Francis Quarles (1592-1644)

On a Monument

Seest thou that mon’ment? Dost thou see how art
Does polish nature to adorn each part
Of that rare work, whose glorious fabric may
Commend her beauty to an after-day?
Is ’t not a dainty piece? And apt to raise
A rare advantage to the maker’s praise?
But know’st thou what this dainty piece encloses?
Beneath this glorious marble there reposes
A noisome putrid carcass, half-devoured
By crawling cannibals, disguised, deflowered
With loathed corruption, whose consuming scent
Would poison thoughts, although it have no vent:
Ev’n such a piece art thou, whoe’er thou be
That readst these lines: this monument is thee.
Thy body is a fabric wherein nature
And art conspire to heighten up a creature
To sum perfection, being a living story
And rare abridgement of his maker’s glory;
But full of loathsome filth, and nasty mire
Of lust, uncurbed affections, base desire;
Curious without, but most corrupt within,
A glorious monument of inglorious sin.

An Ecstasy

E’en like two little bank-dividing brooks,
That wash the pebbles with their wanton streams,
And having ranged and search’d a thousand nooks,
Meet both at length in silver-breasted Thames,
Where in a greater current they conjoin:
So I my Best-beloved’s am; so He is mine.

E’en so we met; and after long pursuit,
E’en so we joined; we both became entire;
No need for either to renew a suit,
For I was flax, and He was flames of fire:
Our firm-united souls did more than twine;
So I my Best-beloved’s am; so He is mine.

If all those glittering Monarchs, that command
The servile quarters of this earthly ball,
Should tender in exchange their shares of land,
I would not change my fortunes for them all:
Their wealth is but a counter to my coin:
The world ‘s but theirs; but my Beloved’s mine.