A Patch-Work Screen for the Ladies, by Jane Barker

A Patch-Work SCREEN FOR THE LADIES. LEAF IV.

The Ladies having pass'd their Evening's Diversion, and their Night's Repose, dispos'd themselves in the Morning to go on with their Patch-work; the Lady ordering Galesia to resume her Story. Which she was about to do, when the Cook came to inquire, what shou'd be for Dinner; telling her Ladyship, That Two of the South-Sea Directors had sent his Master Word they wou'd dine with him to Day. They think themselves Great-Men, said the Lady, that they did not suppose we had a Dinner worth their eating, without sending us Word. But since they have taken Care to give us this Notice, we will do the best we can; therefore, if you can tell my Cook how to make a very good French Soup, prithee do.

A Receipt for French Soup.

Take a large Barn-door Cock, and all his Bones break;

Of Mutton and Veal, each one a good Neck: may make;

Of these, then, Two Quarts of strong Broth you take;

Next, another full Quart of good Beef Gravey

Of right Vermicelli, a Quartern at least:

Then season all these as best likes your Taste:

A Fowl in the Middle, to swim like a Toast,

It matters not whether it boil'd be or roast.

With Bacon and Balls, then garnish it well.

Add Toasts fry'd in Marrow, and Sweet-breads of Veal,

And what else you please: for I cannot tell.

This is a chargeable Soup, said the Lady, but one wou'd not stick at Expence to obtain the Favour of one of these Directors. My Husband is about to lay a Debt upon his Estate, to put into this profitable Fund: He has, with much ado, got the Promise of a Subscription for 10,000l. for this Purpose. Madam, reply'd Galesia, I beg you to use your utmost Endeavours to prevent this Proceeding: I beg you for God's Sake, your own Sake, your Childrens Sake, and for the Sake of all the Poor, that depend upon your Charity, to endeavour to disappoint this Design. I know not what to say (reply'd the Lady) to these your earnest Entreaties; but for the Sake of this your Solicitation, I shall consider very well upon it, together with my Husband. And now we are alone and quiet, turn over your Papers, and look out some Patches. Accordingly Galesia went about it, and, lo! the first thing she laid her Fingers upon, was a Prophesy, which she read, after the Lady had discharg'd her Cook with due Orders about the Dinner.

The Prophesy.

When a Noise in the South

   Shall fill ev'ry one's Mouth,

Then England beware of Undoing,

   Your Sins shall be scourged,

   Your Pockets well purged,

And, ev'ry one seek his own Ruin.

I suppose, said the Lady, this Prophesy gives you so great an Aversion to the South-Sea. I cannot deny, said Galesia, but it strikes my Thoughts so far, that if I had never so much to spare, I wou'd not put a Shilling into that or any other Bubble. I will not inquire into your Reasons, said the Lady; it will but hinder our Diversion: So pray go on with your Story.

Alas! said Galesia, the next is so melancholy, that I care not how long I keep from it; for now it was that the Death of King Charles II. put a Stop to the Wheel of all Joy and Happiness in England: And it more particularly affected me, because the Death of this our Gracious Sovereign, seiz'd my dear aged Mother with such a Storm of Grief, that she fell into a languishing State, in which she continu'd for many Weeks, e'er Death releas'd her. During her Illness, whilst I watch'd her Slumbers, divers Reflexions accosted me, some of one kind, some of another; in particular, What a new Face the World had at present: It was but t'other Day, said I to myself, that all the World was in Gaiety, and the English-Court in Splendor. The King reverenc'd; the Courtiers belov'd; the Nation seeking after them for Places and Preferments: Glittering Coaches crowding before White-hall-Gate, discharging out of their sides Beaus and Belles, in the most sumptuous Apparel, as if they meant to vie with Phoebus in his Meridian. And now, behold how wonderful is the Change! as if Dooms-day had discharg'd it self of a Shower of black walking Animals; whose Cheeks are bedew'd with Tears, and whose Breasts are swollen with Sighs! Amongst these, none griev'd more sincerely than my Mother, for the Death of this her Royal Lord, for whose dear Sake, and that of his Father, so many Heroes of her Family had shed their dearest Blood. Then wou'd she remark upon, and recite the Villainies of those Times, 'till Faintness call'd her Spirits to some reviving Slumbers. In the mean time my Pen wou'd discharge itself of one sort of Scribble or other; and I think here is one appears:

On the Follies of Human-Life.

