Wednesday, August 04, 2010

To Mistress M.R. -- Counsel concerning her choice

DEAR, heav'n-designed soul!    Amongst the rest
   Of suitors that besiege your maiden breast,
   Why may not I
   My fortune try,
And venture to speak one good word,
Not for myself, alas! but for my dearer Lord?
You've seen already in this lower sphere
Of froth and bubbles, what to look for here.
Truth bids me say, 'tis time you ceased to trust
Your soul to any son of dust.
'Tis time you listen to a braver love,
   Which from above
   Calls you up higher,
   And bids you come
   And choose your room
Among his own fair sons of fire,
   Where you among
   The golden throng
   That watches at his palace doors,
   May pass along
And follow those fair stars of yours;
Stars much too fair and pure to wait upon
The false smiles of a sublunary sun.
Sweet, let me prophesy, that at last 'twill prove
   Your wary love
Lays up his purer and more precious vows,
And means them for a far more worthy spouse
Than this world of lies can give you:
Ev'n for him with whom nor cost
Nor love, nor labour can be lost;
Him who never will deceive you.
Let not my Lord, the mighty lover
Of souls, disdain that I discover
   The hidden art
Of His high stratagem to win your heart.
   It was His heav'nly art
   Kindly to cross you
   In your mistaken love.
   That, at the next remove,
   Thence He might toss you,
   And strike your troubled heart
Home to Himself; to hide it in His breast,
   The bright ambrosial nest,
Of love, of life, and everlasting rest.
   Happy mistake!
That thus shall wake
Your wise soul, never to be won
Now with a love below the Sun.
Your first choice fails, O when you choose again,
May it not be among the sons of men.

   --- Richard Crashaw (1613-1649)

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