Our Lord in His Circumcision to His Father

The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ is celebrated on the first of January. By virtue of this date the Feast Day represents a time of beginning or becoming. The concept of growing informs the metaphoric structure of this epigram: from death to life, youth to maturity, hope to fulfillment, dawn to day, bud to tree, knife to spear. The bud of the purple rose, figured in the drops of blood shed by the Infant, grows to a full-blooming and full-bleeding tree, the cross. The image of growth is more thoroughly represented in the English version than in the Latin original. (Williams, pp. 50 51; White, p. 232.)
To thee these first fruits of my growing death
(For what else is my life?) lo I bequeath.
Tast this, and as thou lik'st this lesser flood
Expect a Sea, my heart shall make it good.
Thy wrath that wades heere now, e're long shall swim
The flood-gate shall be set wide ope for him.
Then let him drinke, and drinke, and doe his worst,
To drowne the wantonnesse of his wild thirst.
Now's but the Nonage of my paines, my feares
Are yet but in their hopes, not come to yeares.
The day of my darke woes is yet but morne,
My teares but tender and my death new-borne.
Yet may these unfledg'd griefes give fate some guesse,
These Cradle-torments have their towardnesse.
These purple buds of blooming death may bee,
Erst the full stature of a fatall tree.
And till my riper woes to age are come.
This knife may be the speares Praeludium .
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