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118                         Of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar

THE angels’ eyes, whom veils cannot deceive,
   Might best disclose that best they do discern;
Men must with sound and silent faith receive
   More than they can by sense or reason learn;
God’s power our proofs, His works our wit exceed,
The doer’s might is reason of His deed.
A body is endued with ghostly rights;
   And Nature’s work from Nature’s law is free;
In heavenly sun lie hid eternal lights,
   Lights clear and near, yet them no eye can see;
Dead forms a never-dying life do shroud;
A boundless sea lies in a little cloud.
The God of Hosts in slender host doth dwell,
   Yea, God and man with all to either due,
That God that rules the heavens and rifled hell,
   That man whose death did us to life renew:
That God and man that is the angels’ bliss,
In form of bread and wine our nurture is.
Whole may His body be in smallest bread,
   Whole in the whole, yea whole in every crumb;
With which be one or be ten thousand fed,
   All to each one, to all but one doth come;
And though each one as much as all receive,
Not one too much, nor all too little have.
One soul in man in all in every part;
   One face at once in many mirrors shines;
One fearful noise doth make a thousand start;
   One eye at once of countless things defines;
If proofs of one in many Nature frame,
God may in stranger sort perform the same.
God present is at once in every place,
   Yet God in every place is ever one;
So may there be by gifts of ghostly grace,
   One man in many rooms, yet filling none;
Since angels may effects of bodies shew,
God angels’ gifts on bodies may bestow.

119                                      The Burning Babe

AS I in hoary winter’s night
   Stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat
   Which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye
   To view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright
   Did in the air appear;
Who, scorchàed with excessive heat,
   Such floods of tears did shed,
As though His floods should quench His flames,
   Which with His tears were bred:
‘Alas!’ quoth He, ‘but newly born
   In fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts
   Or feel my fire but I!

‘My faultless breast the furnace is;
   The fuel, wounding thorns;
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke;
   The ashes, shames and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on,
   And Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought
   Are men’s defilàed souls:
For which, as now on fire I am
   To work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath,
   To wash them in my blood.’
With this He vanish’d out of sight
   And swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callàed unto mind
   That it was Christmas Day.


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