20+ Best Anne Bradstreet Poems You Must Know

Anne Bradstreet, née Dudley, was the most prominent of early English poets of North America and first writer in England’s North American colonies to be published. Her poetry style and form became less conventional, and instead, she wrote more personally and directly.

If you’re searching for best known poems that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of greatest Gwendolyn Brooks poems, profound Elizabeth Barrett Browning poems, and Robert Burns poems.

Most Famous Poems by Anne Bradstreet

To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more we may live ever.

By Night when Others Soundly Slept

By night when others soundly slept
And hath at once both ease and Rest,
My waking eyes were open kept
And so to lie I found it best.

.
I sought him whom my Soul did Love,
With tears I sought him earnestly.
He bow’d his ear down from Above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.
.

My hungry Soul he fill’d with Good;
He in his Bottle put my tears,
My smarting wounds washt in his blood,
And banisht thence my Doubts and fears.

.
What to my Saviour shall I give
Who freely hath done this for me?
I’ll serve him here whilst I shall live
And Loue him to Eternity

Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House

In silent night when rest I took
For sorrow near I did not look
I waked was with thund’ring noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of “Fire!” and “Fire!”
Let no man know is my desire.
I, starting up, the light did spy,
And to my God my heart did cry
To strengthen me in my distress
And not to leave me succorless.
Then, coming out, beheld a space
The flame consume my dwelling place.
And when I could no longer look,
I blest His name that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so ’twas just.
It was His own, it was not mine,
Far be it that I should repine;
He might of all justly bereft
But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the ruins oft I past
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast,
And here and there the places spy
Where oft I sat and long did lie:
Here stood that trunk, and there that chest,
There lay that store I counted best.
My pleasant things in ashes lie,
And them behold no more shall I.
Under thy roof no guest shall sit,
Nor at thy table eat a bit.
No pleasant tale shall e’er be told,
Nor things recounted done of old.
No candle e’er shall shine in thee,
Nor bridegroom’s voice e’er heard shall be.
In silence ever shall thou lie,
Adieu, Adieu, all’s vanity.
Then straight I ‘gin my heart to chide,
And did thy wealth on earth abide?
Didst fix thy hope on mold’ring dust?
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
That dunghill mists away may fly.
Thou hast an house on high erect,
Framed by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished,
Stands permanent though this be fled.
It’s purchased and paid for too
By Him who hath enough to do.
A price so vast as is unknown
Yet by His gift is made thine own;
There’s wealth enough, I need no more,
Farewell, my pelf, farewell my store.
The world no longer let me love,
My hope and treasure lies above.

Prologue

1 To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
2 Of Cities founded, Common-wealths begun,
3 For my mean Pen are too superior things;
4 Or how they all, or each their dates have run,
5 Let Poets and Historians set these forth.
6 My obscure lines shall not so dim their worth.

7 But when my wond’ring eyes and envious heart
8 Great Bartas’ sugar’d lines do but read o’er,
9 Fool, I do grudge the Muses did not part
10 ‘Twixt him and me that over-fluent store.
11 A Bartas can do what a Bartas will
12 But simple I according to my skill.

13 From School-boy’s tongue no Rhet’ric we expect,
14 Nor yet a sweet Consort from broken strings,
15 Nor perfect beauty where’s a main defect.
16 My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings,
17 And this to mend, alas, no Art is able,
18 ‘Cause Nature made it so irreparable.

19 Nor can I, like that fluent sweet-tongued Greek
20 Who lisp’d at first, in future times speak plain.
21 By Art he gladly found what he did seek,
22 A full requital of his striving pain.
23 Art can do much, but this maxim’s most sure:
24 A weak or wounded brain admits no cure.

25 I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
26 Who says my hand a needle better fits.
27 A Poet’s Pen all scorn I should thus wrong,
28 For such despite they cast on female wits.
29 If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,
30 They’ll say it’s stol’n, or else it was by chance.

31 But sure the antique Greeks were far more mild,
32 Else of our Sex, why feigned they those nine
33 And poesy made Calliope’s own child?
34 So ‘mongst the rest they placed the Arts divine,
35 But this weak knot they will full soon untie.
36 The Greeks did nought but play the fools and lie.

