Like to the Arctic Needle -
(Canticles, vii. 10)
Like to the Artick needle, that doth guide
The wand'ring shade by his magnetick pow'r,
And leaves his silken Gnomon to decide
The question of the controverted houre;
First franticks up and down, from side to side,
And restlesse beats his crystall'd Iv'ry case
With vain impatience; jets from place to place,
And seeks the bosome of his frozen bride;
At length he slacks his motion, and doth rest
His trembling point at his bright Poles beloved brest.
Ev'n so, my soul, being hurried here and there,
By ev'ry object that presents delight,
Fain would be settled, but she knowes not where;
She likes at morning what she loaths at night;
She bowes to honour; then she lends an eare
To that sweet swan like voice of dying pleasure,
Then tumbles in the scatter'd heaps of treasure;
Now flatter'd with false hope; now foyl'd with fear:
Thus finding all the worlds delights to be
But empty toyes, good God, she points alone to thee.
But hath the virtued steel a power to move?
Or can the untouch'd needle point aright?
Or can my wandring thoughts forbear to rove,
Unguided by the virtue of thy spirit?
O hath my leaden soul the art t'improve
Her wasted talent, and unrais'd, aspire
In this sad moulting time of her desire?
Not first belov'd have I the pow'r to love?
I cannot stirre, but as thou please to move me,
Nor can my heart return thee love, untill thou love me.
The still Commandresse of the silent night
Borrows her beams from her bright brother's eye;
His fair aspect fines her sharp horns with light;
If he withdraw, her flames are quench'd and die:
Even so the beams of thy enlightning sp'rite
Infus'd and shot into my dark desire,
Inflame my thoughts, and fill my soul with fire,
That I am ravisht with a new delight;
But if thou shroud thy face, my glory fades,
And I remain a Nothing, all compos'd of shades.
Eternall God, O thou that onely art
The sacred Fountain of eternall light,
And blessed Loadstone of my better part;
O thou my heart's desire, my soul's delight,
Reflect upon my soul, and touch my heart,
And then my heart shall prize no good above thee;
And then my soul shall know thee; knowing, love thee;
And then my trembling thoughts shall never start
From thy commands, or swerve the least degree,
Or once presume to move, but as they move in thee.
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