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Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681). Order and Disorder. 1679.

Canto II

Gen. 1.6.AGAIN spoke God; the trembling waters move,

Part flie up in thick mists, made clouds above,

The Fir-Part closer shrink about the earth below,

mament.But did not yet the mountains dry heads show.

Th’ allforming Word stretcht out the Firmament,

Psal. 104.2,3.Like azure curtains round his glorious Tent,

And in its hidden chambers did dispose

The magazines of Hail, and Rain, and Snows,

Job 38.22,23.Amongst those thicker clouds, from whose dark womb

Th’ imprison’d winds, in flame and thunder come.

Those Clouds which over all the wondrous Arch

Like hosts of various formed creatures march,

And change the Scenes in our admiring eyes;

Who sometimes see them like vast mountains rise.

Sometimes like pleasant Seas with clear waves glide,

Sometimes like Ships on foaming billows ride,

Sometimes like mounted warriours they advance,

And seem to fire the smoaking Ordinance.

Sometimes like shady Forests they appear,

Here Monsters walking, Castles rising there.

Scorn Princes your embroider’d Canopies,

And painted roofs, the poor whom you despise

With far more ravishing delight are fed,

While various clouds sayl o’re th’ unhoused head,

And their heav’d eyes with nobler scenes present

Than your Poetick Courtiers can invent.

2 Pet. 3.5.Thus the exalted waters were dispos’d,

And liquid Skies the solid world enclos’d,

To magnifie the most almighty hand,

Job 37.18.That makes thin floods like rocks of crystal stand,

Not quenching, nor drunk up by that bright wall

Of fire, which neighbouring them, encircles all.

The new built Firmament God Heaven nam’d,

And over all the Arch his windows fram’d.

From whence his liberal hand at due time pours

Ps. 147.16–18.Upon the thirsty earth refreshing showers;

Job 26.And clothes her bosome with descending Snow

to the end.To cherish the young seeds when cold winds blow:

Ps. 18.8–14.Hence every night his fatning dews he sheds,

And scatters Pearls amidst th’ enamel’d beds.

But when presumptuous sins the bright arch scale,

Job 38.27, &c.He beats them back with terrifying hail:

Which like small shot amidst his foes he sends,

Till flaming Thunder, his great Ordnance, rends

The clouds, which, big with horror, ready stand

Ex. 9.2.To pour their burthens forth at his command.

But th’ unpolluted air as yet had not

From mortals impious breath infection got,

Enlightned then by a superiour ray

A serene lustre deckt the second day.

Gen. 1.10, &c.Th’ inferiour Globe was fashion’d on the third,

When waters at the all-commanding word

Psa. 104.6–10.Did hastily into their channels glide,

And the uncover’d hills as soon were dried.

In the same body thus, distinct, and joyn’d,

Water and earth, as flesh and blood, we find.

The late collected waters God call’d Seas.

Springs, Lakes, streams, and broad Rivers are from these

Brancht, like life-feeding veins, in every land,

Yet wheresoe’re they seem to flow or stand,

Eccl. 1.7.As all in the vast Oceans bosome bred,

They daily reassemble in their head,

Which thorough secret conduits back conveys

To every Spring, the tribute that it pays.

Eccl. 1.4.So ages from th’ Eternal bosome creep,

So lose them selves again in that vast deep.

So Empires, so all other humane things,

With winding streams run to their native springs.

Rom. 4.22.So all the goodness mortals exercise

Eph. 2.6.Flows back to God out of his own supplies.

Now the great fabrick in all parts compleat,

Beauty was call’d forth to adorn the feat;

Ps. 102.25.Where Earth, fixt in the Centre, was the ground,

Job 26.7.A mantle of light air compast it round;

Then first the watrie, then the fiery wall,

And glittering heaven last involving all.

Earth’s fair green robe vi’d with the azure skies,

Here proud Woods near the flaming Towers did rise.

The valleys Trees, though less in breadth and height,

Gen. 2.9.Yet hung with various fruit, as much delight.

Beneath these little shrubs and bushes sprung

With fair flowers cloth’d, and with rich berries hung,

Whose more delightful fruits seem’d to upbraid

The tall trees yielding only barren shade.

