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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Henry More (1614–1687)


COLLECT 1 thy soul into one sphere
Of light, and ’bove the earth it rear:
Those wild scatter’d thoughts that erst
Lay loosely in the world dispersed,
Call in: thy spirit thus knit in one        5
Fair lucid orb, thy fears be gone
Like vain impostures of the night
That fly before the morning bright.
Then with pure eyes thou shalt behold
How the First Goodness doth infold        10
All things in loving tender arms;
That deemèd mischiefs are no harms,
But sovereign salves and skilful cures
Of greater woes the world endures;
That man’s stout soul may win a state        15
Far raised above the reach of Fate.
Then wilt thou say, God rules the world,
Though mountain over mountain hurled
Be pitch’d amid the foaming main,
Which busy winds to wrath constrain;        20
Though inward tempests fiercely rock
The tott’ring earth, that with the shock
High spires and heavy rocks fall down,
With their own weight drove into ground;
Though pitchy blasts from hell upborne        25
Stop the outgoings of the morn,
And Nature play her fiery games
In this forced night with fulgurant flames;
Baring by fits for more affright
The pale dead visages, ghastly sight,        30
Of men astonish’d at the stoure
Of heaven’s great rage, the rattling shower
Of hail, the hoarse bellowing of thunder,
Their own loud shrieks made mad with wonder;
All this confusion cannot move        35
The purgèd mind, freed from the love
Of commerce with her body dear,
Cell of sad thoughts, sole spring of fear.
Power, Wisdom, Goodness sure did frame
This universe and still guide the same.        40
But thoughts from passions sprung, deceive
Vain mortals. No man can contrive
A better course than what’s been run
Since the first circuit of the sun.
He that beholds all from on high        45
Knows better what to do than I.
I’m not mine own: should I repine
If He dispose of what’s not mine?
Purge but thy soul of blind self-will,
Thou straight shall see God doth no ill.        50
The world He fills with the bright rays
Of His free goodness. He displays
Himself throughout. Like common air
That Spirit of Life through all doth fare,
Sucked in by them as vital breath        55
That willingly embrace not death.
But those that with that living law
Be unacquainted, cares do gnaw;
Mistrust of God’s good providence
Doth daily vex their wearied sense.        60
Note 1. Henry More, one of the so-called Cambridge Platonists, wrote a philosophical poem, in the Spenserian stanza, called “A Platonick Song of the Soul,” with parts called Psychozoia, Psychathanasia, Anti-psychopannychia, etc. The poems here given are from “Minor Poems,” 1647. [back]