Written By the LORDS in the TOWER.

An Heroick Poem.

Ante Obitum Nemo—

LONDON, Printed for James Vade at the Cock and Sugar-Loaf in Fleet-Street, 1681.

A Paradox against LIFE.

WHen GOD the Mighty Mass of Matter Made,
As yet, no Light nor Form, the Chaos had.
Darkness sole Monarch was Below, the Mass
Look't all Confus'd, and with an Ethiop's Face.
'Till the Almighty Fiat call'd forth Light,
From the Black VVomb of yet Eternal Night.
Light, without which, the VVorld had ne're been seen,
Nor good, could e're the Six-Days VVork, have been.
The living Stream was not to Pipes Convey'd,
But in the pure Eternal Fountain, staid.
'Twas near the End of the Creation grown,
Before Life (Now th' Unhappy Thing) was known.
VVhen God, the Gift First to the Fish, was given,
For the Great Whale, was the first-Born of Heaven.
Man though the First, in Order was the Last,
That from his Maker, did this Bounty Tast.
Too Sweet alas, to be a Long Repast!
His Short-liv'd Glory, but fore-run his Shame,
And Paradise did seem a Vanish'd Dream.
How short a time, Poor Wretch! thy Bliss did last,
Thy Brighter Morn, was in its Rise Ore-cast.
O Fatal Ill! Which Mankind may bemoan,
All Edens Fruits were freely Given, save One.
But things Unlawful most Affected be,
And Evab Long'd for the Forbidden Tree.
What Restless Passions Rackt the Doubtful Mind▪
Who by Free-Will to Eat, were quickly pin'd,
And a Plague, worse than Famin, left their Kind.
The passive Mind, was by Enflam'd Desire,
To the New Fabrick's ruin, set on Fire.
Vain and insatiat Appetite and Lust,
Have brought him Back more Low, than to the Dust.
The World's First-Great-Recorder, does Relate,
Of Wretched Man, the Miserable State.
Who following Sence, 'gainst Reason did Rebel,
And Traytor-like, from All his Glories Fell.
Whil'st in a State of Innocence He stood,
No Fear made Beasts seek Shelter in the Wood.
Nor did the Birds, with hasty Wings take Flight;
All Hover'd Round, and Wonder'd at the Sight.
But when He Fell, How Visible Sin was,
That Birds and Beasts could Read it in His Face?
With various hast, th' afrighted Croud's Repair,
Some to the Woods, some to remoter Ayr,
Thus when a Prince turns Traytor to the Laws,
His Loyal Subjects do decline his Cause.
Ah Curiousness! First Cause of all Our Ill,
And yet the Plague, which does Infect us still.
Now look no more for Rest, for Toyl thou must,
Till whence First come, thou bee'st brought back to Dust.
The Breath which Blest his Heaven-Stampt-Dust, is now,
That which the Subject makes him of all Woe,
And rowles the troubl'd Bubble too and froe.
What does Man's Life, when most Serene afford?
'Tis but a Worm that gnaws the fairest Gourd.
Our Days of Gladness are but short Reliefs,
Given to reserve us for enduring Griefs.
Poor Span of wretched Earth! If measur'd by
The tedious Raign of Life's Calamity,
Though thus Contracted, still thou may'st Complain,
That yet too much of Patriarch does remain.
If in Long Life, there may a Blessing be,
'Twas only known in the World's Infancy.
Man then, a Stag or Raven, could survive,
But we can scarce with Bats or Swallows Live.
We spend the Summer of Our Days, as They,
To rear a pile of Dirt, and so away.
The Sap of Life now to the Root is sunk,
And the Hydropick Earth the Juice hath drunk.
If Lifes Meanders to the Spring we trace,
It rises Troubled, and in Storms doth pass.
Th' impetuous Torrent, swelling we shall find,
Like Tydes born up, by a strong Western Wind,
Mouldring the Bancks, in which it is Confin'd.
It dwells in Blood, and is the Tyde of Fate,
And does in Cares and Sorrows Circulate.
In secret Channels, through the grosser Mass,
That Small-Red-Sea, pursuing Life doth pass.
But no where Rests, no Place affordeth Ease,
To this poor Mans uncurable Disease;
A breath soon gone, made up of Sighs and Groans,
Th' unhappy Ligament of Flesh and Bones.
From dull Privation, and lean Emptiness,
A Quintescence deriv'd from Nothingness.
The false and gaudy Colours of the Bowe,
May boast as much reallity, as Thou:
Iris may be thy Rival in each part,
Who but the Dream of a faint Shadow art.
Sun, Water, Earth, the Elements in One,
Doe Club alike, for your Production.
Both, as the Smoak do vanish, and Our Breath,
Serves only to bear up the Wings of Death.
A busy noisy thing, that do'st Express,
But hollow joy, and real Emptiness.
Almost each Circumstance of Life declares,
How flat Man's Joyes are, and how sharp his Cares.
A Glowe-worms fainter Light, that shines in vain,
Extinguisht by the least of Cynthias Train.