Ps. 104.14.Then sprouted Grass and Herbs and Plants

Prepar’d to feed the earth’s inhabitants,

To glad their nostrils, and delight their eyes,

Revive their spirits, cure their maladies.

Nor by these are the senses only fed,

But th’ understanding too, while we may read

In every leaf, lectures of Providence,

Eternal Wisdom, Love, Omnipotence.

Which th’ eye that sees not, with Hells mists is blind,

That which regards not, is of bruitish kind.

The various colours, figures, powers of these

Are their Creators growing witnesses,

Ps. 90.5,6.Their glories emblems are, wherein we see

How frail our humane lives and beauties be.

Job 14.2.Even like those flowers which at the Sun-rise spread

Es. 40.6,7,8.Their gawdy leaves, and are at evening dead.

Yet while they in their native lustre shine,

The Eastern Monarchs are not half so fine.

Mat. 6.28,29,30.In richer robes God clothes the dirty soyl

Jam. 1.10,11.Than men can purchase by their sin and toyl.

Then rather Fields than painted Courts admire,

Yet seeing both, think both must feed the fire:

Job 14.7,8.Only Gods works have roots and seeds, from whence

They spring again in grace and excellence,

But mens have none, like hasty lightning, they

1 Cor. 3.15.Flash out, and so for ever pass away.

This fair Creation finisht the third day,

In whose end, God did the whole work survey,

The Seas, the Skies, the Trees, and less plants view’d,

And by his approbation made them good;

Gen. 1.12.In all the plants did living seeds enclose,

Whence their successive generations rose;

Gave them those powers which in them still remain,

Whereby they man and beast with food sustain.

TheThrice had the day to gloomy night resign’d,

fourthAnd thrice victorious o’re the darkness shin’d,

day.Before the mediate cause of it, the Sun

Or any star had their creation,

For with th’ Omnipotent it is all one

To cause the day without, or by the Sun.

God in the world by second causes reigns,

But is not tied to those means he ordains.

Hab. 3.17,18.Let no heart faint then that on him depends,

When the means fail, that lead to their wisht ends.

For God the thing, if good, will bring about

With instruments we see not, or without.

The fourth Light having now expell’d the shade

Gen. 1.14. &c.God on that day the Luminaries made,

And plac’d them all in their peculiar sphears

To measure out our days, and months, and years,

Which by their various motions are renew’d,

And heat and cold have their vicissitude:

So Springs and Autumns still successive be,

Till ages lose them in Eternity.

Sun.The Sun whom th’ Hebrews Gods great servant call,

Plac’d in the middle Orb, as Lord of all,

Is in a radiant flaming chariot whirl’d,

Psal. 19.4,5,6.And dayly carried round abut the world

By the first Movers force, who in that race

Scatters his light and heat in every place,

Yet not at once. Now in the East he shines,

And then again to’the Western deep declines,

Seeming to quench his blazing taper there

While it enlightens the other Hemisphere.

Thus he their share of day and night divides

Unto each world in their alternate tides.

But then its Orb by its own motion roll’d,

Varies the seasons, brings in heat and cold,

As it projects its rays in a straight line,

Or more obliquely on the Earth doth shine.

And thus doth he to the low world dispense

Life-feeding and engendring influence.

Moon.This Lord of Day with his reflected light

Guilds the pale Moon the Empress of the night,

Whose dim Orb monthly wastes and grows,

Doth at the first sharp pointed horns disclose,

Then half, then her full shining Globe reveals,

Which waining she by like degrees conceals.

Stars.The other glittering Planets now appear

Each as a King enthron’d in his own Sphear;

Then the eighth heaven in fuller lustre shines

Thick set with stars. All these were made for signs

That mortals by observing them might know

Due times to cultivate the earth below,

To gather fruits, plant trees, and sow their seed,

To cure their herds, and let their fair flocks breed,

Act. 27.10.Into safe harbours to retire their ships,

Again to launch out into the calm deeps,

Their wandring vessels in broad seas to guide,

When the lost shores no longer are descried;

Physicians to direct in their great art,

And other useful knowledge to impart.

