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NICHOLAS BRETON.

NICHOLAS BRETON, whose monument may , puted to hiin, but probably incorrectly. The still be seen in the church of Norton, was born poem here selected was printed in London in probably about 1555. Scarcely any thing is 1601. Its quaint solemnity gives it an interest known of his life. He wrote many pastoral which perhaps in our day, on strictly poetical pieces, some of which are singularly sweet and grounds, it could not claim. Its original title was: pure, and several longer poems. A curious « An Excellent Poem upon the Longing of a povel, in which the heroine's nose is bitten off | Blessed Heart, which, loathing the World, doth by a rival of her husband, has also been im- I long to be with Christ." Breton died in 1624.

THE LONGING OF A BLESSED HEART. 1 And still to be in action day and night, .

But little thinks on God in all the figbt. What life hath he that never thinks of love? And what such love but hath a special liking? The worldly scholar loves a world of books, And what such liking but will seek to prove And spends his life in many an idle line: The best to find the comfort of his seeking ? Meanwhile his heart to heaven but little looks, But while fond thoughts in Folly's pack are Nor loves to think upon a thought divine; peeking,

These thoughts of ours, alas ! so low incline : Better conceited wits may easily find,

We seek to know what Nature can affect; The truest wealth that may enrich the mind. | But unto God have small or no respect.

But since the difference twixt the good and bad The poet with his fictions and his fancies,
Is easily seen in notes of their delights ;

Pleaseth himself with humorous inventions ; And that those notes are needful to be had, which well considered are a kind of phrensies, To see whose eyes are of the clearest sights; That carry little truth in their intentions: Whose are the days, and whose may be the While Wit and Reason falling at contentions, nights;

Make Wisdom find that Folly's strong illuFrom the poor crutch unto the princely

sion crown,

Brings Wit and Senses wholly to confusion, I will the difference, as I find, set down.

The worldly lawyer studieth right and wrong ; The worldly prince longs to increase his state, But how he judgeth, there the question lies : To conquer kingdoms, and to wear their crowns, For, if you look for what his love doth long, A foreign power by forces to abate,

It is the profit of his plea doth rise: -
To make but footstools of their fairest towns; There is the worldly lawyer's paradise !
And hates the spirits of those home-made He neither longs the right or wrong to see,
clowns,

But to be fingering of the golden fee.
That will not venture life for victory :
But yet forgets that God should have the The cosmographer doth the world survey,
glory.

The hills and dales, the nooks and little crooks,

The woods, the plains, the high, and the byThe worldly counsellor doth beat his brains,

way, How to advise his sovereign for the best, The seas, the rivers, and the little brooks : And in his place doth take continual pains All these he finds within his compast books; To keep his prince in such a pleasing rest,

And with his needle makes his measure eren; That he may still be leaning on his breast,

But all this while he doth not think of heaven. Thinking his hap unto a heaven so wrought; But yet perhaps God is not in his thought. Th' astronomer stands staring on the sky,

And will not have a thought beneath a star; The soldier he delighteth all in arms,

But by his speculation doth espy To see his colors in the field displayed ;

A world of wonder, coming from afar; And longs to see the issue of those harms, And tells of times and natures, peace and war. That may reveal an enemy dismayed,

Of Mars his sword, and Mercury his rod; A fort defeated, or a town betrayed ;

But all this while he little thinks on God.

The worldly merchant ventureth far and near; 1 The traveller delighteth in the view
And shuns nor land nor sea to make a gain; of change and choice of sundry kind of creat-
Thinks neither travel, care, nor cost too dear,

ures: If that his profit countervail his pain,

To mark the habits, and to note the hue While so his mind is on the getting vein, Of far born people and their sundry natures,

That if his ship do safely come on shore, Their shapes, their speech, their gaits, their Gold is his God, and he desires no more.

looks, their features,

And longs abroad to make his life's abode : The worldly courtier learns to crouch and creep, Yet haply never longs to be with God. Speak fair, wait close, observe his time and place,