To trace but out the Follies of Mankind,

Whether in the Common-Mass, or else disjoyn'd,

Is an Abyss, wherein to drown the Mind:

A Lab'rinth wild, obscure, to lose one's Sense,

A Wilderness of thick Impertinence.

Tho' we pretend we'ave Reason for our Guide,

When Passions get the Reins, they drive aside,

O'er dang'rous Ways, and Precipices run,

'Till Reason is by Passion overthrown.

   No Animals such Bubbles are, as Man;

They strive to save themselves, in all they can;

But we in our own Snares, our selves trapan.

We're Heav'n's Clock-work, too, too finely wrought,

Seldom strike true, in Deed, in Word or Thought.

But clash and clatter, contradict and prove,

Then say and unsay, as our Fancies move.

Sometimes we glory of Immortal Souls,

Whilst every Action, every Word controuls.

Above all Sense, we of our Reason boast,

Whilst by our Deeds, we shou'd think both were lost,

Some, with Respect to God, their Words will place,

Whilst some again, his Entity disgrace,

And All, in Deeds, affront him to his Face.

Then to excuse ourselves of all these Crimes,

We lay the Fault on Devils or the Times.

When false Ideas, our frail Minds persuade,

And Lust or other Crimes our Wills invade,

The Devils are aspers'd, and Panders made.

'Tis true, e'er since the Fall, we are his Fools,

He plots our Ruin, and make us his Tools.

For oft'ner we betray ourselves than he

(Deforming th' Image of the Deity);

And so make Brutes, much happier than we.

   Than 'tis not strange, if we this Being hate,

   Since brutal Happiness is more compleat.

After a little Reflection, recollecting my scatter'd Thoughts, I broke out into the following Contemplations:

Whither, O whither! do my Thoughts ramble! — Into what strange, unfrequented Desarts does my Imagination wander! — Desarts, never trodden but by one Wild Passenger. He, indeed, has told the World of one Fowler, a Happy Creature. But I dare ingage, if it were in Fowler's Power, he would most readily change with the most contemptible of Human Creatures, (setting a happy Immortality aside). I have heard say, That a Butcher's Dog, and a Brewer's Hog, are the Happiest of Brute Animals: But which of us wou'd change with either of them, if Transmigration were in our Power? Not one I dare answer; no, not even of those who daily make themselves in Fact, what those Animals are in Form; and by their repeated Excesses, become of so deprav'd a Nature, that they are scarce distinguishable (at least in their Actions) from those poor Brutes. And tho' these are Vices which all the World explode in Words, yet very few do in Acts. And what is more detestable, (if true) I have heard that our Women begin to be Practitioners in this Vice; which is but lately, if at all; for 'till now, their Manners never suffer'd the least Blemish of that kind, but were as perfect, as to any such Taint, as an untouch'd Plumb, or Grape, in a fair Summer's Morning; Pride having been the only Vice imputed to the Fair Sex. And indeed at some Times, and on some Occasions, is so far from being a Vice, that it is a Vertue of great Magnitude, shining in the Horizon of their Affairs. However, I dare ingage, there is not one of either Sex wou'd injoy the utmost Pleasures, attending the Perpetration of these Crimes, at the Price of their Humanity.

