and giddy is their head,
Their strength does faile their wills for lack of bread;
They seeke for food and find their labour vaine,
Famine, and Death doth in the Kingdome raigne.
Yet O my Lord, how do my bowells yearne
For mourning Israel, the Foes are stearne,
My bowels swell, my heart is turned too
With woe and griefe, what shall poore Sion do?
How can Jerusalems sorrowes but possesse
My troubled soule with woe and heavinesse?
At home the Famine reignes, the people dye,
Abroad the Sword doth compleat misery.
Ierusalem knowes I dayly fit and weep;
Ah, had security nere lull'd asleep
This glorious Nation, earths admired prize,
We should not then have drencht our watry eyes
In teares for Israels woe, nor been so sad:
But now our Enemies skoffe, our Foes are glad;
Our Nation once was high and glorious,
But now are poore; Lord make our Enemies thus.
Oh Lord let all their sins come up to thee,
And do to them as thou hast done to me;
Puffe all their glory out, and let them dye
Like to false joy in midst of miserie;
And let us be delivered by thy Will
Though we have sin'd and oft done wondrous ill;
O heare my sighs, do not forget my moanes,
My eart is faint with oft repeated groanes.
2. CONTEMPLATION II.
THe lab'ring Watch is idle, if the Spring
Be not wound up; and thus in ev'ry thing
There is a Motion; for the Soule doth trace
The Lawes of Nature, or the Rules of Grace:
Our hearts are cold, and various, like the Moone,
Each minute changing; if the righteous Sunne
Shine not upon us, all the world may marke
Our Motion standing, and our Glory darke.
But when the high Creator shewes his face,
And clothes the Mortall with diviner Grace,
The brave Heroick heart aspires to shroud
His Contemplation loftier then a Cloud.
What amorous beautie in the world can shine
Like to the Graces of a Soule Divine?
No black Disaster here can ever maske
That lovely Face, no troubles stay her Taske;
No mists of miserie eclipse her motion,
Nor no delusion hinder her devotion.
The Soule is full of Raptures, and her eyes
Reacheth Eternitie, above the Skyes;
Th'amorous Soule on Earth is wondrous coy,
Desiring nothing else but heavenly joy.
Yet can it be, as this lamented story
Makes evident, that Heaven should hide Glory
From such an honoured Soule, which even
Hath glorify'd from all eternitie?
And doth he give the Enemie his owne Place?
Hath God, like Janus, got a double face?
Doth the base Enemie so high aspire,
Whom oft he threatneth with consuming fire?
Yea, and their prosp'rous State does oft redowne,
To magnifie the honour of Heavens Crowne.
The Usurer, whose back beares all the Curses
Of his poore neighbour, could he fill his Purses
By being godly, he would venture too
To pray to Heaven, as the godly doo;
And could the base Adulterer bring to passe
His filthy ends, and meet a hand-smooth Lasse
Each Sabbath day at Church, this fellow he
Would be an ugly hearer constantly:
The proud man he would make an ugly face,
And pray, and heare, if this would give a place
Of gaine and honour to his high Ambition;
Thus holy Writ should serve each base condition.
But now, the glorious Soule which Heaven aspires,
His heart is warmed by Diviner fires;
His life is circumspect, his blushing face
Weares the high ornaments of heavenly Grace:
This Soule is nobly righteous, and it leanes
On its Creator in the most extreames.
If sinne assaults the Soule, it soone will flie
To the high mansion of Eternitie
For its protection; there, with trembling feares
She bathes her bosome with repenting teares:
The lovely Heaven borne Soule has no false ends;
The feare of Enemies, nor the love of friends,
Shall ne'r ensnare her from those Joyes above;
For why? th'amorous Soule hath fixt her love
Upon her glorious Saviour: neverthelesse,
She oft may sit in woe and heavinesse,
And be in many an earthly contemplation;
When Heav'n brings War and Ruine on a Nation,
Then earthly reasonings may whisper loud,
When Heaven is cov'red with a sable Cloud
Of bloudie War and Famine, when they poure
Those dismall drops in such a dreadfull Showre
On one distracted Kingdome, then what way,
When darknesse does eclipse the light of day,
Is there for soules to wander, when its eyes
Are bloudshot to behold those villanies
Which bloudy Actors play; when War shall reigne
In height of envy, numerous bodies slaine
Imbracing gentle earth; when death shall vaile
Man in mortality, all faces pall
Because of hungry famine; when the Child
For want of friend and food is far exil'd
From present necessaries, and therefore lies
With deaths pale Image in his tender eyes;
And when heavens darts shall flye like Sim & Jim,
The soule is sad, her funerall lights burne dimme;
When life is turn'd to death, and food to feare,
She sometimes weeps as did the Prophets here;
Yet with a laden heart, and watry eye,
The soule doth sometimes mutter this reply.
Unconstant state of earth, shall any he
That is but dust, direct eternitie
By his vaine babling? can mortall man
Guide the Celestiall Orbs by wisdome? can
He rule the earth by power? can he stay
The Steeds of Phoebus, and tye up the day?