37 Let Greeks be Greeks, and Women what they are.
38 Men have precedency and still excel;
39 It is but vain unjustly to wage war.
40 Men can do best, and Women know it well.
41 Preeminence in all and each is yours;
42 Yet grant some small acknowledgement of ours.

43 And oh ye high flown quills that soar the skies,
44 And ever with your prey still catch your praise,
45 If e’er you deign these lowly lines your eyes,
46 Give thyme or Parsley wreath, I ask no Bays.
47 This mean and unrefined ore of mine
48 Will make your glist’ring gold but more

The Author to her Book

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth did’st by my side remain,
Till snatcht from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call.
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight,
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could.
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretcht thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobbling than is meet.
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun Cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array, ‘mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam.
In Critics’ hands, beware thou dost not come,
And take thy way where yet thou art not known.
If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none;
And for thy Mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

Upon Some Distemper of Body

In anguish of my heart replete with woes,
And wasting pains, which best my body knows,
In tossing slumbers on my wakeful bed,
Bedrenched with tears that flowed from mournful head,
Till nature had exhausted all her store,
Then eyes lay dry, disabled to weep more;
And looking up unto his throne on high,
Who sendeth help to those in misery;
He chased away those clouds and let me see
My anchor cast i’ th’ vale with safety.
He eased my soul of woe, my flesh of pain,
and brought me to the shore from troubled main.

Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 18th

In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow near I did not look,
I waken’d was with thund’ring noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of ‘fire’ and ‘fire,’
Let no man know is my Desire.
I starting up, the light did spy,
And to my God my heart did cry
To straighten me in my Distress
And not to leave me succourless.
Then coming out, behold a space
The flame consume my dwelling place.
And when I could no longer look,
I blest his grace that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so ’twas just.
It was his own; it was not mine.
Far be it that I should repine,
He might of all justly bereft
But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the Ruins oft I past
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast
And here and there the places spy
Where oft I sate and long did lie.
Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest,
There lay that store I counted best,
My pleasant things in ashes lie
And them behold no more shall I.
Under the roof no guest shall sit,
Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
No pleasant talk shall ‘ere be told
Nor things recounted done of old.
No Candle ‘ere shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom’s voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lie.
Adieu, Adieu, All’s Vanity.
Then straight I ‘gin my heart to chide:
And did thy wealth on earth abide,
Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
That dunghill mists away may fly.
Thou hast a house on high erect
Fram’d by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished
Stands permanent, though this be fled.
It’s purchased and paid for too
By him who hath enough to do.
A price so vast as is unknown,
Yet by his gift is made thine own.
There’s wealth enough; I need no more.
Farewell, my pelf; farewell, my store.
The world no longer let me love;
My hope and Treasure lies above.

Upon a Fit of Sickness

Twice ten years old not fully told
since nature gave me breath,
My race is run, my thread spun,
lo, here is fatal death.
All men must die, and so must I;
this cannot be revoked.
For Adam’s sake this word God spake
when he so high provoked.
Yet live I shall, this life’s but small,
in place of highest bliss,
Where I shall have all I can crave,
no life is like to this.
For what’s this but care and strife
since first we came from womb?
Our strength doth waste, our time doth haste,
and then we go to th’ tomb.
O bubble blast, how long can’st last?
that always art a breaking,
No sooner blown, but dead and gone,
ev’n as a word that’s speaking.
O whilst I live this grace me give,
I doing good may be,
Then death’s arrest I shall count best,
because it’s Thy decree;
Bestow much cost there’s nothing lost,
to make salvation sure,
O great’s the gain, though got with pain,
comes by profession pure.
The race is run, the field is won,
the victory’s mine I see;
Forever known, thou envious foe,
the foil belongs to thee.