Isthmu's of Earth! That do'st so proudly rise,
And thrust thy self, 'twixt two Eternities.
That do'st in pain, the shock of time, sustain,
And washt away, art swallow'd in the Main.
This vast Triangle, this most Huge small thing
Which all the World within it self can bring,
Lifes quaking Center, still first Quick, last Kill'd,
Like to some vast Abysse can ne're be fill'd.
It still is pin'd, and does complain for Rest,
By its continual beating in our Breast.
Mysterious Riddle, which the Grave does Read,
We can't be truly said to Live, 'till Dead!
We to a Forraign Country Natives are,
And must by Pain and Travel, enter there,
'Till once Arriv'd, where we should dayly tend,
Cares painful Progress, cannot have an End.
Our being from Above, does let us Know,
We're in Antipathy to things below.
And all our Ayery Joyes do Anguish bring;
They want the Honey, but retain the Sting.
Yet hug Our selves, in hopes that Life will grant,
Some good, of which we still are Ignorant.
This Lesser World, in which we so much Trust,
What is it, but a Wind inclos'd in Dust?
A VVorld in which, VVar never yet did Cease,
For still Intestine Foes disturb its Peace.
Unkinder Nature to a State of VVar,
Designs us, though we most Defenceless are.
Man's Life's a Warfare, and we're prest upon
A most unequal Combat, Three to One.
But the brave Victor reaps a Glorious Crown.
The wretched Creature Man's no sooner Born,
But with Good-Morrows, we Salute his Morn.
Though in a rugged and a narrow way,
The Pilgrim's bound to Travel out his Day.
But to his Inn, when he does Safe Arrive,
Although his Night of Rest be come, VVe Grieve.
VVith Joy we see him Launch into the Storm,
But when he reaches the Calm Port, we Mourn.
What a Prepostr'ous Kindness do we show,
Paying Our Joy to th' Object of all Woe?
By the Reverse, the Spartans do Express
Their Joy and Sorrow in an Apter Dress.
Man at his Birth, instructs us for to Cry,
Complaining strait of Life's great Injury,
And does Himself Weep his own Obsequie.
His Births Portentous, and He falls upon,
An Ominous Precipitation.
The Lumpe of Earth is Kneaded up of Ill,
Swelling and Fainting, though he goes Down-Hill.
What are those Joyes, that He can call his own,
That make the bitter Draught of Life, go down?
Life's the great Hinge, on which uneasie Man,
Does turn in Paine and never quiet Hang.
Life, which from Worldly Care, Contracts each Day,
A Rust, which Eates our Polish't joyes away.
Life is a strange and Fatal Energy,
Which does imploy Our Sence in Misery.
It winds the Curious Clock-Work up, and strait,
To make it go, hangs on a Heavy Wait.
The Chrystal Spheres, the Lanthorns of Our Sight,
(Whether by drawing or dispersing Light)
The gen'ral Spies, that ev'ry thing do mark,
Of all the Lesser World the brightest Spark;
Which straight, when clos'd, does make the Great seem Dark:
Did of Chief Pleasures, once the Center prove,
Both from the World Below, and that Above.
Suns of the Senses, Mirrors of the Mind,
Twin-Orbs of Light, which once so Brightly shin'd,
The Windowes of the Man, 'till Sight doth fail,
Clear as the Chrystals, and as Chrystals frail;
Being perverted from their Use, at first,
Are turn'd to Stars of Pride, and Flames of Lust.
By These, as Doors, all Mischiefs enter in,
The Baits, the Panders and the Gates of Sin.
These Living Lab'rynths, entertaining Sounds,
Which bring the Stuff, on which the Judgment Grounds.
As ready Porters at Attendance sit,
And whatsoever strikes, do straight Admit.
These oft' with Pleasure, smooth Afflicting Care,
VVhil'st some Harmonious Sound does Charm the Ayr.
Yet like some Strumpet that's grown Dissolute,
Are to the most Obscene, a Prostitute.
VVhil'st strong Desires, faint Goodness do Controul,
And Circes-like, pour Poison in the Soul.
By the strange Charms of a Seducing Tongue,
Are Tempted, and Corrupted, unto Wrong.
Sin makes Attaques still on the Weaker Parts,
And by our Eyes and Ears, does Storm our Hearts.
These are the Mines, which first blow up the Mind,
To Lust, Ambition, Sins of ev'ry kind,
Which all our Strength by Treaty do betray,
'Gainst Sense and Reasons Charge, a Guard-less way.
I'th' Ear and Eye, Satan in Ambush lay.
These Potent-Entries, can hold nothing out,
But give each Minute grounds for Fear or Doubt.
Impregnable had this Frail-Fort of Dust
Been against all the Batteries of Lust,
Had not his Senses wrought his overthrow,
By holding Correspondence with the Foe.
Besiegers quickly may the Castle Win,