And as to Pride,

A Crime most laid at the Ladies Door; 'Tis said, they love Dressing, gaudy Apparel, Preference of Place, Title, Equipage, &c. But which of them wou'd be a Peacock for the sake of his Plumes? a Lark for its high flying? or an Owl for the sake of the great Equipage of Birds that fly after him? Alas! not one. The meanest Servant in a Family, wou'd not change her Station, to be the Happiest of these Animals. Then let us value our Humanity, and endeavour to imbellish it with vertuous Actions; by which means we shall be far from seting our-selves on the Level with mere Animals, much less giving them the Preference. But e'er I leave this Reflection on Pride, we must remember, That there is a great Difference between the Use and Abuse of those Things, which seem the Concomitants of Pride; for Cloaths, Place, Equipage, &c. in some Cases, and to some Persons, are Necessaries almost to a Necessity; as the Gospel testifies, Soft Rayment is for King's Houses: For God is pleas'd to place different Persons in different Stations; and every one is to accommodate themselves according to their Station; it wou'd as ill befit a Hedger to wear a Velvet Coat, as a Courtier to wear a Leathern one; for if over-doing our Condition, may ascend to Pride, under-doing may descend to Sloth or Slovenliness: Therefore, with Care, we are to chuse the Medium. I doubt not but Diogenes was as proud in his Tub, as Alexander in his Palace. To find a right Medium, is sometimes hard; for very often Vice dresses her self in the Apparel of Vertue; and, in a special manner, Pride puts on the Mask of Honour: And though one be a direct Vice, and the other a Vertue, yet they are not distinguishable to every Capacity, but often one passes for the other. Lucifer, the Author of this Sin, having taken Care to gild it over double and treble, with the refulgent Brightness of Honour, Magnanimity, and Generosity: Which so dazles our Interiour, that we are not always able to distinguish between the Crime of this Apostate Angel, and the Vertue of Seraphims; the one by his Pride having thrown himself into utter Darkness, and eternal Misery; the other, by their Obedience, maintaining their Seraphick Glory in the highest Heavens. By mistaking these, we often deprive ourselves of the Benefit of our well-form'd Intentions. Again, sometimes, the beauteous Face of Vertue presents her-self in an obscure Light, without the Sun-shine of happy Circumstances. We then let her pass unregarded, and so lose the Opportunity of making our-selves happy in her Embraces. Which puts me in mind of a Distich or two.

If Chance or Fore-cast, some small Good produce,

We slip it by unknown, or spoil it in the Use.

When many Years in Toils and Cares are pass'd,

To get of Happiness some small Repast,

Our Crimes or Follies always spoil the Taste.

Now these Oversights and Mistakes, are not only in the Case of Pride and its opposite Vertues; but in other Cases, a false Light or a false Appearance deceives us; we mistake Cunning for Wisdom, and a mean Selfishness, for a discreet Precaution; Fury and Rashness for Valour; Vain-glory for Charity; and a thousand Things of the like Nature. But having mention'd Charity, here appears a little Slip of Verse; which, I think, refers rather to the forgiving, than the giving Part of Charity. However it will make a Patch.

Upon CHARITY.

This Vertue does above all others climb;

To give is Noble, to forgive Sublime.

The Giving, one may call Religion's Heart;

The Pardoning, the Animating Part.

These Two conjoyn'd, make Charity complete,

By which our Souls of Heav'n participate.

A Vertue kind, soft, gentle, debonair,

As Guardian Angels to their Pupils are,

Or faithful Swains, to their lov'd, faithful-Fair.

To chast Affection, 'tis as Oyl to Fire,

But Ice and Water to all foul Desire.

Of Friendship and fraternal Love the Source,

And Marriage Vows, it waters with its Course;

Like Aqua-fortis, graving on the Mind,

The Character of all good Deeds and kind.

But otherwise it does a Lethe prove,

And makes us quite forget forgiving Love.

These Blessings are th' Effects of Charity;

But nought compar'd to Heav'n's unbounded Joy,

Surpassing Sense! which those participate,

Who shar'd this Virtue in their Earthly State.