The Flesh and the Spirit

In secret place where once I stood
Close by the Banks of Lacrim flood,
I heard two sisters reason on
Things that are past and things to come.
One Flesh was call’d, who had her eye
On worldly wealth and vanity;
The other Spirit, who did rear
Her thoughts unto a higher sphere.
“Sister,” quoth Flesh, “what liv’st thou on
Nothing but Meditation?
Doth Contemplation feed thee so
Regardlessly to let earth go?
Can Speculation satisfy
Notion without Reality?
Dost dream of things beyond the Moon
And dost thou hope to dwell there soon?
Hast treasures there laid up in store
That all in th’ world thou count’st but poor?
Art fancy-sick or turn’d a Sot
To catch at shadows which are not?
Come, come. I’ll show unto thy sense,
Industry hath its recompence.
What canst desire, but thou maist see
True substance in variety?
Dost honour like? Acquire the same,
As some to their immortal fame;
And trophies to thy name erect
Which wearing time shall ne’er deject.
For riches dost thou long full sore?
Behold enough of precious store.
Earth hath more silver, pearls, and gold
Than eyes can see or hands can hold.
Affects thou pleasure? Take thy fill.
Earth hath enough of what you will.
Then let not go what thou maist find
For things unknown only in mind.”

Spirit

“Be still, thou unregenerate part,
Disturb no more my settled heart,
For I have vow’d (and so will do)
Thee as a foe still to pursue,
And combat with thee will and must
Until I see thee laid in th’ dust.
Sister we are, yea twins we be,
Yet deadly feud ‘twixt thee and me,
For from one father are we not.
Thou by old Adam wast begot,
But my arise is from above,
Whence my dear father I do love.
Thou speak’st me fair but hat’st me sore.
Thy flatt’ring shews I’ll trust no more.
How oft thy slave hast thou me made
When I believ’d what thou hast said
And never had more cause of woe
Than when I did what thou bad’st do.
I’ll stop mine ears at these thy charms
And count them for my deadly harms.
Thy sinful pleasures I do hate,
Thy riches are to me no bait.
Thine honours do, nor will I love,
For my ambition lies above.
My greatest honour it shall be
When I am victor over thee,
And Triumph shall, with laurel head,
When thou my Captive shalt be led.
How I do live, thou need’st not scoff,
For I have meat thou know’st not of.
The hidden Manna I do eat;
The word of life, it is my meat.
My thoughts do yield me more content
Than can thy hours in pleasure spent.
Nor are they shadows which I catch,
Nor fancies vain at which I snatch
But reach at things that are so high,
Beyond thy dull Capacity.
Eternal substance I do see
With which inriched I would be.
Mine eye doth pierce the heav’ns and see
What is Invisible to thee.
My garments are not silk nor gold,
Nor such like trash which Earth doth hold,
But Royal Robes I shall have on,
More glorious than the glist’ring Sun.
But such as Angels’ heads infold.
The City where I hope to dwell,
There’s none on Earth can parallel.
The stately Walls both high and trong
Are made of precious Jasper stone,
The Gates of Pearl, both rich and clear,
And Angels are for Porters there.
The Streets thereof transparent gold
Such as no Eye did e’re behold.
A Crystal River there doth run
Which doth proceed from the Lamb’s Throne.
Of Life, there are the waters sure
Which shall remain forever pure.
Nor Sun nor Moon they have no need
For glory doth from God proceed.
No Candle there, nor yet Torch light,
For there shall be no darksome night.
From sickness and infirmity
Forevermore they shall be free.
Nor withering age shall e’re come there,
But beauty shall be bright and clear.
This City pure is not for thee,
For things unclean there shall not be.
If I of Heav’n may have my fill,
Take thou the world, and all that will.”

We May Live Together

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov’d by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

A Letter to Her Husband

My head, my heart, mine eyes, my life, nay more,
My joy, my magazine, of earthly store,
If two be one, as surely thou and I,
How stayest thou there, whilst I at Ipswich lie?
So many steps, head from the heart to sever,
If but a neck, soon should we be together.
I, like the Earth this season, mourn in black,
My Sun is gone so far in’s zodiac,
Whom whilst I ‘joyed, nor storms, nor frost I felt,
His warmth such fridged colds did cause to melt.
My chilled limbs now numbed lie forlorn;
Return; return, sweet Sol, from Capricorn;
In this dead time, alas, what can I more
Than view those fruits which through thy heart I bore?
Which sweet contentment yield me for a space,
True living pictures of their father’s face.
O strange effect! now thou art southward gone,
I weary grow the tedious day so long;
But when thou northward to me shalt return,
I wish my Sun may never set, but burn
Within the Cancer of my glowing breast,
The welcome house of him my dearest guest.
Where ever, ever stay, and go not thence,
Till nature’s sad decree shall call thee hence;
Flesh of thy flesh, bone of thy bone,
I here, thou there, yet both but one.

