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Best Famous Richard Crashaw Poems


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by Richard Crashaw |

Prayer

 I ASK good things that I detest,
With speeches fair;
Heed not, I pray Thee, Lord, my breast,
But hear my prayer.

I say ill things I would not say -
Things unaware:
Regard my breast, Lord, in Thy day,
And not my prayer.

My heart is evil in Thy sight:
My good thoughts flee:
O Lord, I cannot wish aright -
Wish Thou for me.

O bend my words and acts to Thee,
However ill,
That I, whate'er I say or be,
May serve Thee still.

O let my thoughts abide in Thee
Lest I should fall:
Show me Thyself in all I see,
Thou Lord of all.


by Richard Crashaw |

Prayer

 LET us leave our island woods grown dim and blue;
O’er the waters creeping the pearl dust of the eve
Hides the silver of the long wave rippling through:
 The chill for the warm room let us leave.


Turn the lamp down low and draw the curtain wide,
So the greyness of the starlight bathes the room;
Let us see the giant face of night outside,
 Though vague as a moth’s wing is the gloom.


Rumour of the fierce-pulsed city far away
Breaks upon the peace that aureoles our rest,
Steeped in stillness as if some primeval day
 Hung drowsily o’er the water’s breast.


Shut the eyes that flame and hush the heart that burns:
In quiet we may hear the old primeval cry:
God gives wisdom to the spirit that upturns:
 Let us adore now, you and I.


Age on age is heaped about us as we hear:
Cycles hurry to and fro with giant tread
From the deep unto the deep: but do not fear,
 For the soul unhearing them is dead.


by Richard Crashaw |

Prayer

 Prayer the Churches banquet, Angels age,
Gods breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgramage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth;
Engine against th'Almightie, sinners towre,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-daies world-transposing in an houre,
A kinde of tune, which all things heare and fear;
Softnesse, and peace, and joy, and love, and blisse,
Exalted Manna, gladnesse of the best,
Heaven in ordinarie, man well drest,
The milkie way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bels beyond the starres heard, the souls bloud,
The land of spices; something understood.


by Richard Crashaw |

Divine Epigrams: Samson to his Delilah

 Could not once blinding me, cruel, suffice?
When first I look'd on thee, I lost mine eyes.


by Richard Crashaw |

An Epitaph upon Husband and Wife

 TO these whom death again did wed
This grave 's the second marriage-bed.
For though the hand of Fate could force
'Twixt soul and body a divorce,
It could not sever man and wife,
Because they both lived but one life.
Peace, good reader, do not weep;
Peace, the lovers are asleep.
They, sweet turtles, folded lie
In the last knot that love could tie.
Let them sleep, let them sleep on,
Till the stormy night be gone,
And the eternal morrow dawn;
Then the curtains will be drawn,
And they wake into a light
Whose day shall never die in night.