Joys! not only surpassing Sense! but too high for Humane Thought! O the transcendant Joys of a bless'd Eternity! How inconceivable to our weak Capacities, are the ineffable Pleasures of the bright Regions of Eternity! Eternity of Time, and Infinity of Space, who can comprehend? Reason can climb high, and Thought can extend far; but neither Reason nor Thought can reach the Altitude of Heaven, nor the Extent of the Almighty's Dominions: To say nothing of His Justice, Mercy and Wisdom, and His Power to execute whatsoever His Wisdom determines from and to all Eternity: Where the Righteous injoy all Happiness, and the Wicked all Misery. All this we risque, for a little Shining Earth, or, what is less worthy, a little empty Fame; the one being the Aim of the Covetous, the other of the Ambitious Man; of which the latter is the worst, because his Vice affects whole Countries and Kingdoms; whereof we have but too pregnant an Example at this Time, in the Person of the Duke of Monmouth. Unhappy Young Prince! to be possess'd with this Devil of Ambition, which makes him become the Phaeton of our Age; to set these Kingdoms in a Combustion. [For it was at this Time, Madam, added Galesia, that the Duke of Monmouth's Enterprize began to be talk'd of.] Whether Ambition be a Branch of Pride, or Pride a Branch of Ambition, I know not: They both partake of the same Quality; so which is Root, or which is Branch, it matters not; since it may be determin'd, that the Tree produces the worst of Fruit.

As I was going on in these wandring Thoughts, during the Intervals of my grieved Mother's Slumbers, I heard a little mumbling Noise in the next House, in a Room joyning to ours; which mumbling at last ended in a Hymn: Then I concluded it to be the Prayer of an Old Gentlewoman who lodg'd on the same Floor in the next House. But the Hymn being distinct, I cou'd hear the Words perfectly; which are these:

A Hymn. Sung in a Psalm Tune.

Preserve thy Holy Servant Monmouth, Lord,

Who carries for his Shield thy Sacred Word:

Preserve him from the Lyon and the Bear:

From Foxes and from Wolves, who daily tear

Thy little Flock: and for him whet thy Sword,

That we may be Thy People, Thou our Lord.

Do thou the Red-Coats to Confusion bring,

The Surplices, Lawn-Sleeves, and eke their King;

Whilst in thy Sion we thy Praises sing.

Wicked Song! said I; and wicked Wretch that sings it; in which she curses the Lord's Anointed, and all his Adherents, the Church and all her Children. Graceless Woman! that dares lift up Hands, Eyes, and Voice to Heaven with such Maledictions! But sure, it is her Ignorance; Nobody can be so designedly wicked. Happy had such been to have died in their Infancy, before the Baptismal Water was dry'd off their Face! But, ah! if I think on that, who is there so Righteous, but that they may wish they had dyed in the State of Innocency?

In these Reflections, a certain drousy Summons to Sleep seiz'd me; and having watch'd long with my dear sick Mother, I comply'd with my Weakness, and fell fast asleep; and having been just before reflecting on Baptismal Innocence, I fell into the following Dream.

The Childrens, or Catechumen's Elysium.

Methought I pass'd thro' that Elysian Plain,

Which to the Catechumens appertain;

And is to those, likewise, the soft Abode,

Who ignorantly serve the Unknown God.

   Lo! here the Souls live in eternal Peace,

Almost tir'd out with everlasting Ease;

Exempt from Griefs, but no true Joys possess;

Which is, at best, but half true Happiness.

   When in my Dream, I thought I enter'd here,

All that was charming struck my Eye and Ear;

Large Walks, tall Trees, Groves, Grots, and shady Bow'rs,

Streams in Meanders, Grass, and lovely Flow'rs,

Babes unbaptiz'd (like Birds from Tree to Tree)

Chirp here, and sing in pleasing Harmony.

Long Walks of Roses, Lilies, Eglantines,

Pinks, Pansies, Violets and Columbines,

Which always keep their perfect Beauty here,

Not subject to the Changes of the Year.

In fine; Here's all Things that can Fancy please,

Rooms of Repose, and Canopies of Ease;

Towers, Terrasses, arch'd Roofs, and Theatres,

Well-built Piazzas, lofty Pillasters;

Statues, and Stories of terrestrial Pride,

Of such who follow'd Virtue for their Guide;

At last, against their Wills, were Deify'd.

Sumptuous Apparel, Musick, Mirth and Balls,

Exceeding Londoners in Festivals,

The Temple-Revels; foreign Carnivals.