Another

Phoebus make haste, the day’s too long, be gone,
The silent night’s the fittest time for moan;
But stay this once, unto my suit give ear,
And tell my griefs in either hemisphere.
(And if the whirling of thy wheels don’t drown’d)
The woeful accents of my doleful sound,
If in thy swift carrier thou canst make stay,
I crave this boon, this errand by the way,
Commend me to the man more loved than life,
Show him the sorrows of his widowed wife;
My dumpish thoughts, my groans, my brakish tears
My sobs, my longing hopes, my doubting fears,
And if he love, how can he there abide?
My interest’s more than all the world beside.
He that can tell the stars or ocean sand,
Or all the grass that in the meads do stand,
The leaves in th’ woods, the hail, or drops of rain,
Or in a corn-field number every grain,
Or every mote that in the sunshine hops,
May count my sighs, and number all my drops.
Tell him the countless steps that thou dost trace,
That once a day thy spouse thou may’st embrace;
And when thou canst not treat by loving mouth,
Thy rays afar salute her from the south.
But for one month I see no day (poor soul)
Like those far situate under the pole,
Which day by day long wait for thy arise,
O how they joy when thou dost light the skies.
O Phoebus, hadst thou but thus long from thine
Restrained the beams of thy beloved shine,
At thy return, if so thou could’st or durst,
Behold a Chaos blacker than the first.
Tell him here’s worse than a confused matter,
His little world’s a fathom under water.
Nought but the fervor of his ardent beams
Hath power to dry the torrent of these streams.
Tell him I would say more, but cannot well,
Oppressed minds abruptest tales do tell.
Now post with double speed, mark what I say,
By all our loves conjure him not to stay

Before the Birth of One of Her Children

All things within this fading world hath end,
Adversity doth still our joys attend;
No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet,
But with death’s parting blow are sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable,
A common thing, yet oh, inevitable.
How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend,
How soon’t may be thy lot to lose thy friend,
We both are ignorant, yet love bids me
These farewell lines to recommend to thee,
That when the knot’s untied that made us one,
I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my days that’s due,
What nature would, God grant to yours and you;
The many faults that well you know I have
Let be interred in my oblivious grave;
If any worth or virtue were in me,
Let that live freshly in thy memory
And when thou feel’st no grief, as I no harmes,
Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms,
And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains
Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
And if thou love thyself, or loved’st me,
These O protect from stepdame’s injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse,
With some sad sighs honor my absent hearse;
And kiss this paper for thy dear love’s sake,
Who with salt tears this last farewell did take

Deliverance from a Fit of Fainting

Worthy art Thou, O Lord, of praise,
But ah! It’s not in me.
My sinking heart I pray Thee raise
So shall I give it Thee.

My life as spider’s webb’s cut off,
Thus fainting have I said,
And living man no more shall see
But be in silence laid.

My feeble spirit Thou didst revive,
My doubting Thou didst chide,
And though as dead mad’st me alive,
I here a while might ‘bide.

Why should I live but to Thy praise?
My life is hid with Thee.
O Lord, no longer be my days
Than I may fruitful be.

Epitaphs

Her Mother’s Epitaph

Here lies
A worthy matron of unspotted life,
A loving mother and obedient wife,
A friendly neighbor, pitiful to poor,
Whom oft she fed, and clothed with her store;
To servants wisely aweful, but yet kind,
And as they did, so they reward did find:
A true instructor of her family,
The which she ordered with dexterity,
The public meetings ever did frequent,
And in her closest constant hours she spent;
Religious in all her words and ways,
Preparing still for death, till end of days:
Of all her children, children lived to see,
Then dying, left a blessed memory.

Her Father’s Epitaph

Within this tomb a patriot lies
That was both pious, just and wise,
To truth a shield, to right a wall,
To sectaries a whip and maul,
A magazine of history,
A prizer of good company
In manners pleasant and severe
The good him loved, the bad did fear,
And when his time with years was spent
In some rejoiced, more did lament.
1653, age 77

Here Follow Several Occasional Meditations

By night when others soundly slept,
And had at once both case and rest,
My waking eyes were open kept
And so to lie I found it best.