Nay, can he rule himselfe, or guid his mind?
Are not his waies as wavering as the wind?
And wilt thou teach thy Maker? since thy birth,
What hast thou been thou peece of moving earth?
What, hath thy tottring soule no faith at all?
Or is thy love to heaven so wondrous small?
Hath all this Un verse so little rest
To give a tired heart? and yet possest
With love of this low earth my Saviour dy'd,
That through his death I might be glorified;
And shall I now resuse to dye for him?
Hath fin made these darke eyes so quickly dimme?
No, let this earthly man through fire be try'd,
My soule shall live with him for whom I dy'd;
Where in the Canopy of his beauteous breast,
I shall sleep safe with undisturbed rest;
Have I so little power to controule
The assaults of sin and death? Alas poore soule!
Be gone my numerous feares, away, away,
After a tempest comes a shining day;
See, see, what dazling glory is behind
You darkned cloud, looke up my muzzled mind,
Flie on the wings of contemplation; see,
Thy journies end is high Eternity.
And this, deare Reader, does most oft redowne
To heavens honour, when earths troubles drowne
The Saints sometimes in sorrow; earth's a toy,
And this disjunction fits the soule for joy;
When on the other side, if heaven should give
A royall Legacie that Saints might live
On earth most long and happy, then might vice
Count heaven a paine, and earth a Paradise;
And if the world should often heare or see
That Saints did live in high prosperity,
Each wretch would turne a Saint for his owne end,
Looking for earth by making heaven his friend.
But now go on brave soule, do thou contemne
All wordly pompe; a royall Diadem
Shall crowne thy arched browes, thy present paine
Thou wilt not reckon when thou com'st to raigne;
Heaven shal receive thee, earth shall raise thy name
In spight of sinners or their blasted fame;
And as thy body rests in deaths darke tent,
This verse shall stand upon thy monument:
This valiant mortall by a second birth,
Enjoy'd a Crowne in heaven, conquer'd earth.
3. CHAP. IV.
HOw dull's the finest Gold? how quickly dim
Is the bright Glory of that Diadem
That once adorn'd Jerusalems Browes in State?
Where is the King, the Priest, and Potentate?
Her Priests do faint, and in each corner swound;
Those orient Pearles are scatt'red on the ground,
As if they were most needlesse; high and low
Doe all fall blasted, to compleat our woe.
Where are those Noble Worthies Fame presents,
Sonnes of high honour, Natures ornaments,
And Sions glory; in whose serious eye
Knowledge was seated in high Majestie,
To judge each loose offender? Ah me! may
Such Clouds of Thunder now be Clods of Clay?
Can the high Potter make such Vessels poore?
Away vaine honour, and delude no more.
Is Love and Nature banisht and exil'd?
Can the fond Mother once forget her Child?
She can, and will, she does: Oh wondrous strange!
How doth the Glory of Jerusalem change?
The carelesse Ostridge, and the swinish Bore,
The poys'nous Dragon, and the Lyons rose
For lack of food, yet give their young the brest,
But Famine lulls these Babes to endlesse rest.
Alas, poore Babe, why doth thy dying soule
Strive to live longer, and thy heart controule
Deaths summons to the grave, whose ashie hand
Shall passe thy soule into the promis'd Land?
His tongue is parcht with thirst, he cannot speake,
He would implore some Bread, but none wil breake
It to his pining soule; at last his eye
Is clos'd, in slumbring endlesse Lullaby.
How is our labour Alchymiz'd to losse?
How is our Gold and Silver turn'd to drosse?
How is our Beautie metamorphos'd? how
Doth furious Famine furrow up our brow?
He that did feed in Silver, dranke in Gold,
Now starv'd for hunger, almost pin'd with Cold;
And she that once could boast of honor'd birth,
Lyes now imbracing of her Mother Earth.
And is there nor a Cause, oh wretched wee,
That we are follow'd with Calamitie?
Are not our sinnes more great then Sodomes Cryes,
Which pierc'd the Ayre, and fill'd the Azure Skyes
With Clouds of dreadfull Thunder? Goods and Names,
In the descending and aspiring flames,
Were burnt to ashes in a hastie howre,
By the Almighties unresisted powre.
Those comely Nazarites, whose lovely faces
Resembled Snow, inricht with am'rous graces
Of uncontroubled Love, and were more red
Then polisht Saphir; on whose hoarie head
Were threds of tangled Gold in stead of haire,
Where Love united Art, Neglect, and Care;
Love, Art, and Beautie, Honour, Grace, and Wit,
Were the indowments of a Nazarite.
How quickly are they blasted? even now
Deformitie hangs lurking on that brow,
That was a while so faire, now black as coales,
Pin'd with the anguish of their hungry soules;
Love is deformed, Grace is unregarded,
Wisdome despised, Honour unrewarded,
Their skin is with'ted; now the Nazarite he
Is a black embleme of Deformitie.