The Swains, too, had their Country-Wakes and Chear,

Th' Apprentices Shrove-Tuesday all the Year,

And every one was happy in his Sphere:

That is to say, if Happiness can be,

Without th' Enjoyment of a Deity.

   Small Joy can Immaterial Beings find,

'Till with their Immaterial Center joyn'd.

The Soul of Man is a Celestial Flame,

Without true Joy, 'till it goes whence it came.

As Fire ascends, and Earth and Water fall,

So must we join with our Original.

This Truth poor mortal Lovers represent,

Whom nought but the lov'd Object can content.

   In these Reflections, many a Path I trod,

And griev'd to think they ne'er must see their God.

This melancholy Reflection awaked me; when I was in Amaze to find my self in my Mother's Chamber; having had such an absolute and perfect Idea of that happy Place, where, amongst the rest, I thought I had seen my Mother; that I wonder'd to find her asleep in her Bed, and I in a Chair by her; and some little Time it was, e'er I cou'd believe that I had Dream'd and was now Awake. But at last, convincing my-self, I compos'd these Verses upon the Occasion.

On DREAMS.

A dream to me seems a Mysterious Thing,

Whate'er the Naturalists for Causes bring.

Whilst Sleep's dull Fetters, our frail Bodies tye,

The Soul, inlarg'd, finds pleasant Company.

With Comrade-Spirits, midnight Revels make,

And see Things pass'd, and Things to come forespeak.

Sometimes in merry Jigs and Gambols, they

Present th' Events of the approaching Day:

Sometimes they mount e'en to the Place of Bliss;

Then sink again into the deep Abyss;

With such Agility and Ease they go,

The piercing Lightning seems to move more slow,

Yet as they pass, all Things they See and Know.

   But as a Country Lady, after all

The Pleasures of th' Exchange, Plays, Park, and Mall,

Returns again to her old Rural Seat,

T' instruct her Hinds, and make 'em earn their Meat,

So comes the Soul home to her coarse Retreat.

A coarse Retreat indeed! Where Sin, Sorrow, and Sufferings, of all Kinds, and from all Quarters, accost and attack her, and from which she is perpetually wishing to be delivered; and yet is loth to quit this her Earthly Mansion: Which Fondness for this transitory Life, and Fear to imbark for a Better in the Ocean of Eternity, must surely proceed from a Deficiency of Faith, and the Want of a firm Belief of Future Happiness.

As I was going on with these Reflections, my Mother, with a most piercing Groan, awaked, and faintly calling me to her Bed-side, I had the inexpressible Affliction to see her last Moments drawing on:— Pardon, said Galesia, wiping her Eyes, these briny Ebullitions: The next most shocking Grief was now approaching to torture my labouring Spirits. — To be short — for who can dwell on such a Subject! — My dear Mother, in the midst of her Blessings poured on me, and Prayers for me, recommending her Soul to Divine Mercy, was interrupted by Death, and looking wistfully upon me, and grasping my Hand, expired! —

Hereupon Galesia fell into a Flood of Tears, which suspended her Discourse. And the good Lady, being unwilling to press her any farther on that melancholy Theme, took her by the Hand, saying, Come, my Galesia, we will go and inquire how forward Dinner is; and whether the Gentlemen who have invited themselves, are yet come, or not.

Accordingly, they went out together; but Galesia rising from her Seat, dropp'd the following Verses; which the Lady took up, saying, Well! Here I see, is Matter for another Patch, which we will peruse on our Return.

On the Difficulties of RELIGION.

O wretched World! but Wretched above All,

Is Man; the most unhappy Animal!

Not knowing to what State he shall belong,

He tugs the heavy Chain of Life along.

So many Ages pass, yet no Experience shows

From whence Man comes, nor, after, where he goes.

We are instructed of a Future State,

Of Just Rewards, and Punishments in That;

But ign'rant How, or Where, or When, or What.

I'm shew'd a Book, in which these Things are writ;

And, by all Hands, assur'd, all's True in it;

But in this Book, such Mysteries I find,

Instead of healing, oft corrode the Mind.