by Richard Crashaw |

To the Name above every Name the Name of Jesus

 I sing the Name which None can say
But touch’t with An interiour Ray:
The Name of our New Peace; our Good:
Our Blisse: and Supernaturall Blood:
The Name of All our Lives and Loves.
Hearken, And Help, ye holy Doves!
The high-born Brood of Day; you bright
Candidates of blissefull Light,
The Heirs Elect of Love; whose Names belong
Unto The everlasting life of Song;
All ye wise Soules, who in the wealthy Brest
Of This unbounded Name build your warm Nest.
Awake, My glory. Soul, (if such thou be,
And That fair Word at all referr to Thee)
Awake and sing
And be All Wing;
Bring hither thy whole Self; and let me see
What of thy Parent Heaven yet speakes in thee,
O thou art Poore
Of noble Powres, I see,
And full of nothing else but empty Me,
Narrow, and low, and infinitely lesse
Then this Great mornings mighty Busynes.
One little World or two
(Alas) will never doe.
We must have store.
Goe, Soul, out of thy Self, and seek for More.
Goe and request
Great Nature for the Key of her huge Chest
Of Heavns, the self involving Sett of Sphears
(Which dull mortality more Feeles then heares)
Then rouse the nest
Of nimble, Art, and traverse round
The Aiery Shop of soul-appeasing Sound:
And beat a summons in the Same
All-soveraign Name
To warn each severall kind
And shape of sweetnes, Be they such
As sigh with supple wind
Or answer Artfull Touch,
That they convene and come away
To wait at the love-crowned Doores of
This Illustrious Day.
Shall we dare This, my Soul? we’l doe’t and bring
No Other note for’t, but the Name we sing.
Wake Lute and Harp
And every sweet-lipp’t Thing
That talkes with tunefull string;
Start into life, And leap with me
Into a hasty Fitt-tun’d Harmony.
Nor must you think it much
T’obey my bolder touch;
I have Authority in Love’s name to take you
And to the worke of Love this morning wake you;
Wake; In the Name
Of Him who never sleeps, All Things that Are,
Or, what’s the same,
Are Musicall;
Answer my Call
And come along;
Help me to meditate mine Immortall Song.
Come, ye soft ministers of sweet sad mirth,
Bring All your houshold stuffe of Heavn on earth;
O you, my Soul’s most certain Wings,
Complaining Pipes, and prattling Strings,
Bring All the store
Of Sweets you have; And murmur that you have no more.
Come, n? to part,
Nature and Art!
Come; and come strong,
To the conspiracy of our Spatious song.
Bring All the Powres of Praise
Your Provinces of well-united Worlds can raise;
Bring All your Lutes and Harps of Heaven and Earth;
What ?re cooperates to The common mirthe
Vessells of vocall Ioyes,
Or You, more noble Architects of Intellectuall Noise,
Cymballs of Heav’n, or Humane sphears,
Solliciters of Soules or Eares;
And when you’are come, with All
That you can bring or we can call;
O may you fix
For ever here, and mix
Your selves into the long
And everlasting series of a deathlesse Song;
Mix All your many Worlds, Above,
And loose them into One of Love.
Chear thee my Heart!
For Thou too hast thy Part
And Place in the Great Throng
Of This unbounded All-imbracing Song.
Powres of my Soul, be Proud!
And speake lowd
To All the dear-bought Nations This Redeeming Name,
And in the wealth of one Rich Word proclaim
New Similes to Nature.
May it be no wrong
Blest Heavns, to you, and your Superiour song,
That we, dark Sons of Dust and Sorrow,
A while Dare borrow
The Name of Your Dilights and our Desires,
And fitt it to so farr inferior Lyres.
Our Murmurs have their Musick too,
Ye mighty Orbes, as well as you,
Nor yeilds the noblest Nest
Of warbling Seraphim to the eares of Love,
A choicer Lesson then the joyfull Brest
Of a poor panting Turtle-Dove.
And we, low Wormes have leave to doe
The Same bright Busynes (ye Third Heavens) with you.
Gentle Spirits, doe not complain.
We will have care
To keep it fair,
And send it back to you again.
Come, lovely Name! Appeare from forth the Bright
Regions of peacefull Light,
Look from thine own Illustrious Home,
Fair King of Names, and come.
Leave All thy native Glories in their Georgeous Nest,
And give thy Self a while The gracious Guest