If they Corrupt the Sentinels Within.
Unhappy Man! VVhose Lifes sublimest Bliss,
In the Enjoyment but his Ruin is!
Yet Spaniel-natur'd, though he's Beaten so,
The Rod he Kisses, and in Love does grow,
With the Inchanting Syrens of his VVo.
Go ask the Tortur'd VVretch upon the Rack,
VVhen his strong Joynts and Nerv's, with Anguish Crack,
How 'tis he Knows he suffers so much Pain?
He'l Cry, He Feels it, and of Life complain.
Life is by her own Cruelty undone;
For Sence no longer Feels, than Life layes on.
She Chains the Slave to th' Gallie, bids him Row,
VVhich he must do, 'cause Life will have it so.
Let us no more against the Turks Exclaim,
This prouder Sultan must endure the Blame.
She puts us to a Vast Expence, we pay
All that we Have, Each Moment, for her Stay.
And must at Ev'ry Turn, be waited on;
For if Neglected, the shye Guest is gone.
BEHOLD the greatest Man of all the East,
VVho was (if Riches make Man so) most Blest!
The Dying Swan in a Melodious Strain,
For all His Patience, does of Life complain.
His Comforters were such, they brought far more
Sorrow, than all his Messengers before.
From Death alone He does expect His Cure;
Death, that's the last of Remedies, and Sure.
Death whose Officious Hand, Binds up the Sore,
VVhich with a Pot-sherd he had Prob'd before.
The Friendly Porter, who Unlocks the Gate,
And bids the Lazer now, no longer Wait.
Death that does Wing him, for's Eternal Home,
And bids him Flie, quick as his Thoughts have done.
Both by the Separation now will Gain,
One, Bliss; the Other, Freedom from All Pain.
Then the Souls Knowledge, which before alone,
Was at the best but Speculation.
Will be reduced to a Certaintie,
What now She Knows by Hear-say, then She'l See.
As Travellers best Know, if Fame speak True,
When they in Forrein Lands the Wonder View.
She recollects Her Faculties, Diffus'd
Amid'st Frail Flesh, no more to be Abus'd.
Then parts in Tryumph, freed from Earthly Toyles,
Yet Stayes to'th' last, to gather up Her Spoyles.
VVHY are We holden in this sad Suspence?
Death's the great'st Blessing, that You can Dispence.
The Cruel Catt thus Dallies with her Prey,
Sporting awhile with what she makes Away.
Make hast, lest Nature should Anticipate,
The Glorious Work that is design'd for Fate.
We, like to Codrus, would ev'n Death Embrace,
If for Our Country's Good, and Publick Peace.
To th' Innocent, to Dye's an Easy Thing,
Death does i'th' dread'st Accost, no Terror bring.
An Ax no more our Spirits can Command,
Than can a Phleghm in the Physitians Hand.
Death in its self, is but a Harmless Thing,
'Tis Apprehention Contributes the Sting.
And since a Debt to Nature we do own,
Better on Scaffolds paid, than Beds of Down.
Those Lords of Fortune, sweeten ev'ry State,
Who can Command Themselves, though not their Fate.
Thy Rod, Affliction, is to us most Dear,
VVho lays it on, will give us Strength to bear.
The storms of Fate, we bravely can defie,
Whilst on the Rock of Ages we rely.
And missing but the false World's Glories, do,
Miss all the Ills which do Attend it, Too.
Here, from Court-Ryots, we secured are;
From Cheats of Marts, and Clamors of the Bar:
And from the Pulpit; A Worse Mischief far!
VVhat great Perfections can those Parsons Reach,
VVho far from Practice, only strive to Preach?
VVho Learn their Science, as an Art to Gain;
And wanting Salt, would Season Souls in Vain.
Who to Buy Earth, do Sell out shares of Heaven,
And drive a Trade, with what is freely Given.
Vile Avarice, and Pride! From Heaven Accurst,
In all Men Bad, but in a Church-Man Worst!
That King, who was for Wisdom most Approv'd,
Whose Mind and Fortune in like Measure mov'd.
Reacht to those Heights of Bliss, that Earth could Breed,
Whil'st Wealth and Honour striv'd, which should Exceed.
Even He was Crost Alive, and Scorn'd when Dead,
By Lifes great Happiness, unhappy Made.
Of Senceless Honour, we Renounce the Care,
The First Man he was Made, the rest Born Bare.
These Floating Treasures come and go with Breath,
And nothing have to give so good as Death.
Honour and Wealth, Ambitions Twins, with Pains
Are bred, which Man with Tort'ring Care, Maintains.
Only the Prickles in Possession stay,
When these Gay Roses Fade and Fall away.
We can without a Paradox, Believe,
Though still Confin'd, we do in Freedom Live.
And when the Audit of our Days is come,
And all our Items in one Total Sum,
The Chearfulness with which, to Death wee'l go,
A Dying Proof shall of this Poem show.

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