Sometimes our Faith must be our only Guide,

Our Senses and our Reason laid aside:

Again to Reason we our Faith submit,

This spurs, that checks, we curvet, champ the Bit,

And make our future Hopes uneasy sit!

Now Faith, now Reason, now Good-works, does All;

Betwixt these Opposites our Virtues fall,

Each calling each, False and Heretical.

   And, after all; What Rule have we to show,

Whether these Writings Sacred be, or no?

If we alledge, The Truths that we find there,

Are to themselves a Testimony clear,

By the same Rule, such all good Morals are.

Thus we by Doubts, & Hopes, & Fears, are tost,

And in the Lab'rinth of Disputes are lost.

   Unhappy! who with any Doubts are curst!

But of all Doubts, Religious Doubts are worst!

Wou'd I were dead! or wou'd I had no Soul!

Had ne'er been born! or else been born a Fool!

Then future Fears, wou'd not my Thoughts annoy,

I'd use what's truly mine, the present Joy.

Ah! happy Brutes! I envy much your State,

Whom Nature, one Day, shall Annihilate;

Compar'd to which, wretched is Human Fate!

Dinner not being quite ready, the good Lady conducted Galesia again into her Appartment, and they being seated, she read the foregoing Verses, which; she said, should serve for another Patch in her Screen: And as she was laying it by for that Purpose, she cast her Eye on the Backside of the same Paper, and there found the following Lines, which seemed, by the Tenor of them, as well as by the Writing, to be the Product of the same melancholy Frame of Mind with the former, as well as to be written at the same Time. After a sort of Chasm, they began thus.

   But what does most of all my Spirit grieve,

Is, That I must my Dear Fidelius leave!

My Dear Fidelius! Witty, Young, and Gay,

To whose Embraces Virtue chalks the Way.

In loving Him, I answer Heaven's Call;

For Love's allow'd, for Virtuous Ends, to All:

And Heav'n, perhaps, has rais'd him up Express,

By Force of Love, to prop my Feebleness,

And stop my Fall into this Precipice.

But how know I, he's not set on by Hell,

To stop the Progress of my doing well?

   Thus I'm, alas! by diff'rent Passions mov'd,

And hope, and fear, and love, and am belov'd.

Yet if I own I love, I ruin Him,

And to deny the Truth, is, sure, a Crime.

My Sufferings are great: Heav'n pity me!

But whatsoe'er I bear, let him go free!

Hereupon the Lady looking over the Work, and finding there was enough to make Four Folds of a Screen, she said, she would have it made up, and fram'd, to see how it would look before they proceeded any farther. And now, said she, the Players are come into the Country, and the Assembleès and Horse-Races will begin; so we will defer our Work 'till those Diversions are over. But, however, continued she, since I have received so many Favours from you, my dear Galesia, in this Way, and that I may contribute a little to divert you in your melancholy Hours, when the Remembrance of so sad an Occasion as your Mother's Death, crouds too heavily upon your Thoughts, I will shew you a Poem that was presented me on New-Year's Day last, by an Excellent Hand, in Commemoration of the Nativity of our Blessed Saviour; Which, added the good Lady, I question not, but will give you as much Pleasure and Consolation, as it has frequently done me.

AN ODE IN Commemoration of the Nativity of CHRIST.

Magnus ab Integro Sæc'lorum nascitur ordo.

Virg.

I.

Well dost thou do, my Muse;

Ne'er envy Tuneful Bards, whoe'er they be,

That Vain and Earthly Subjects chuse,

   Yet vainly hope for Immortality.

Some sooth, with Magick Sounds, the Virgin's Breast,

Which self-bewitching Thoughts before possest;

   Adore the transient Pageant of a Day,

   And Idolize a Piece of Painted Clay.

Another lifts some Hero to the Skies,

And a Man-slaughterer Deifies,

   Sent in God's Vengeance, when, by his Command,

   Tempests of War invade a Guilty Land.

      Another tunes his Mercenary Strings,

To act that Worst of Witchcraft, flatter Kings.

But Thou yield'st all thy Praise, and offer'st all thy Love,

   Where it is only due, ABOVE!