The painter in his colors takes delight, And wake and watch, and scarcely catch a And near the life to make the likelihood; sleep,

•While only shadows do deceive the sight, Till he have got into some favor's grace,

That take such pleasure in a piece of wood; And will all cunning in his course embrace, | But doth not long for that same living food, That may unto authority advance:

Which neither eye hath seen, nor heart conBut if he think on God, it is a chance.

ceived,

The God of truth, that never soul deceived. The worldly farmer fills his barns with corn, And ploughs, and sows, and digs, and delves, / The lover, he but on his lady thinketh, and hedges,

And how to catch her in a kind content; Looks to his cattle, will not lose a horn,

And looks, and leers, and trolls the eye, and Fells down bis woods and falls unto his wedges, winketh; And grinds his axes, and doth mend their edges, And seeks how thoughts in silence may be sent; And dearly sells that he good cheap hath And longs to see the end of bis intent: bought;

And thinks himself a king, to get a kiss ;' But all this while, God is not in his thought. But where is God in all these thoughts of his ?

The sailor, he doth by his compass stand, Th'artificer that hath a work to do,
And weighs his anchor, and doth hoist his sails, And brings his hand unto his head's device,
And longs for nothing but to get on land, Longs till he see what it will come unto,
While many a storm his starting spirit quails, And how his pains hath profit in the price,
And fear of pirates his poor heart assails : And baving cast it over twice or thrice,

But once on shore, carouse and casts off fear, Joys in his heart: but scarcely hath a thought,
Yet scarcely thinks on God that set him there. To thank his God, that him the cunning taught.

The worldly preacher talks of sacrifice,

The churl that sits and champs upon his chaff, Of sacraments, and holy mysteries :

And will not stir a foot from his barn floor, Meanwhile he longs but for the benefice, Except it be among his bags to laugh, That should preserve his purse from beggaries, He can the poor so with his purse devour, Because he loves no worldly miseries :

Lonys but to use the poison of his power For many a preacher that God's word hath Tenrich himself, to bring a world to naught; taught,

Shows that God never dwells within his thought. Shows by his life, God lives not in his thought.

As for those beggarly conditions
The worldly physician, that in sickness tries | Of basest trades, that like to miry hogs,
The nature of the herbs and minerals,

| Do show their spirit's dispositions,
And in his simples and his compounds spies | In digging with their noses under logs
Which way to make the patients' funerals, For slime and worms, or like to ravening dogs,
Or profit by bis cures in generals ;

Long but for that which doth the belly fill, Longs but to see how long they may endure; ! Most of them think on God against their will. But scarcely thinks on God in all the cure.

These are the worldlings, and their world's deThe worldly musician, that doth tune his voice, lights, Unto such notes as music's skill hath set; Whose longing, God knows, is not worth the Whose heart doth in the harmony rejoice,

loving : Where pleasing consorts are most kindly met: These are the objects of those evil sights, But still perhaps his spirit doth forget,

That Virtue hath from her fair eyes removing ; In all his hymns, and songs, and sweetest These are the passions of Corruption's proving: lays,

But they that love and long for God his sight, To think of God, or of his worthy praise. In worldly trifles never take delight. The politician hath a world of plots,

The prince, anointed with the oil of grace, In which his spirit hath especial spies ;

Who sits with Mercy, in the seat of peace, Ties and unties a thousand sundry knots, Will long to see his Saviour in the face, In which the substance of his study lies; And all his right into his hands release; And many tricks his close experience tries, | Whose only sight would make all sorrow cease),

How to deceive the world with many a wile; And lay both crown and kingdom at his feet, But never thinks on God in all the while. | But of his presence to enjoy the sweet.

