Archive for ‘Religious’

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Of Christ’s Birth in an Inn by Jeremy Taylor

The blessed Virgin travail’d without pain,
And lodged in an inn;
A glorious star the sign,
But of a greater guest than ever came that way;—
For there He lay,
That is the God of night and day,
And over all the powers of heaven doth reign.
It was the time of great Augustus’ tax,
And then he comes,
That pays all sums,
Ev’n the whole price of lost humanity,
And sets us free
From the ungodly empery
Of sin, and Satan, and of death.
O make our hearts, blest God, thy lodging place;
And in our breast
Be pleased to rest,
For thou lov’st temples better than an inn;
And cause, that sin
May not profane the Deity within,
And sully o’er the ornaments of grace.—Amen.

From: Taylor, Jeremy, The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Jeremy Taylor, D.D., Lord Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore. With An Essay, Biographical and Critical, in Three Volumes, Volume III, 1836, Frederick Westley and A. H. Davis: London,  p. 744.

Date: 1655

By: Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Excerpt from “Deaths Progress: or Death with His Commission” by Elizabeth Major

In that catalogue of times descry,
A time for birth, also a time to die;
But finde no time to live, which may us teach,
Uncertainty no certain time can reach:
Death’s suddain presence, and his sabled brow,
Doth summon all even to be ready now;
For do but listen, some passing bell doth toll,
And sadly too, for some departed soul.
Perhaps some wife’s a widow, children orphans be,
And this sad sound proclaims the same to thee:
Perchance another’s posting in that way,
And hasty death denys it here to stay
His dearest friends to see: his doom he’l give,
Behold, I am come, thou must no longer live:
Perhaps he takes one midst abused wealth,
Whole covetous heart he hath depriv’d of health,
And them will part: But stay grim death, let’s see
If a large bribe won’t gain some time of thee;
See, here is store, come lade thee with thick clay,
Take what thou wilt, so longer I may stay:
We sooner part from all then life, I know
No other Heaven then what I have below:
This golden element my heart hath won,
If hence thou tak’t me, alas I am undone.

Death Was death ere brib’d, did ever mortal see
Death sent to fell, and yet did spare the tree?
When once commision from the most High is come,
How do I post till his command is done?
No glistering bribe upon me ever wrought,
Nor is my black bark with such light wares fraught:
O no, to wound and kill, believ’t, I am come,
And I’le not leave thee till within thy tomb;
Therefore prepare, I shoot, my black darts flie,
They’l surely wound, the wounded surely die.

From: Major, Elizabeth, Honey on the Rod: Or A Comfortable Contemplation for One in Affliction; with Sundry Poems on Several Subjects, 1656, Thomas Maxey: London, pp. 202-203.

Dated: 1656

By: Elizabeth Major (fl. 1656)

Monday, 23 September 2019

Wretten By Me On the Death of My Child Robert Payler by Mary Jackson Carey/Peyler

My lord hath called for my sonne
my hart breth’s forth; thy will be done:

my all; that mercy hath made mine
frely’s surendered to be thine:

But if I give my all to the
lett me not pyne for poverty:

Change Wth me; doe, as I have done
give me thy all; Even thy deare sonne:

Tis Jesus Christ; lord I would have;
he’s thine, mine all; ’tis him I crave:

Give him to me; and I’le reply
Enoughe my lord; now lett me dye.


Date: c1650

By: Mary Jackson Carey/Peyler (c1609-c1680)

Friday, 6 September 2019

Excerpt from “Of our Iosse by Adam, and our gayne by Christ; The first Adam was made a living soule, the second Adam a quickning Spirit; For as in Adam wee all dye, so in Christ, shall all be made alive. I Corinth. 15” by Alice Sutcliffe

Alas how many are the snares and bayts,
Which Sathan layes, our poore soules to betray,
Hiena like, he murthers by deceites,
Through false delights to cause us misse our way,
His Mermaides Songs are onely sweet in sound,
Approach them not, lest Death thy Iife doth wound.

Therefore the safest way unto our blisse,
Is meditation of our certaine Death
And though we tread the steps of carefulness,
And all our life in sorrow draw our breath,
The guerdon of our paines our Christ will give
In causing us eternally to live.

Thus by a godly and an upright life,
Man of a deadly foe may make a friend
And by a wise provision stint that strife,
Which Sathan laid to bring us to our end:
And though our flesh prove false, our God is Just,
By death our soule gaines heaven, our body dust.

Be ever vigilant in all thy wayes,
And alwayes live as in the sight of God,
Performe good actions and use no delayes,
Then feare not Death it brings with it no rod:
With care attend that sure uncertainety,
And live, as every howre thou shouldest dye.