I sought Him whom my soul did love,
With tears I sought Him earnestly;
He bowed His ear down from above.
In vain I did not seek or cry.

My hungry soul He filled with good,
He in His bottle put my tears,
My smarting wounds washed in His blood,
And banished thence my doubts and fears.

What to my Savior shall I give,
Who freely hath done this for me?
I’ll serve Him here whilst I shall live
And love Him to eternity.

In My Solitary Hours in My Dear Husband his Absence

O Lord, Thou hear’st my daily moan
And see’st my dropping tears.
My troubles all are Thee before,
My longings and my fears.

Thou hitherto hast been my God;
Thy help my soul hath found.
Though loss and sickness me assailed,
Through Thee I’ve kept my ground.

And Thy abode Thou’st made with me;
With Thee my soul can talk;
In secret places Thee I find
Where I do kneel or walk.

Though husband dear be from me gone,
Whom I do love so well,
I have a more beloved one
Whose comforts far excel.

O stay my heart on Thee. my God,
Uphold my fainting soul.
And when I know not what to do,
I’ll on Thy mercies roll.

My weakness. Thou dost know full well
Of body and of mind;
I in this world no comfort have,
But what from Thee I find.

Though children Thou has given me,
And friends I have also,
Yet if I see Thee not through them
They are no joy, but woe.

O shine upon me, blessed Lord,
Ev’n for my Saviour’s sake;
In Thee alone is more than all,
And there content I’ll take.

O hear me, Lord, in this request
As Thou before hast done,
Bring back my husband, I beseech,
As Thou didst once my son.

So shall I celebrate Thy praise
Ev’n while my days shall last
And talk to my beloved one
Of all Thy goodness past.

So both of us Thy kindness, Lord,
With praises shall recount
And serve Thee better than before
Whose blessings thus surmount.

But give me, Lord, a better heart,
Then better shall I be,
To pay the vows which I do owe
Forever unto Thee.

Unless Thou help, what can I do
But still my frailty show?
If Thou assist me, Lord,
I shall Return Thee what I owe

Meditations Divine and Moral

A ship that bears much sail, and little ballast, is easily
overset; and that man, whose head hath great abilities, and his
heart little or no grace, is in danger of foundering.
The finest bread has the least bran; the purest honey, the
least wax; and the sincerest Christian, the least self-love.
Sweet words are like honey; a little may refresh, but too much
gluts the stomach.
Divers children have their different natures: some are like
flesh which nothing but salt will keep from putrefaction; some
again like tender fruits that are best preserved with sugar. Those
parents are wise that can fit their nurture according to their
nature.
Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge,
fitter to bruise than polish.
The reason why Christians are so loath to exchange this world
for a better, is because they have more sense than faith: they see
what they enjoy, they do but hope for that which is to come.
Dim eyes are the concomitants of old age; and short-
sightedness, in those that are the eyes of a Republic, foretells a
declining State.
Wickedness comes to its height by degrees. He that dares say
of a less sin, Is it not a little one? will erelong say of a
greater, Tush, God regards it not.
Fire hath its force abated by water, not by wind; and anger
must be allayed by cold words and not by blustering threats.
The gifts that God bestows on the sons of men, are not only
abused, but most commonly employed for a clean contrary end than
that which they were given for; as health, wealth, and honor, which
might be so many steps to draw men to God in consideration of his
bounty towards them, but have driven them the further from him,
that they are ready to say, We are lords, we will come no more at
thee. If outward blessings be not as wings to help us mount
upwards, they will certainly prove clogs and weights that will pull