Of humble Soules, that seek to find
The hidden Sweets
Which man’s heart meets
When Thou art Master of the Mind.
Come, lovely Name; life of our hope!
Lo we hold our Hearts wide ope!
Unlock thy Cabinet of Day
Dearest Sweet, and come away.
Lo how the thirsty Lands
Gasp for thy Golden Showres! with longstretch’t Hands.
Lo how the laboring Earth
That hopes to be
All Heaven by Thee,
Leapes at thy Birth.
The’ attending World, to wait thy Rise,
First turn’d to eyes;
And then, not knowing what to doe;
Turn’d Them to Teares, and spent Them too.
Come Royall Name, and pay the expence
Of all this Pretious Patience.
O come away
And kill the Death of This Delay.
O see, so many Worlds of barren yeares
Melted and measur’d out is Seas of Teares.
O see, The Weary liddes of wakefull Hope
(Love’s Eastern windowes) All wide ope
With Curtains drawn,
To catch The Day-break of Thy Dawn.
O dawn, at last, long look’t for Day!
Take thine own wings, and come away.
Lo, where Aloft it comes! It comes, Among
The Conduct of Adoring Spirits, that throng
Like diligent Bees, And swarm about it.
O they are wise;
And know what Sweetes are suck’t from out it.
It is the Hive,
By which they thrive,
Where All their Hoard of Hony lyes.
Lo where it comes, upon The snowy Dove’s
Soft Back; And brings a Bosom big with Loves.
Welcome to our dark world, Thou
Womb of Day!
Unfold thy fair Conceptions; And display
The Birth of our Bright Ioyes.
O thou compacted
Body of Blessings: spirit of Soules extracted!
O dissipate thy spicy Powres
(Clowd of condensed sweets) and break upon us
In balmy showrs;
O fill our senses, And take from us
All force of so Prophane a Fallacy
To think ought sweet but that which smells of Thee.
Fair, flowry Name; In none but Thee
And Thy Nectareall Fragrancy,
Hourly there meetes
An universall Synod of All sweets;
By whom it is defined Thus
That no Perfume
For ever shall presume
To passe for Odoriferous,
But such alone whose sacred Pedigree
Can prove it Self some kin (sweet name) to Thee.
Sweet Name, in Thy each Syllable
A Thousand Blest Arabias dwell;
A Thousand Hills of Frankincense;
Mountains of myrrh, and Beds of species,
And ten Thousand Paradises,
The soul that tasts thee takes from thence.
How many unknown Worlds there are
Of Comforts, which Thou hast in keeping!
How many Thousand Mercyes there
In Pitty’s soft lap ly a sleeping!
Happy he who has the art
To awake them,
And to take them
Home, and lodge them in his Heart.
O that it were as it was wont to be!
When thy old Freinds of Fire, All full of Thee,
Fought against Frowns with smiles; gave Glorious chase
To Persecutions; And against the Face
Of Death and feircest Dangers, durst with Brave
And sober pace march on to meet A Grave.
On their Bold Brests about the world they bore thee
And to the Teeth of Hell stood up to teach thee,
In Center of their inmost Soules they wore thee,
Where Rackes and Torments striv’d, in vain, to reach thee.
Little, alas, thought They
Who tore the Fair Brests of thy Freinds,
Their Fury but made way
For Thee; And serv’d them in Thy glorious ends.
What did Their weapons but with wider pores
Inlarge thy flaming-brested Lovers
More freely to transpire
That impatient Fire
The Heart that hides Thee hardly covers.
What did their Weapons but sett wide the Doores
For Thee: Fair, purple Doores, of love’s devising;
The Ruby windowes which inrich’t the East
Of Thy so oft repeated Rising.
Each wound of Theirs was Thy new Morning;
And reinthron’d thee in thy Rosy Nest,
With blush of thine own Blood thy day adorning,
It was the witt of love ?reflowd the Bounds
Of Wrath, and made thee way through All Those wounds.
Wellcome dear, All-Adored Name!
For sure there is no Knee
That knowes not Thee.
Or if there be such sonns of shame,
Alas what will they doe
When stubborn Rocks shall bow
And Hills hang down their Heavn-saluting Heads
To seek for humble Beds
Of Dust, where in the Bashfull shades of night
Next to their own low Nothing they may ly,
And couch before the dazeling light of thy dread majesty.
They that by Love’s mild Dictate now
Will not adore thee,
Shall Then with Just Confusion, bow
And break before thee.


