Teach me, my God and King,
In all things thee to see;
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for thee;
Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into an action;
|But still to make thee prepossest,
|And give it his perfection.
- man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or, if he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heaven spy.
All may of thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture--for thy sake-- its.
Will not grow bright and clean.
- servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for thy laws,
Makes that and the action fine.
This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.
With a conscience tender as a child's, almost diseased in its tenderness,
and a heart loving as a woman's, his intellect is none the less powerful.
Its movements are as the sword-play of an alert, poised, well-knit,
strong-wristed fencer with the rapier, in which the skill impresses one
more than the force, while without the force the skill would be
valueless, even hurtful, to its possessor. There is a graceful humour
with it occasionally, even in his most serious poems adding much to their
charm. To illustrate all this, take the following, the title of which
means The Retort.