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FIRST, the two eyes, which have the seeing pow'r,
Being plac'd aloft, within the head's high tow'r;
Stand as one watchman, spy, or centinel,
And though both see, yet both but one thing tell.

These mirrors take into their little space

Of ev'ry body, and of ev'ry place,
The forms of Moon and Sun, and ev'ry star,

Which with the world's wide arms embraced are:

Yet their best object, and their noblest use,
Hereafter in another world will be,
When God in them shall heav'nly light infuse,
That face to face they may their Maker see.

Here are they guides, which do the body lead,

Which else would stumble in eternal night: Here in this world they do much knowledge read, And are the casements which admit most light:

They are her furthest reaching instrument,

Yet they no beams unto their objects send ; But all the rays are from their objects sent, And in the eyes with pointed angles end.

If th' objects be far off, the rays do meet

In a sharp point, and so things seem but small: If they be near, their rays do spread and fleet, And make broad points, that things seem great withal.


Lastly, uine things to sight required are;

The pow'r to see, the light, the visible thing, Being not too small, too thin, too nigh, too far, Clear space and time, the form distinct to bring.

Thus see we how the soul doth use the eyes,

As instruments of her quick pow'r of sight: Hence doth th' arts optic, and fair painting rise; Painting, which doth all gentle minds delight.



Now let us hear how she the ears employs :
Their office is, the troubled air to take;
Which in their mazes forms a sound or noise,
Whereof herself doth true distinction make.

These wickets of the soul are plac'd on high,
Because all sounds do lightly mount aloft ;
And that they may not pierce too violently,

They are delay'd with turns and windings oft.

For should the voice directly strike the brain,
It would astonish and confuse it much;
Therefore these plaits and folds the sound restrain,
That it the organ may more gently touch.

As streams, which with their winding banks do play, Stopp'd by their creeks, run softly through the So in th' ear's labyrinth the voice doth stray, [plain: And doth with easy motion touch the brain.

This is the slowest, yet the daintiest sense;
For e'en the ears of such as have no skill,
Perceive a discord, and conceive offence;
And, knowing not what 's good, yet find the ill.

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Much like a subtle spider 3, which doth sit
In middle of her web, which spreadeth wide;
If aught do touch the utmost thread of it,
She feels it instantly on ev'ry side.

LASTLY, the feeling pow'r, which is life's root, Through ev'ry living part itself doth shed By sinews, which extend from head to foot; And, like a net, all o'er the body spread.

By touch, the first pure qualities we learn,

Which quicken all things, hot, cold, moist, and dry: By touch, hard, soft, rough, smooth, we do discern: By touch, sweet pleasure and sharp pain we try.

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This ledger-book lies in the brain behind,

Like Janus' eye, which in his poll was set: The layman's tables, storehouse of the mind; Which doth remember much, and much forget.

Here sense's apprehension end doth take;
As when a stone is into water cast,
One circle doth another circle make,
Till the last circle touch the bank at last.



BUT though the apprehensive pow'r do pause,
The motive virtue then begins to move;
Which in the heart below doth passions cause,
Joy, grief, and fear, and hope, and hate, and love.

These passions have a free commanding might,
And divers actions in our life do breed;
For all acts done without true reason's light,

Do from the passion of the sense proceed.

'But since the brain doth lodge the pow'rs of sense, How makes it in the heart those passions spring? The mutual love, the kind intelligence

'Twixt heart and brain, this sympathy doth bring.

From the kind heat, which in the heart doth reign,
The spirits of life do their beginning take;
These spirits of life ascending to the brain, [make.
When the come there, the spirits of sense do

These spirits of sense, in fantasy's high court,

Judge of the forms of objects, ill or well; And so they send a good or ill report

Down to the heart, where all affections dwell.

If the report be good, it causeth love,

And longing hope, and well assured joy: If it be ill, then doth it hatred move,

And trembling fear, and vexing griefs annoy.

Yet were these natural affections good,

(For they which want them, blocks or devils be) If reason in her first perfection stood,

That she might Nature's passions rectify.



BESIDES, another motive-power doth 'rise

Out of the heart, from whose pure blood do spring The vital spirits; which, born in arteries, Continual motion to all parts do bring.

This makes the pulses beat, and lungs respire; This holds the sinews like a bridle's reins; And makes the body to advance, retire,

To turn, or stop, as she them slacks or strains.

Thus the soul tunes the body's instruments,

These harmonies she makes with life and sense; The organs fit are by the body lent,

But th' actions flow from the soul's influence.


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And as from senses, reason's work doth spring,
So many reasons understanding gain;
And many understandings, knowledge bring,
And by much knowledge, wisdom we obtain.