This watchfull care wounds Sathan in the head,
For hee that thinkes of Death doth shun all Sinne,
B thought of this man to the world proves dead
He counts all drosse and only Christ would win:
No earthly joyes can cause him life to love,
His Soule it fixt and nothing can him move.

Thus each weake Christian may this tyrant foyle,
For by Christ’s Death man armed is with strength,
Though in this Combate he a while may toyle,
But Faith in Christ, gives victory at length;
And with a courage bold, man now may cry
Death where’s thy sting? Grave where’s thy victory?

From: Sutcliffe, Alice, Meditations of Mans Mortalitie; or, A Way to True Blessednesse, 1634, Bernard Alsop and Thomas Fawcett for Henry Seyle: London, pp. 193-196.

Date: 1634

By: Alice Sutcliffe (fl. 1634)

Sunday, 4 August 2019

A Death-Bed by James Aldrich

Her suff’ring ended with the day,
Yet lived she at its close,
And breathed the long, long night away,
In statue-like repose.

But when the sun, in all his state,
Illum’d the eastern skies,
She passed through Glory’s Morning-gate,
And walked in Paradise!


Date: 1841

By: James Aldrich (1810-1856)

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Parting and Meeting by Phoebe Cary

On the casement, closed and lonesome,
Is falling the autumn rain,
And my heart to-night is heavy
With a sense of unquiet pain.

Not that the leaves are dying
In the kiss of the traitor frost,
And not that the summer flowers
On the bitter winds are tossed.

And not that the reaper’s singing
The time no longer cheers,
Bringing home through the mellow starlight
The sheaves and the yellow ears.

No, not from these am I sighing,
As the hours pass slow and dull,
For God in his own time maketh
All seasons beautiful.

But one of our household number
Sits not by the hearth-fire’s light,
And right on her pathway beating
Is the rain of this autumn night.

And therefore my heart is heavy
With a sense of unquiet pain,
For, but Heaven can tell if the parted
Shall meet in the earth again.

But knowing God’s love extendeth
Wherever his children are,
And tenderly round about them
Are the arms of his watchful care;

With him be the time and the season
Of our meeting again with thee,
Whether here on these earthly borders,
Or the shore of the world to be.

From: Cary, Alice and Cary, Phoebe, The Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary, 1850, Moss & Brother, Philadelphia, pp. 239-240.

Date: 1849

By: Phoebe Cary (1824-1871)

Thursday, 25 July 2019

O God! These People! by Mohammad Hanif Hairan

O God! Change these people so that
Nobody will die by another’s hand.
End cruelty so that
An ant won’t die by someone’s hand.
O God, for any thing to which you have given a soul
These things should never die by someone else’s hand.
Reserve everyone’s cruelty to their eyes
So no living thing will die by someone else’s hand,
No traveller will be bitten by someone else’s dog,
And nobody’s dog will be killed by someone else’s hand.

From: van Linschoten, Alex Strick and Kuehn, Felix (eds.), Poetry of the Taliban: Translated by Mirwais Rahmany and Hamid Stanikzai, 2012, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 194.

Date: 2008

By: Mohammad Hanif Hairan (19??- )

Translated by: Mirwais Rahmany (1983- ) and Hamid Stanikzai (19??- )

Friday, 19 July 2019

Prayer and Song Concerning Death and Eternal Life by Anna Trapnel

O That they may say unto Death,
O Death, where is thy sting,
O Grave, where is thy victory?
over them thine shall sing.

When they doe thorow death up mount
unto eternall life,
O then their hearts and speeches too
shal run to thee most rise.

O till they see grim Death before,
and its most gastly looks,
They would not mount up unto thee,
to see thy pleasant lookes.

Till they doe feele his biting teeth,
their tongues will not sing to thee,
O therefore let them it behold,
Pale-faced death let them see.

They wil then pray to thy rich grace,
thereto they then wil fly,
They wil to the most high then mount,
and that with open eye.

They shal look on the Sun so bright,
and on its beames of grace,
Which doth appeare, and cometh forth,
and on them casts its rayes.

From: Freeman, Curtis W., A Company of Woman Preachers. Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England: A Reader, 2011, Baylor University Press: Waco, Texas, p. 421.

