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PAGE 2

An Hymne Of Heavenly Beautie
by [?]

Faire is the heaven where happy soules have place,
In full enioyment of felicitie,
Whence they doe still behold the glorious face
Of the Divine Eternall Maiestie;
More faire is that where those Idees on hie
Enraunged be, which Plato so admyred,
And pure Intelligences from God inspyred.

Yet fairer is that heaven in which do raine
The soveraigne Powres and mightie Potentates,
Which in their high protections doe containe
All mortall princes and imperiall states;
And fayrer yet whereas the royall Seates
And heavenly Dominations are set,
From whom all earthly governance is fet*.
[* Fet, fetched, derived.]

Yet farre more faire be those bright Cherubins,
Which all with golden wings are overdight,
And those eternall burning Seraphins,
Which from their faces dart out fierie light;
Yet fairer then they both, and much more bright,
Be th’Angels and Archangels, which attend
On Gods owne person, without rest or end.

These thus in faire each other farre excelling,
As to the Highest they approach more near,
Yet is that Highest farre beyond all telling,
Fairer then all the rest which there appeare,
Though all their beauties ioyn’d together were;
How then can mortall tongue hope to expresse
The image of such endlesse perfectnesse?

Cease then, my tongue! and lend unto my mynd
Leave to bethinke how great that Beautie is,
Whose utmost* parts so beautifull I fynd;
How much more those essentiall parts of His,
His truth, his love, his wisedome, and his blis,
His grace, his doome**, his mercy, and his might,
By which he lends us of himselfe a sight!
[* Utmost, outmost.]
[** Doome, judgment.]

Those unto all he daily doth display,
And shew himselfe in th’image of his grace,
As in a looking-glasse, through which he may
Be seene of all his creatures vile and base,
That are unable else to see his face;
His glorious face! which glistereth else so bright,
That th’angels selves can not endure his sight.

But we, fraile wights! whose sight cannot sustaine
The suns bright beames when he on us doth shyne,
But* that their points rebutted** backe againe
Are duld, how can we see with feeble eyne
The glorie of that Maiestie Divine,
In sight of whom both sun and moone are darke,
Compared to his least resplendent sparke?
[* But, unless.]
[** Rebutted, reflected.]

The meanes, therefore, which unto us is lent
Him to behold, is on his workes to looke.
Which he hath made in beauty excellent,
And in the same, as in a brasen booke,
To read enregistred in every nooke
His goodnesse, which his beautie doth declare;
For all thats good is beautifull and faire.

Thence gathering plumes of perfect speculation
To impe* the wings of thy high flying mynd,
Mount up aloft through heavenly contemplation
From this darke world, whose damps the soule do blynd,
And, like the native brood of eagles kynd,
On that bright Sunne of Glorie fixe thine eyes,
Clear’d from grosse mists of fraile infirmities.
[* Impe, mend, strengthen.]

Humbled with feare and awfull reverence,
Before the footestoole of his Maiestie
Throw thy selfe downe, with trembling innocence,
Ne dare looke up with corruptible eye
On the dred face of that great Deity,
For feare lest, if he chaunce to look on thee,
Thou turne to nought, and quite confounded be.

But lowly fall before his mercie seate,
Close covered with the Lambes integrity
From the iust wrath of His avengefull threate
That sits upon the righteous throne on hy;
His throne is built upon Eternity,
More firme and durable then steele or brasse,
Or the hard diamond, which them both doth passe.