Month: October 2013

To Queen Elizabeth by Theodore Beza (1550s)

theodore-beza-1-sizedThe Spanish fleete did flote in narow seas,
And bend her ships against the English shore,
With so great rage as nothing could appease,
And with such strength as never seene before.
And all to joyne the kingdom of that land,
Unto the kingdoms that he had in hand.
Now if you aske what set this king on fire
To practise warre when he of peace did treat,
It was his pride, and never quencht desire,
To spoile that islands wealth, by peace made great,
His pride, which farre above the heavens did swell,
And his desire, as unsuffic’d as Hell.
But well have winds his proud blasts overblown
And swelling waves alaid his swelling heart,
Well hath the sea with greedie gulfs unknown,
Devoured the devourer to his smart,
And made his ships a praie unto the sand
That meant to praie upon anothers land.
And now, o queene above al others blest,
For whom both windes and waves are prest to fight,
So rule your owne, so succour friends opprest,
(As farre from pride, as ready to do right),
That England you, you England long enjoy,
No lesse your friends delight, then foes annoy.

by Theodore Beza

Translated into English by an unknown Translator.


Bird Tragedy by Geerhardus Vos (1933)

OldVosYe birds, no fence can bar you out,
Whether of steel or stone,
From any garden of delight
Ye choose to make your own.

Yours were the freedom of the fields,
Could ye beware the nets,
Which, to beguile your innocence,
The crafty fowler sets.

Yours is the sky up to the clouds;
But from huge birds of prey
Is no defence: they lurk and watch,
Swoop down and clutch and slay.

One moment, and a feathery ball
Floats fluttering on the air;
No one knows, did it reach the earth,
Or, if it did so, where.

Should by incalculable chance
It light upon the spot,
Where hung the sheltering mother-nest,
The place would know it not.

What a pathetic tragedy,
That such things should befall,
In ways so disproportionate,
The big upon the small!

Come, hear the Preacher of the Mount
His wonder-sermon preach:
“No sparrow falleth to the ground
Outside my Father’s reach.”

Ye more than sparrows through his grace,
All your anxiety,
Your heights and depths, your falls and flights
He has in memory.

All creatures are, with Him compared,
Mere nothings; none the less
He can reclaim a ravished bird
From next to nothingness.

by Geerhardus Vos, 1933

Night Scene by John Newton Brown (1821)

I LOOK above—no cloud on high
Veils the deep azure of the sky;
All is serene, and cool, and clear,
And tranquil glory triumphs here!

Yon moon is full— her lustre pure,
Walks radiant through the vast obscure;
And overbears, with splendor bright,
Each feebly glimmering star of night.

Soft is the light she sheds abroad,
The mellow beam sleeps on the road;
While wood, and stream, and hill, and vale,
Rise up beneath her influence pale.

Soft blows the breeze—the air is cool—
The stillness soothes to peace the soul;
At leisure with my friends I walk,
And of surrounding objects talk.

I listen, but I hear no sound,
Save the lone cricket’s chirp around;
One now might hear his very breath
Amid this mimic hush of death!

How can I otherwise than draw,
In such a scene, the breath of awe?
How can my heart refuse to feel
A pensive sweetness o’er it steal;

I envy not the man who sees.
Unmoved, such solemn scenes as these;
The mind which, bound in atheist thrall,
Owns not the God that made them all.

I see His hand—I feel His power—
Bow down, my soul, and Him adore!
And let this night begin with thee
The worship of eternity!

A few more moments roll in haste,
And Time will be forever past!
A day will dawn—the night be o’er—
A sun shall rise, to set no more!

by John Newton Brown

July 31, 1821.