Yet, O thou Virgin! O thou Vestal-Muse!

   That won't profane thy Voice, with Things below,

One Theme, as Low as Earth can yield, I chuse,

   And yet as High as Heav'n can e'er bestow.

Therefore, begin from Earth: But know, Thy Flight

Shall tow'r beyond Day's blazing Orb of Light.

The Lark so flickering o'er its Grounded Nest,

First ope's its little Lungs, exerts its Breast,

   Then rising on its Saily Wings,

      It meditates the Sky;

   As still it rises, still it sings,

      'Till its small Body leaves the Eye;

   And when it does near Heav'n appear,

   Its finest Notes desert the Human Ear.

Say, Wouldst thou know this Happy Theme,

That thus shall wing thee above mortal Fame?

   Sing thou the Child, that seem'd like Mankind's Scorn,

   At Depth of Winter in a Stable born;

   Born among Beasts, and in a Manger laid:

   Yet if that Child will thee, inspiring, aid,

   The lovely Theme, exalting, shalt thou raise,

   Above the Kings and Heroes others praise.

II.

Let each King's Bard reap, as he gives, Renown,

   While Flatt'rers, like himself, with short-liv'd Fame,

His Lawrel hail, as he the Regal Crown,

   Giving each Toy what neither Toy can claim;

Myriads of Spirits, that e'er Men were made,

E'er the Foundations of the Earth were laid,

   Far brighter had, for Ages, shone

Than a vain Monarch on a Birth-day shines,

   Whose Forms outdo the Day-bestowing Sun,

And shall, when Nature, sunk in Years, declines;

Shall, when that Sun is blotted from the Sky,

   When the Blue Æther, reddning, melts in Flame;

When all Created Worlds are bid to die,

   Shine on for all Eternity the same:

All these bright Spirits, whose each Single Voice,

Can make Spheres dance, make Heav'n and Earth rejoyce;

These shall thy Song upon this Babe refine,

Shall All in One great Chorus join;

   Humbly they too shall own

   Him the Immortal Heir of David's Throne,

And that to Him their Song is Low as thine.

For, know, That Infant, poorly as it lies,

In Spirit treads the Stars, and walks the whirling Skies!

That Babe, on Earth expos'd in this Abode,

Is now in Heaven — He is the Almighty God.

III.

Yes, Mortals, Yes, who deigns thus Mean to be,

Mysterious Change, O Man! But 'tis, 'tis He,

To whom the Thought-transcending Being said,

The Being that his Angels Spirits made,

That made his Ministers a Flame of Fire,

"Thou art than all these Angels Higher,

"Thou my Son, and I thy Sire:

"To me a Son for Ever shalt thou be,

"And I for Ever Sire to Thee."

Still farther, Heaven's High King proceeded on,

And thus to his Coequal Son

   The Son's Coequal Father spake,

"O God! for Ever is thy Throne,

   "Thy Foes thy Footstool will I make:

"Be seated here at my Right Hand;

"Where'er there's Light, Air, Sea, or Land,

"Thou Always shalt and All Command."

This said, Choirs that fill'd the bright Abode,

Worshipp'd, at his Command, this Babe, and worshipp'd him a God.

IV.

And is it thus, thou Mighty Helpless Thing!

Thou less than Beggar, and thou more than King!

Canst Thou yon Starry Region term thy Throne?

   Claim, as thy Footstool, this vast Globe of Earth?

Call all the spacious Globe contains, Thy own?

   Thou! Cradled in a Manger at thy Birth,

As feeble Man, can't tow'r a God. How can

The God of Nature sink to feeble Man?

   Oh Wondrous! Oh Mysterious Change!

Yet as Eternal Truth no Wrong can know,

   Strange as it seems, it is as true as strange;

      It is — It must be so.

Long e'er this World the World's Redeemer blest,

   Old Prophets, Sign delivering after Sign,

His Coming, and his Acts, when come, exprest,

   That all might know the Man who was Divine.