The chancellor with heavenly grace inspired,
Where wisdom guides the lineaments of wit,
Although he hath to honor's place aspired,
His heart doth show it longs not after it;
His love desires a higher mark to hit :

For while he leaneth on his prince's breast,
His longing is, but with his God to rest.

| The mariner that oft hath past the seas,

And in his perils seen the power of God,
Whose only mercy doth the storms appease,
And brings the ship unto his wished road,
Will never long on earth to make abode;

But in the heavens to see that blessed hand,
That at his beck so rules both sea and land.

The courtier, that is once in God his grace, The merchant that hath cast within his mind, Whatever countenance in the court he bears, How much the spirit's gain the flesh, surmounts, His heart aspireth to a better place;

And by his faith in mercy's love doth find Which humble love doth long for with those The joyful sum of such a soul's, accounts, tears

As to salvation of the whole amounts; . Which all to naught the pride of pleasure wears, i. Will leave the world but on Christ's face to And never rests until his God he see,

look, With whom his soul in love doth long to be. Which all the faithful make their living book.

The soldier that hath fought the spirit's fight, The farmer that hath felt his neighbor's need,
Will put off war, and long to live in peace; And found how God and charity are one ;
And not in discord, but concord delight, And knows there is a better kind of feed,
While gracious kindness makes all quarrels Than grass, or corn, or flesh, or blood, or bone,
cease;

Will wish himself from his world's treasure While patience doth all passions so appease,

gone, That he shall find that soldier only blest, Upon those joys to feed in mercy's bliss, Whose faith, in God, doth set his soul at Where Christ his presence is heaven's pararest.

dise.

The lawyer that hath read the laws of God,
And in his heart is touched with his love,
And knows the smart of the supernal rod,
Will one day work for silly souls' behove,
Who have their comfort in the heavens above,

Will leave all golden fees to see the grace,
That mercy's justice shows in Jesus' face.

The true physician that doth know the natures
And dispositions of each element,
And knows that God created hath all creatures
Beneath, and eke above the firmament,
And over all hath only government,

Will only long that glorious God to know,
That gives the sickness and doth cure it so."

Tbe scholar that begins with Christ his cross, The soul's musician that doth find the ground
And seeks good speed but in the Holy Ghost, Of truest music but in God his grace,
Finds by his book that silver is but dross, Will think all singing but an idle sound,
And all his labor in his study lost;

Where God his praise hath not the highest place,
Where faith, of mercy, cannot sweetly boast, And only longs to see that blessed face,
And love doth long for any other bliss,

Which makes the virgins, saints, and angels Than what in God and in his graces is,

sing

An hallelujah to their heavenly king. And such a poet as the psalmist was, Who had no mind but on his master's love, The preacher, that doth in his soul believe Whose muses did the world in music pass, | The word of God, which to the world he teachThat only sung but of the soul's behove,

eth, In giving glory to the God above,

And in his spirit inwardly doth grieve, Would all world's fictions wholly lay aside, | He cannot live so heavenly as he preacheth, And only long but with the Lord to bide. While faith no further than to mercy reacheth;

Would wish in soul to leave his benefice, The cosmographer, that by rules of grace

To make himself to Christ a sacrifice.
Surveys the city of the heavenly saints,
Will never long for any earthly place,

The politician that hath plotted much
That either pen prescribes, or painter paints; In worldly matters, greatly to his gain ;
But in the faith that never fails nor faints, Will find, if God do once his spirit touch,
Will long to see in heaven's Jerusalem

Zaccheus' heart will have another vein
The gracious God of glorious diadem.

To climb aloft, and to come down again ;

And leave all plots to come but to that place, The true astronomer that sees the sun,

Where he might see sweet Jesus in the face. And knows that God from whom it takes his light,

Th' artificer that hath a work in hand, And in the course the moon and stars do run, And feels the grace of God within his heart; Fivds the true guider of the day and night, And by the same doth surely understand, Longs but to see his only blessed sight,

How God alone perfecteth every part, Who sun, and moon, and stars their bright | And only is the giver of all art, ness gives,

Will gladly leave his work and long to be, And in whose face all brightness, glory, Where he might Christ his soul's work-master The painter that doth paint a dainty image ! That well from thence the proverb sweet So near the life, as may be to the same,

lives.

