Bitter Sweet Night Ode
Of the Dying but Contented Love
By the Consideration that the Cross is the Pledge of Love, sent to the Soul from Sophia
1Like as the sick do not sweet tastes most desire,
But sour pleaseth best, they chiefly sharp require.
So pleaseth me no joy, nor mirth in any thing,
Because my fainting heart feels nothing but this sting.
2I long for Love, and yet I dare not think of loving,
Since I unworthy am, and if I think of giving,
I have nought but my sins, thus grows my longings sour;
Yet sweetens it again, loves melancholy hour.
3My only comfort’s grief. This seems my heart to cherish;
Incessant woe alone, is what me now does nourish.
The bitter tasteth sweet, and trouble feeds my heart,
I grieve myself to death and yet I love Thee smart.
4To love is my desire, yet I am ashamed of loving;
I, worthy but of hate, who was repulsed when striving;
I, who quite awkwardly did act the lover’s part;
Therefore nought comforts me but sorrow of the heart.
5O Queen most just! How sharp is thy Revenging Term__
As then thy sentence passed upon my mis____
Let that die which die must, so be it, yet I get breath,
For what in Love doth burn will never fear a death.
6Most hidden workest Thou, much like ye starry order.
Soon art Thou seen, soon not, soon art Thou near, soon farther.
The sweet Thou keepest back, send’d bitter myrrh a store;
Thus openest Thou in death, to Life the fairest door.
7So playest Thou with me, such play fills me with anguish,
Since I good earnest, see, I can the sharp distinguish;
Most frightful is Thy scourge and angry is Thy Love,
Yet rest I have not, ‘till I yield to Thee, my Dove.
8Resigned to Thy Will, content, I am filled;
I but love Thee still, though by Thee I am killed.
I, but not Thou in me. O’ do these two combine,
And make them wholly One, ‘twill be a joy divine.
9O’ when? When wilt Thou then? When wilt Thou joy and moaning;
When wilt thou sour and sweet, rejoicing with our groaning,
Unite through Thy dear Cross! O’ life in death, His rod;
When will Thou, me and Thee unite in one in God?
10Thy quickly lasteth long, yet I in waiting see Thee;
O’ give content and grace to be in all like to Thee.
What shall I wish for more, but that Thy Will be so.
I will yet praise Thee still in all my bitter woe.
11And since Thou givest me no leave, as yet, to love Thee,
I will, as best I can, resign to what Thou’lt have me;
So as best as ever I can; yet this I must confess
Is my chief martyrdom and brings me most distress.
12This is my chiefest death. This wasteth me with sorrow.
This drieth up my flesh. ‘Tis this consumes my marrow!
Such grief of heart I must eat up, and call it good.
And must also besides yet finely kiss the rod.
A speaking voice
13Thus so dieth the Old Will, and cometh into stillness.
Thus is thy Heart unmasked, and see his ____ illness (?)
Thus bitter will be sweet, from H____ to save,
Thus will thy Old Man be embar___ in his grave.
14I then will love my Cross. Since Her I dare not love more;
Her, whom I dare not name, for shame and hearts ___,
I’ll love it since I think it comes with good intents,
And as faithful pledge of future Love is sent.
15He that can sing so fine has little fear of dying;
Who speaks so much of Love, in heart has little lying.
None highly grieves indeed on whom no grief is seen,
This shews that wretchedly thou hast seduced been.
16The white swan singeth fire, but when she is a-dying,
The mouth also speaks out what in the heart is lying;
The fading flower shows her trouble when she’s bruised.
Therefore this shows that Love to death has me reduced.
17Like as the Birth appears by anguish e’en near dying,
Like bitter when made sweet has cordials in it lying,
The fading flower past, then first the seed is sought,
So also through the Death, the Soul to God is brought.