When this was made, beyond disputing, plain,

   Then Endless Woes were doom'd, by God's Award,

To be the stubborn Unbeliever's Pain,

   And Endless Joys Believers great Reward:

These, by his Prophets Mouths, the Father swore,

That, trusting in his Son, obey'd his Lore,

   These He, His Sacred Oath confirming, said,

Should Uncorrupted at the fatal Day,

Which shall the World itself in Ashes lay,

   From the Corrupted Regions of the Dead,

Rise and Immortalize their Mortal Clay.

   But those, in Bitterness of Wrath, He vow'd,

Whom no Rewards could win, or Threats could awe,

   To take the Paths, propounded for their Good,

But, heedless, stubbornly would spurn his Law,

Should be condemn'd to wander round the Earth,

      And when they dy'd, be doom'd to go,

      To Endless Gulphs of Fire below.

V.

O LORD! who meditates what Thou hast wrought,

   That Man is God, and God is Man;

Who knows, if he believes not what You taught,

   Tho' more than bounded Reason e'er can scan,

He shall the Object of thy Wrath remain,

Immortal made to feel Eternal Pain.

      But if, confiding in the Word

      Of Truth, Itself's ne'er-failing Lord,

He own'd this Wonder, he should be

Heir to a bless'd Eternity.

O Lord! who meditates what thou hast wrought,

Is lost at first in pleasing, dreadful Thought;

But feels a Particle within, that tells,

His Soul is lasting as his God reveals:

From thence he does the boundless Pow'r confess,

May do what he can't think, as what he can't express;

And owns the Greater Wonder from the Less:

   Thus when he finds, that the Immortal Son

Grew Mortal, to make Men Immortal grow;

Straight does his grateful Breast with Ardor glow,

   His Fears are vanish'd, and his Terrors gone.

      The Man who thus conceives

Christ's Goodness, and this Mystery believes,

Nor menac'd Pains, nor promis'd Joys controul;

Fix'd by Affections rooted in his Soul,

He his Redeemer views, with Joy, Above,

And, swallow'd in the Ocean of his Love,

Needs nothing else his working Faith to move.

VI.

   'Tis in this Light, O Saviour! that we view,

We, who are honour'd with the Christians Name,

   The wondrous Acts that You vouchsafe to do,

To pay our Forfeit, and redeem our Claim.

Then we recount the Wonders of that Age,

When Heav'ns High Lord trod on this Earth's Low Stage.

We read, How Men, quite Lame, did Christ pursue,

Ran, by one Miracle, to see a New.

When straight Blind Mortals feel the visual Ray,

And the First Man they see, is Author of the Day.

The Dumb, lamenting Silence, this behold,

When straight their Loosening Tongues new Miracles unfold.

Doemoniacks foam'd and curst to see the Deed,

But blest the Author when from Doemons freed.

Up from the Dead a Carcass newly rais'd,

Join'd with the Living, and Death's Victor prais'd.

Man's Union hence with God ev'n Reason can,

Tho' but by Consequence and faintly, scan:

   Enough, howe'er, to lead to Faith's true Road,

Since this we find was done by Man,

   And could not but by God:

By these Reflections, which thy Preachers raise,

Those that were Dumb, sing out aloud thy Praise;

Those seek Thee that were in Devotion Lame,

Like bounding Roes, that, thirsty, seek the Stream.

Those that were Blind, here get the Eye of Faith,

And, pressing forward to Salvation's Path,

The stubborn Jews they, left behind, invite

To follow them from Error's foggy Night:

Bid them from obstinate Delusions fly,

Who most are Proofs of what they most deny:

   Curs'd by the Lord, they live on Earth by Stealth,

Thro' the Wide World, like Vagabonds, they roam,

   Princes and Lords in Wealth,

      But Lords without a Home:

Tho' suff'ring still, they still thy Laws despise,

Since Seventeen Cent'ries cannot make them wise:

Since from their rooted Sin they cannot part;

Melt (for Thou canst!) the hardest Heart,

      And open Blindest Eyes:

Make All on Earth, as All in Heav'n, join,

Since All in Heav'n and Earth alike are Thine.

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http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/barker/jane/patchwork/chapter4.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31