Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Rejoicing in the Ideal World

John Norris has a number of poems that are hard to find. Here are two (source: Richard Acworth, The Philosophy of John Norris of Bemerton, Georg Olms Verlag Hildesheim, New York: 1979).

From An Essay towards the Theory of the Ideal or Intelligible World, Part I.

Lay down, proud heart, they rebel arms,
And own thy Conqueror divine,
In vain thou dost resist such charms,
In vain the arrows of his love decline.

There is no dealing with this potent fair,
I must, my God, I must love thee.
Thy charms but too victorious are,
They leave me not my native liberty.

A holy force spreads through my soul,
And ravishes my heart away.
The world its motion does control
In vain, the happy captive will not stay.

No more does she her wonted freedom boast,
More proud of thy celestial chain,
Free-will itself were better lost
Than ever to revolt from thee again.

Sun of my soul, what shall I do
They beauties to resist or bear?
They bless, and yet they pain me too,
I feel thy heat too strong, thy light too clear.

I faint, I languish, I almost expire,
My panting heart dissolving lies,
Thou must shine less, or I retire,
Shade thou they light, I cannot turn my eyes.


From the same, Part II.

Sing then ye blest attendants on his throne,
Humns as immortal as your joys above;
The fountain of your bliss and knowledge own,
And as you shine with light, so burn with love.

Praise the great Author of your brighter day,
To us below a star, to you a sun:
With never silent harps this tribute pay,
And Halleluyas that are still begun.

You see the rising springs of life and light,
Which with a double tide your brests o'erflow,
Oh praise the beatific object of your sight,
Whose good's your life, and by whose light you know.

You need not fear the exhausting of your lays,
While you in song exalt your heavenly King;
He has a boundless theme to employ your praise,
As you a whole eternity to sing.

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