There are degrees in Death, yet all doe tend
To usher man unto his journeyes end:
Some die for love, and some by hate doe die;
Some end their dayes through pining povertie,
And some by too much riches: some, the Sword
Doth part in sunder; others, by a word
Receive their Deaths alarum: all must fall,
But Death by Famine is the worst of all.
A Feast is made for mirth, but mourners shall
Attend our Banquet to our Funerall,
And see the tender Mother, full of feares,
Bathing her Infant with her watrie teares;
Yet must she kill the prettie harmelesse Dove,
The Lawes of Famine blot the Line of Love:
Go sweet-fac'd Babe, this feast was not for laughter,
Thou go'st before, thy Parents follow after.
Come, let's be sad, O Sion, let our eyes
Pumpe flouds of teares, to drowne this sacrifice
Of indignation, lest th'aspiring flames
Lick up our Kingdome, and consume our names;
The Sword doth range, and now the fire doth climbe
To meet the Starres, and scorch the wings of Time;
The proudest Pinacle, and the highest Towre,
Is farre too weake to grapple with their Powre.
Come, let's be sad, Oh Sion, while our teares
Confute the Nations that were full of jeeres:
Why was the darkned world so blinded? why
Did the proud King thinke Heav'n would falsifie?
Why would you not believe, that the high hand
Of pow'rfull Babylon should take our Land?
Know now, vaine mortals, Heav'n's not like to you,
For he is faithfull, holy, just, and true.
Oh sinn, now hast thou drawne thy Curtain round
The darkned world? and how are mortals drownd
In thy in chanting streames? the Prophet lyes,
The Priests are foolish that are counted wise,
The wise and hardie sinners courage cooles,
And those are wisest that are counted fooles:
Ev'n the jest man, although he suffer here,
The day of his Redemption draweth neere.
Have you beheld the blind, with what a pace
He walks along, guarding his tender face
And body with his staffe, for feare of hurt,
And yet at last he tumbleth in the durt?
Thus blind men wandred, and for want of eyes
They tumble in the bloudie sacrifice
Of many a bleeding body, which by hate
Were hurt and slaine, poore, vile, unfortunate.
Depart, polluted Israel, cry the foes, depart
From Sions territories; set not your heart
Upon her glory, that so quickly dyes;
Your feet, your hands, and your unhallowed eyes
Are too unholy; now no prayers will pierce
Th'eares of Heaven, the spacious Universe
Will give you no prosperitie; for why,
Sinne is the cause that makes mans glory die.
Dare man, that feeble Worme, and transitorie
Forgotten Dreame, thinke it a piece of glory,
To warre against th'Almightie? Can he make
The Earth to tremble, or by Power shake
The fabrick of the World, or blast the name
Of the proud enemie, in their height of fame?
But as you have begun your mischiefe, so
The Lord shall make an end, presumptious fo [...].
How blind are our vaine eyes with solly? Can
There be a certaine help from helpLesse man?
We thought th' Aegyptians Armie sure would save
Our starved bodies from the hungry grave,
But they were weake; and now our foes affaile us,
Our foes offend us, and our friends doe faile us:
Can any mortall save himselfe from harme?
Put then no trust (O man) in thy weake arme.
Like tyred Harts we are insnared round
With light-foot Hunters, and the following Hound,
And now our tyred soules, for lack of breath,
Yield themselves pris'ners to pursuing Death:
Our Sunne is set, the laboring sands are run
From Times swift Hower-glasse, our Day is done:
'Tis done indeed, Time alwayes did attend us,
Time did begin us, therefore Time must end us.
The Ioftie Eagle, in his high Carriere,
Aspires to touch the starrie Hemisphere,
And in his height of pride, he faine would be
Inheriter of Luna's Canopie;
Eagles are not so swift, to make their way
Through the light Ayre, as is this Ball of Clay,
This uncollected man, whose hate doth meet
My wandring foot-steps in the desolate street.
The King, our Royall King, our verybreath,
Was a sad offring, sacrific'd to death,
Whose down fall sinkes our soules; yet what was he,
But a weake embleme of mortalitie?
His dignitie a dreame, his honour fades
Like morning shadowes, or the ev'ning shades;
Hath Wealth, Health, Honor, and Preferment wings?
So have their hopes, that put their trust in Kings.
And now, Oh Edom, joy falls thick on joy
On thy poore selfe; our torments were a toy
To thee; laugh on, or rather learne to steepe
Thy soule in sorrow, teach thine eyes to weepe:
O Land of Uz, the Cup comes o'r to thee,
The Cup of Poyson and Calamitie;
The world, the Edom which did ring thy name,
Shall see the sorrow of a sinners shame.
But, gentle Sion, now the Heav'ns are cleare,
The morning riseth, and thy darkned seare
Is set, the glorious lustre of Heav'ns eye
Disperseth darknesse from th'Orient Skie:
Our Woe is past, but Edom next must be
Our following fellowes to Captivitie;
Whose sad destruction to the world will show
A second mourning Monument of Woe.