see.

might spring,
And makes an ass unto an owl do homage, The love of brethren is a blessed thing.
While shadows bring the senses out of frame,
If God his heart once with his love inflame, Well may I see the notes of Nature's grief,

His pictures all will under foot be trod, In absence of the object of affection ;
And he will long but for the living God. And longing for the substance of relief,

In presence find the life of love's perfection,
The traveller that walks the world about, | While eye and heart are led by one direction;
And sees the glorious works of God on high ; Yet all this while I do not truly prove
If God his grace once kindly find him out,

The blessed longing of the spirit's love. And unto heaven do lift his humble eye, His soul in faith will such perfections spy, When Mary Magdalen, so full of sin,

That leaving all that he on earth can see, As made her heart a harbor of ill thought, His love will long but with the Lord to be. Felt once the grace of God to enter in,

And drive them out that her destruction sought; The churl that never chaunc't upon a thought Her soul was then to Jesus' love so wrought, of charity, nor what belongs thereto;

As that with tears in true affect did prove
If God his grace have once his spirit brought, The pleasing longing of the spirit's love.
To feel what good the faithful almers do,
The love of Christ will so his spirit woo, | In grief she went all weeping to his grave,

That he will leave barns, corn, and bags of coin, Longing to see him or alive or dead;
And land and life, with Jesus' love to join. And would not cease until her love might have

Her longèd fruit, on which her spirit fed,
Thus from the prince unto the poorest state, One blessed crumb of that sweet beavenly bread
Who seems to live as void of reason's sense, 1 Of angels' food, but of her Lord a sight,
If God once come, who never comes too late, l Whose heavenly presence proved her soul's
And touch the soul with his sweet quintessence

delight. Of mercy's gracious glorious patience,

His soul will leave whatever it doth love, Midas did long for nothing else but gold,
And long to live but with the Lord above. And he was kindly choked for his choice;

Such longing love doth with too many bold,
Now to the tenure of that longing time, Which only do in worldly dross rejoice.
That loving spirits think too long will last ; But did they hearken to the heavenly voice,
The maid new married, in her pregnant prime, | Their diamonds should not so for dross be
Longs till the time of forty weeks be past

sold, And blameth time he makes no greater haste; And they would long for God and not for

Till in her arms she sweetly have received
Her comfort's fruit, within her womb conceived.

Zaccheus, too long, longèd for such dross, Thus forty weeks she labors all in love,

Till Jesus came, his spirit's further joy; And at the last doth travail all in pain :

And then he found his vain did yield but loss, But shortly after doth such comfort prove, | While sin in conscience bred the soul's annoy, As glads her heart, and makes all whole again; And unto heaven the world was but a toy; So in her infant's pretty smiling vein,

He left it all and climbed up a tree, Pleasing herself, that all her grief is gone, To show his longing how but Christ to see. When she may have her babe to look upon.

And well he longed that so his love received, Penelope, at her dear love's departing,

Who sweetly saw, and kindly called him down: In sober kindness did conceal her care;

His stature low, but his love high conceived, Though in her heart she had that inward smarting, Who so was graced by Mercy's glorious crown, That Time's continuance after did declare; As having cause upon his sins to frown; Where constant love did show, without compare, Forgave the works that did deserve damnaA perfect passion of true virtues vain,

tion, Longing but for Ulysses home again.

And filled his house with glory of salvation.

gold.

How many years the story doth set down,
In which she felt the gall of absence, grief:
When constant faith on foul effects did frown,
Which sought to be to charity a thief,
Of Nature's beauty the true honor chief:
Long languishing in absence, cruel hell ;
But when she saw his presence all is well.

A blessing longing of a blessed love!
| Would so all souls did love, and so did long;
And in their longing might so sweetly prove
The gracious ground of such a glorious song,
As kills all sin that doth the spirit wrong;

And sing with Simeon at his Saviour's sight, | “Oh now my soul depart in peace, delight!"