Date: 1654

By: Anna Trapnel (fl. 1642-1660)

Thursday, 11 July 2019

The Wondrous Working of the Love of God by Thomas à Kempis (von Kempen/Hemerken/Hammerlein)

Father of heaven, I bless Thee,
Father of Jesus Christ, my Lord,
That Thou hast deigned to think of me in poverty.
Father of mercies, God of consolation,
Thanks be to Thee,
Who, now and then, with Thy consoling words
Refreshest me, unworthy of all comfort.
I bless Thee always, and I give Thee glory
With Thine own Son, the One-begotten,
And with the Holy Ghost the Comforter,
World without end.
Ah, my Lord God, my holy Lover,
When Thou comest to my heart
All my inward life is glad.
Thou art my glory,
Thou art He that maketh glad my soul,
My help, my haven.
When I am in trouble.

But since I am so weak in love, and of imperfect character,
I need to be consoled and spoken kindly to by Thee.
Therefore come often to me,
Instruct me in Thy holy rules,
Free me from evil passions,
Make my heart clean from all ill-ordered loves,
That I be in health within and throughly purged,
Fit to be a lover,
Brave to be a sufferer,
Firm to go onwards to the end.

Love is a great thing,
A blessing very good,
The only thing that makes all burdens light,
Bearing evenly what is uneven,
Carrying a weight, not feeling it,
Turning all bitterness to a sweet savour.
The noble love of Jesus drives men on to do great deeds,
And always rouses them to long for what is better.
Love would be lifted up,
Not held by any thing of earth.
It would be free,
A stranger to the affection of the world,
That its view within may not be blurred,
For fear it get into the nets of temporal happiness
Or for some unhappiness lie down and die.

Nothing is sweeter, stronger, broader, higher,
Fuller, better, or more pleasant in the heaven or earth.
It is the child of God,
Nor can it rest except in Him
Above the world created.
The lover runs and flies and is alive with joy,
Free, unrestrained,
Gives all for all,
Has all in all,
In one alone he rests, all else neglected,
From whom all comes and flows;
Looks not to gifts,
But turns unto the giver above all.

It often knows no limit,
It boils above all measure,
Its fervour knows no stop.
It feels no weight,
Makes light of toil,
Would do more than it can,
Pleads no impossibility,
Because it thinks it can and may do all.
So it is strong for anything,
Is everywhere,
Gives men a title to do work,
Where he that loves not faints and fails.
In its vigils it may sleep, but yet it dozes not;
Wearied, it is not worn;
Bound, it is not confined;
Frightened, it is not dismayed;
But like a living flame, a burning torch,
It bursts on high, and safely goes through all.
If any loves,
He knows what these words mean.
It is a great shout in the ears of God,
That fierce heart’s love, that says,
“My Lord, my God,
Thou art all mine; I, Thine.”

Enlarge me in Thy love,
That my heart’s lips may learn to taste how sweet it is,
To melt and swim in it.
May I be holden by it,
Going above myself for very fervour and for wonder.
Let me sing a song of love,
Let me follow my Beloved to the deep,
Let my soul faint in praise of Thee,
Crying for love.
Let me love Thee
More than I love myself;
Let me not love myself
Except for Thee.
Let me love all in Thee —
I, who truly love Thee
As love’s law bids me,
That takes its light from Thee.
Love is swift, sincere.
Pious, pleasant, and delightsome,
Brave, patient, faithful,
Careful, long-suffering, manly,
Never seeking its own good;
For where a man looks for himself,
He falls away from love.

Careful, humble, right,
Not weak, not light, aiming not at empty things,
Sober and chaste, firm and quiet,
With all the senses guarded well,
It is subject and obedient to superiors,
Lowly and scorned by its own eyes,
Pious and pleasing unto God,
Trusting and hoping ever in Him,
Even when He is not nigh;
For without grief, one cannot live in love.
The man that is not ready to suffer all,
And stand to do the loved One’s will,
Is not worthy to be called a lover.
A lover should embrace all that is hard and bitter
For the sake of Him he loves,
And not be turned away from love
For any crosses that may come.

From: Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ. Now for the first time set forth in rhythmic sentences According to the original Intention of  the Author, 1895, A. D. F. Randolph Company: New York, pp. 170-174.

Date: c1418-1427 (original in Latin); 1889 (translation in English)

By: Thomas à Kempis (von Kempen/Hemerken/Hammerlein) (c1380-1471)

Translated by: Henry Parry Liddon (1829-1890)

Friday, 28 June 2019

Moon Sitting by Hui Yung

High mountain cascades froth.
This wild temple owns few lamps.
Sit facing the glitter
of the moon: out of season
heart of ice.

From: Seaton, Jerome P. and Maloney, Dennis (eds.), A Drifting Poet: An Anthology of Chinese Zen Poetry, 1994, White Pine Press: Fredonia, New York, p. 19.

Date: 4th century (original); 1994 (translation)

By: Hui Yung (332-414)

Translated by: Jerome P. Seaton (1941- )