England's Antiphon

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Who was it that I left behind

When I went last from home,

That now I all disordered find

When to myself I come?

left it light, but now all's dark, And I am fain to grope:

Were it not for one little spark

I should be out of hope.

My Gospel-book I open left,

Where I the promise saw;

But now I doubt it's lost by theft:

I find none but the Law.

The stormy rain an entrance hath

Through the uncovered top:

How should I rest when showers of wrath

Upon my conscience drop?

locked my jewel in my chest;
I'll search lest that be gone:--

If this one guest had quit my breast,

I had been quite undone.

My treacherous Flesh had played its part,

And opened Sin the door;

And they have spoiled and robbed my heart,

And left it sad and poor.

Yet have I one great trusty friend

That will procure my peace,

And all this loss and ruin mend,

And purchase my release.

The bellows I'll yet take in hand,

Till this small spark shall flame:

Love shall my heart and tongue command

To praise God's holy name.

I'll mend the roof; I'll watch the door,

And better keep the key;

I'll trust my treacherous flesh no more,

But force it to obey.

What have I said? That I'll do this

That am so false and weak,

And have so often done amiss,

And did my covenants break?

mean, Lord--all this shall be done If thou my heart wilt raise;

And as the work must be thine own,

So also shall the praise.

The allegory is so good that one is absolutely sorry when it breaks down, and the poem says in plain words that which is the subject of the figures, bringing truths unmasked into the midst of the maskers who represent truths--thus interrupting the pleasure of the artistic sense in the transparent illusion.

The command of metrical form in Baxter is somewhat remarkable. He has not much melody, but he keeps good time in a variety of measures.

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