by Richard Crashaw |

Prayer

 LO here a little volume, but great Book
A nest of new-born sweets;
Whose native fires disdaining
To ly thus folded, and complaining
Of these ignoble sheets,
Affect more comly bands
(Fair one) from the kind hands
And confidently look
To find the rest
Of a rich binding in your Brest.
It is, in one choise handfull, heavenn; and all
Heavn’s Royall host; incamp’t thus small
To prove that true schooles use to tell,
Ten thousand Angels in one point can dwell.
It is love’s great artillery
Which here contracts itself, and comes to ly
Close couch’t in their white bosom: and from thence
As from a snowy fortresse of defence,
Against their ghostly foes to take their part,
And fortify the hold of their chast heart.
It is an armory of light
Let constant use but keep it bright,
You’l find it yeilds
To holy hands and humble hearts
More swords and sheilds
Then sin hath snares, or Hell hath darts.
Only be sure
The hands be pure
That hold these weapons; and the eyes
Those of turtles, chast and true;
Wakefull and wise;
Here is a freind shall fight for you,
Hold but this book before their heart;
Let prayer alone to play his part,
But ? the heart
That studyes this high Art
Must be a sure house-keeper
And yet no sleeper.
Dear soul, be strong.
Mercy will come e’re long
And bring his bosom fraught with blessings,
Flowers of never fading graces
To make immortall dressings
For worthy soules, whose wise embraces
Store up themselves for Him, who is alone
The Spouse of Virgins and the Virgin’s son.
But if the noble Bridegroom, when he come
Shall find the loytering Heart from home;
Leaving her chast aboad
To gadde abroad
Among the gay mates of the god of flyes;
To take her pleasure and to play
And keep the devill’s holyday;
To dance th’sunshine of some smiling
But beguiling
Spheares of sweet and sugred Lyes,
Some slippery Pair
Of false, perhaps as fair,
Flattering but forswearing eyes;
Doubtlesse some other heart
Will gett the start
Mean while, and stepping in before
Will take possession of that sacred store
Of hidden sweets and holy ioyes.
Words which are not heard with Eares
(Those tumultuous shops of noise)
Effectuall wispers, whose still voice
The soul it selfe more feeles then heares;
Amorous languishments; luminous trances;
Sights which are not seen with eyes;
Spirituall and soul-peircing glances
Whose pure and subtil lightning flyes
Home to the heart, and setts the house on fire
And melts it down in sweet desire
Yet does not stay
To ask the windows leave to passe that way;
Delicious Deaths; soft exalations
Of soul; dear and divine annihilations;
A thousand unknown rites
Of ioyes and rarefy’d delights;
A hundred thousand goods, glories, and graces,
And many a mystick thing
Which the divine embraces
Of the deare spouse of spirits with them will bring
For which it is no shame
That dull mortality must not know a name.
Of all this store
Of blessings and ten thousand more
(If when he come
He find the Heart from home)
Doubtlesse he will unload
Himself some other where,
And poure abroad
His pretious sweets
On the fair soul whom first he meets.
O fair, ? fortunate! O riche, ? dear!
O happy and thrice happy she
Selected dove
Who ere she be,
Whose early love
With winged vowes
Makes hast to meet her morning spouse
And close with his immortall kisses.
Happy indeed, who never misses
To improve that pretious hour,
And every day
Seize her sweet prey
All fresh and fragrant as he rises
Dropping with a baulmy Showr
A delicious dew of spices;
O let the blissfull heart hold fast
Her heavnly arm-full, she shall tast
At once ten thousand paradises;
She shall have power
To rifle and deflour
The rich and roseall spring of those rare sweets
Which with a swelling bosome there she meets
Boundles and infinite
Bottomles treasures
Of pure inebriating pleasures
Happy proof! she shal discover
What ioy, what blisse,
How many Heav’ns at once it is
To have her God become her Lover.


by Richard Crashaw |

Divine Epigrams: On the Miracle of the Multiplied Loaves

 See here an easy feast that knows no wound,
That under hunger's teeth will needs be sound;
A subtle harvest of unbounded bread,
What would ye more? Here food itself is fed.


by Richard Crashaw |

The Flaming Heart

 O heart, the equal poise of love's both parts,
Big alike with wounds and darts,
Live in these conquering leaves; live all the same,
And walk through all tongues one triumphant flame;
Live here, great heart, and love and die and kill,
And bleed and wound, and yield and conquer still.
Let this immortal life, where'er it comes,
Walk in a crowd of loves and martyrdoms;
Let mystic deaths wait on 't, and wise souls be
The love-slain witnesses of this life of thee.
O sweet incendiary! show here thy art,
Upon this carcass of a hard cold heart,
Let all thy scatter'd shafts of light, that play
Among the leaves of thy large books of day,
Combin'd against this breast, at once break in
And take away from me my self and sin;
This gracious robbery shall thy bounty be,
And my best fortunes such fair spoils of me.
O thou undaunted daughter of desires!
By all thy dow'r of lights and fires,
By all the eagle in thee, all the dove,
By all thy lives and deaths of love,
By thy large draughts of intellectual day,
And by thy thirsts of love more large than they,
By all thy brim-fill'd bowls of fierce desire,
By thy last morning's draught of liquid fire,
By the full kingdom of that final kiss
That seiz'd thy parting soul and seal'd thee his,
By all the heav'ns thou hast in him,
Fair sister of the seraphim!
By all of him we have in thee,
Leave nothing of my self in me:
Let me so read thy life that I
Unto all life of mine may die.


by Richard Crashaw |

But Men Loved Darkness rather than Light

 The world's light shines, shine as it will,
The world will love its darkness still.
I doubt though when the world's in hell,
It will not love its darkness half so well.