Spirit

Be still, thou unregenerate part,
Disturb no more my settled heart,
For I have vow’d (and so will do)
Thee as a foe still to pursue,
And combat with thee will and must
Until I see thee laid in th’ dust.
Sister we are, yea twins we be,
Yet deadly feud ‘twixt thee and me,
For from one father are we not.
Thou by old Adam wast begot,
But my arise is from above,
Whence my dear father I do love.
Thou speak’st me fair but hat’st me sore.
Thy flatt’ring shews I’ll trust no more.
How oft thy slave hast thou me made
When I believ’d what thou hast said
And never had more cause of woe
Than when I did what thou bad’st do.
I’ll stop mine ears at these thy charms
And count them for my deadly harms.
Thy sinful pleasures I do hate,
Thy riches are to me no bait.
Thine honours do, nor will I love,
For my ambition lies above.
My greatest honour it shall be
When I am victor over thee,
And Triumph shall, with laurel head,
When thou my Captive shalt be led.
How I do live, thou need’st not scoff,
For I have meat thou know’st not of.
The hidden Manna I do eat;
The word of life, it is my meat.
My thoughts do yield me more content
Than can thy hours in pleasure spent.
Nor are they shadows which I catch,
Nor fancies vain at which I snatch
But reach at things that are so high,
Beyond thy dull Capacity.
Eternal substance I do see
With which inriched I would be.
Mine eye doth pierce the heav’ns and see
What is Invisible to thee.
My garments are not silk nor gold,
Nor such like trash which Earth doth hold,
But Royal Robes I shall have on,
More glorious than the glist’ring Sun.
My Crown not Diamonds, Pearls, and gold,
But such as Angels’ heads infold.
The City where I hope to dwell,
There’s none on Earth can parallel.
The stately Walls both high and trong
Are made of precious Jasper stone,
The Gates of Pearl, both rich and clear,
And Angels are for Porters there.
The Streets thereof transparent gold
Such as no Eye did e’re behold.
A Crystal River there doth run
Which doth proceed from the Lamb’s Throne.
Of Life, there are the waters sure
Which shall remain forever pure.
Nor Sun nor Moon they have no need
For glory doth from God proceed.
No Candle there, nor yet Torch light,
For there shall be no darksome night.
From sickness and infirmity
Forevermore they shall be free.
Nor withering age shall e’re come there,
But beauty shall be bright and clear.
This City pure is not for thee,
For things unclean there shall not be.
If I of Heav’n may have my fill,
Take thou the world, and all that will.”

The Vanity of All Worldly Things

As he said vanity, so vain say I,
Oh! Vanity, O vain all under sky;
Where is the man can say, “Lo, I have found
On brittle earth a consolation sound”?
What isn’t in honor to be set on high?
No, they like beasts and sons of men shall die,
And whilst they live, how oft doth turn their fate;
He’s now a captive that was king of late.
What isn’t in wealth great treasures to obtain?
No, that’s but labor, anxious care, and pain.
He heaps up riches, and he heaps up sorrow,
It’s his today, but who’s his heir tomorrow?
What then? Content in pleasures canst thou find?
More vain than all, that’s but to grasp the wind.
The sensual senses for a time they pleasure,
Meanwhile the conscience rage, who shall appease?
What isn’t in beauty? No that’s but a snare,
They’re foul enough today, that once were fair.
What is’t in flow’ring youth, or manly age?
The first is prone to vice, the last to rage.
Where is it then, in wisdom, learning, arts?
Sure if on earth, it must be in those parts;
Yet these the wisest man of men did find
But vanity, vexation of the mind.
And he that know the most doth still bemoan
He knows not all that here is to be known.
What is it then? To do as stoics tell,
Nor laugh, nor weep, let things go ill or well?
Such stoics are but stocks, such teaching vain,
While man is man, he shall have ease or pain.
If not in honor, beauty, age, nor treasure,
Nor yet in learning, wisdom, youth, nor pleasure,
Where shall I climb, sound, seek, search, or find
That summum bonum which may stay my mind?
There is a path no vulture’s eye hath seen,
Where lion fierce, nor lion’s whelps have been,
Which leads unto that living crystal fount,
Who drinks thereof, the world doth naught account.
The depth and sea have said ” ’tis not in me,”
With pearl and gold it shall not valued be.
For sapphire, onyx, topaz who would change;
It’s hid from eyes of men, they count it strange.
Death and destruction the fame hath heard,
But where and what it is, from heaven’s declared;
It brings to honor which shall ne’er decay,
It stores with wealth which time can’t wear away.
It yieldeth pleasures far beyond conceit,
And truly beautifies without deceit.
Nor strength, nor wisdom, nor fresh youth shall fade,
Nor death shall see, but are immortal made.
This pearl of price, this tree of life, this spring,
Who is possessed of shall reign a king.
Nor change of state nor cares shall ever see,
But wear his crown unto eternity.
This satiates the soul, this stays the mind,
And all the rest, but vanity we find.

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