A ward, and still in bonds, one day
        I stole abroad;
It was high spring, and all the way
   Primrosed and hung with shade;
   Yet was it frost within,
        And surly winds
Blasted my infant buds, and sin
   Like clouds eclipsed my mind.
Stormed thus, I straight perceived my spring
        Mere stage and show,
My walk a monstrous, mountained thing,
   Roughcast with rocks and snow;
   And as a pilgrim’s eye,
        Far from relief,
Measures the melancholy sky,
   Then drops and rains for grief,
So sighed I upwards still; at last
        ’Twixt steps and falls
I reached the pinnacle, where placed
   I found a pair of scales;
   I took them up and laid
        In th’ one, late pains;
The other smoke and pleasures weighed,
   But proved the heavier grains.
With that some cried, “Away!” Straight I
        Obeyed, and led
Full east, a fair, fresh field could spy;
   Some called it Jacob’s bed,
   A virgin soil which no
        Rude feet ere trod,
Where, since he stepped there, only go
   Prophets and friends of God.
Here I reposed; but scarce well set,
        A grove descried
Of stately height, whose branches met
   And mixed on every side;
   I entered, and once in,
        Amazed to see ’t,
Found all was changed, and a new spring
   Did all my senses greet.
The unthrift sun shot vital gold,
        A thousand pieces,
And heaven its azure did unfold,
   Checkered with snowy fleeces;
   The air was all in spice,
        And every bush
A garland wore; thus fed my eyes,
   But all the ear lay hush.
Only a little fountain lent
        Some use for ears,
And on the dumb shades language spent
   The music of her tears;
   I drew her near, and found
        The cistern full
Of divers stones, some bright and round,
   Others ill—shaped and dull.
The first, pray mark, as quick as light
        Danced through the flood,
But the last, more heavy than the night,
   Nailed to the center stood;
   I wondered much, but tired
        At last with thought,
My restless eye that still desired
   As strange an object brought.
It was a bank of flowers, where I descried
        Though ’twas midday,
Some fast asleep, others broad—eyed
   And taking in the ray;
   Here, musing long, I heard
        A rushing wind
Which still increased, but whence it stirred
   No where I could not find.
I turned me round, and to each shade
        Dispatched an eye
To see if any leaf had made
   Least motion or reply,
   But while I listening sought
        My mind to ease
By knowing where ’twas, or where not,
   It whispered, “Where I please.”
“Lord,” then said I, “on me one breath,
And let me die before my death!”
Cant. chap. 5. ver. 17
Arise O North, and come thou South—wind and blow upon my garden, that
the spices thereof may flow out.
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