So, many stairs we must ascend upright

Ere we attain to wisdom's high degree: So doth this Earth eclipse our reason's light, Which else (in instants) would like angels see.



YET hath the soul a dowry natural,

And sparks of light, some common things to see; Not being a blank where naught is writ at all, But what the writer will, may written be.

For Nature in man's heart her laws doth pen,
Prescribing truth to wit, and good to will;
Which do accuse, or else excuse all men,

For ev'ry thought or practice, good or ill:

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Although they say, "Come let us eat and drink;
Our life is but a spark, which quickly dies:"
Though thus they say, they know not what to think;
But in their minds ten thousand doubts arise.

Therefore no heretics desire to spread

Their light opinions, like these epicures; For so their stagg'ring thoughts are comforted, And other men's assent their doubt assures.

Yet though these men against their conscience strive,
There are some sparkles in their flinty breasts,
Which cannot be extinct, but still revive;

That though they would, they cannot quite be beasts.

But whoso makes a mirror of his mind,

And doth with patience view himself therein,
His soul's eternity shall clearly find,
Though th' other beauties be defac'd with sin.


Drawn from the desire of knowledge.
FIRST, in man's mind we find an appetite
To learn and know the truth of ev'ry thing,
Which is co-natural, and born with it,

And from the essence of the soul doth spring.

With this desire, she hath a native might

To find out ev'ry truth, if she had time; Th' innumerable effects to sort aright,

And by degrees, from cause to cause to climb.

But since our life so fast away doth slide,

As doth a hungry eagle through the wind; Or as a ship transported with the tide,

Which in their passage leave no print behind.

That our short race of life is at an end,

Ere we the principles of skill attain.

Or God (who to vain ends hath nothing done)
In vain this appetite and pow'r hath giv'n;
Or else our knowledge, which is here begun,

Hereafter must be perfected in Heav'n.

God never gave a pow'r to one whole kind,

But most part of that kind did use the same: Most eyes have perfect sight, though some be blind; Most legs can nimbly run, though some be lame.

But in this life, no soul the truth can know
So perfectly, as it hath pow'r to do:
If then perfection be not found below,

An higher place must make her mount thereto.


Drawn from the motion of the soul.'

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Water in conduit-pipes can rise no higher

Than the well-head, from whence it first doth Then since to eternal God she doth aspire, [spring: She cannot be but an eternal thing.

AGAIN, how can she but immortal be,

When, with the motions of both will and wit, She still aspireth to eternity,

And never rests, till she attain to it?

"All moving things to other things do move,

Of the same kind which shows their nature such :"
So earth falls down, and fire doth mount above,
Till both their proper elements do touch.

And as the moisture, which the thirsty earth

Sucks from the sea, to fill her empty veins, From out her womb at last doth take a birth,

And runs a lymph along the grassy plains:

Of which swift little time so much we spend,
For who did ever yet, in honour, wealth,
While some few things we through the sense do Who ever ceas'd to wish, when he had health?
Or pleasure of the sense, contentment find?


Or, having wisdom, was not vex'd in mind?

Long doth she stay, as loath to leave the land,

From whose soft side she first did issue make: She tastes all places, turns to ev'ry hand,

Her flow'ry banks unwilling to forsake:

Yet Nature so her streams doth lead and carry,
As that her course doth make no final stay,
Till she herself unto the ocean marry,

Within whose watry bosom first she lay.

E'en so the soul, which in this earthly mould
The spirit of God doth secretly infuse,
Because at first she doth the earth behold,

And only this material world she views:

At first her mother-earth she holdeth dear,

And doth embrace the world, and worldly things;
She flies close by the ground, and hovers here,
And mounts not up with her celestial wings:

Yet under Heav'n she cannot light on aught

That with her heav'nly nature doth agree:
She cannot rest, she cannot fix her thought,
She cannot in this world contented be.

Then as a bee which among weeds doth fall,

Which seem sweet flow'rs, with lustre fresh and She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all; [gay; But, pleas'd with none, doth rise, and soar away:

So, when the soul finds here no true content,

And, like Noah's dove, can no sure footing take,
She doth return from whence she first was sent,

And flies to him that first her wings did make.
Wit, seeking truth, from cause to cause ascends,
And never rests till it the first attain:
Will, seeking good, finds many middle ends;
But never stays till it the last do gain.

Now God the truth and first of causes is;

God is the last good end, which lasteth still;
Being alpha and omega nam'd for this;
Alpha to wit, omega to the will.

Since then her heav'nly kind she doth display,
In that to God she doth directly move;
And on no mortal thing can make her stay,
She cannot be from hence, but from above.

The soul compared to a river.

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