But if I may in boly lines begin,
To speak of Joseph, and his longing love
Unto his brethren, but to Benjamin
To note the passion Nature did approve,
Which did such tears in his affection move,

Oh blessed Simeon, blessed was thy love, And thy love's longing for thy Saviour so, | Who wrought so sweetly for thy soul's behove,

As from thy prayers would not let thee go, | Till to thy love he did his presence show,

Which made thee sing, when sorrows all did , What heart can think how that soul blessed is, cease,

That ever hath his Saviour in his sight? “Lord, let thy servant now depart in peace!” The sunny day that never hath a night?

Oh that my spirit might so ever pray, “For I, according to thy word, have seen

That I might live to see that blessed day. The glorious substance of my soul's salvation; Thy word, in whom my trust hath ever been, The day that only springeth from on high, And now hath found my comfort's confirma. That high daylight wherein the heavens do live; tion !"

The life that loves but to bebold that eye, Thus did he make a joyful declaration

Which doth the glory of all brightness give, Of that sweet sight of his sweet Saviour's face, and from th' enlightened doth all darkness That was the glory of his spirit's grace.

drive:

Where saints do see, and angels know to be How many years he all in prayer spent,

A brighter light than saints or angels see. For the beholding of his blessed love! What was the issue of his hope's event,

In this light's love, oh, let me ever live! And how his prayers did prevail above,

And let my soul have never other love, That so his God did unto mercy move,

But all the pleasures of the world to give, As to his arms to send his only Son,

The smallest spark of such a joy to prove, The story doth of all th' Apostles run! And ever pray unto my God above,

To grant my humble soul good Simeon's grace, He was well called, good Simeon, for that grace, In love to see my Saviour in the face. That God hath given the spirit of his love; That love that longed but in his Saviour's face, O face more fair than fairness can contain: To see the blessing of his soul's behove, 10 eye more bright than brightness can declare : And blessed prayer, that did truly prove O light more pure than passion can explain :

A blessed soul, that could not prayer cease, O life more blest than may with bliss compare: Till Christ bis presence came to give it peace. O heaven of heavens where such perfections

are!
So should all souls their love's chief longing Let my soul live to love, to long to be
have,

Ever in prayer, but to look on thee!
All souls I mean of every Christian heart,
That seek or hope both heart and soul to save | But, oh unworthy eye of such a sight;
From hell, damnation, and supernal smart; | And all unworthy heart of such a love;
This is the love that, in the living part

Unworthy love, to long for such a light;
Of mercy's power, shall find that blessedness, Unworthy longing such a life to prove;
That is the spirit's only happiness.

Unworthy life, so high a suit to move!

Thus all unworthy of so high a grace, Nor can love look to limit out a time,

How shall I see my Saviour in the face? But now and then and evermore attend; For he shall never to that comfort climb, All by the prayer of true penitence, That will not all his life in prayer spend, Where faith in tears attendeth grace's time, Until he see his Saviour in the end : . My soul doth hope in mercy's patience,

In whose sweet face doth all and only rest My heart all cleansèd from my sinful crime, The heavenly joy that makes the spirit blest. To see the springing of Aurora's prime,

In those bright beams of that sweet blessed Blest be the spirit that so longs and loves,

sun As did Zaccheus and good Simeon :

Of my dear God, in whom all bliss begun. And from his faithful prayer never moves, Until he find his life to look upon,

And that my soul may such a blessing see, And in such love is all so over-gone,

Let my heart pray, and praying never cease, That in such joy his heart and spirit dwells, | Till heart and soul may both together be As having Christ, it cares for nothing else. Blest in thy sight all sorrows doth release ;

And with good Simeon then depart in peace! Oh blessed Christ, the essence of all bliss,

Oh then : but then, and only ever then, All blessed souls love's longings' chief delight ! | Blest be my soul, sweet Jesus say Amen,

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