Nor were they only made for signs to shew

Fit opportunities for things we do,

But in their various aspects too we read

Droughts, inundations, famines, plagues and wars,

By several conjunctions of the Stars,

At least shewn, if not caus’d, through the strong powers

And workings Astral bodies have on ours,

Which as above they variously are joyn’d,

So are their subjects here below, enclin’d

To sadness, mirth, dread, quiet, love or hate,

All that may calm, or trouble any state.

Yet are they but a second cause, which God

Shakes over sinners as a flaming rod,

And further manages in his own hands,

To scourge the pride of all rebellious lands;

Falsely and vainly do blind mortals then,

To them impute the fates and ills of men,

When their sinister operations be

Only th’ effects of mens iniquitie,

Which makes the Lord his glittering hosts thus send

Judg. 5.To execute the just threats they portend.

Nor are they characters of wrath alone,

They sometimes have Gods grace to mankind shown,

Mat. 2.Such was that new Star which did heaven adorn,

When the great King of the whole world was born.

Such were those stars that fought for Israel

When Jabins vanquisht host, by Gods host fell.

Even those Stars which threaten misery and woe

To wicked men, to Saints deliverance show:

Lu. 22.28.For when God cuts the bloody Tyrant down,

He will their lives with peace and blessings crown.

Thus the fourth evening did the fourth day close,

And where the Sun went down, the Stars arose.

New triumph now the fifth day celebrates,

The perfum’d morning opes her purple gates,

Psal. 19.Through which the Suns Pavilion does appear

And he array’d in all his lustre there,

Like a fresh Bridegroom with majestique grace,

And joy diffusing vigour in his face,

Comes gladly forth, to greet his virgin bride,

Trick’d up in all her ornaments and pride;

Her lovely maids at his approach unfold

Their gaudie vests, on which he scatters gold,

Both chearing and enriching every place,

Through which he passes in his glorious race.

But though he found a noble Theatre,

As yet in it no living creatures were,

Though flowry carpets spread the whole Earths face,

And rich embroideries the upper Arch did grace,

And standards on the mountains stood between

Bearing festoones like pillars wreath’d with green,

The velvet couches and the mossy seats,

The open walks and the more close retreats

Were all prepar’d; Yet no foot trod the woods,

Nor no mouth yet had toucht the pleasant floods;

No weary creature had repos’d its head

Among the sweet perfumes of the low bed;

The air was not respir’d in living breath,

Throughout a general stilness reign’d, like death.

The King of day came forth, but unadmir’d,

Like unprais’d gallants blushingly retir’d;

As an uncourted beauty, Nights pale Queen,

Grew sick to shine where she could not be seen.

When the Creator first for mute herds calls,

And bade the waters bring forth animals:

Gen. 1.20, &c.Then was all shell-fish and each Scaly race

At once produc’d, in their assigned place,

The crooked Dolphins, great Leviathan,

And all the Monsters of the Ocean,

Job 41.Like wanton kids among the billows play’d,

Nor was there after on the dry land made

Any one beast of less or greater kind

Whose like we do not in the waters find;

Where every greater fish devours the less,

As mighty Lords poor Commoners oppress.

Next the Almighty by his forming Word

Made the whole plumie race, and every bird

Its proper place assign’d, while with light wings

All mounted heaven, some o’re the lakes and springs,

Some over the vast Fens and Seas did flie,

Some near the ground, some in the cloudy skie,

Some in high trees their proud nests built, some chose

The humble shrubs for their more safe repose,

Some did the marshes, some the rivers love,

Some the Corn-fields, and some the shady grove.

That silence which reign’d every where before,

Its universal Empire held no more,

Even night and darkness its own dear retreat

Could not preserve it in their reign compleat:

The Nightingales with their complaining notes,

Ravens and Owls with their ill-boding throats,

And all the birds of night, shrill crowing Cocks

Whose due kept times, made them the worlds first clocks,

All interrupted it, even in the night,

But at the first appearance of the light

A thousand voyces, the green woods whole quire

With their loud musick do the day admire;

The Lark doth with her single carol rise,

To welcome the fair morning in the skies;

The amorous and still complaining Dove,

Courts not the day, but woes her own fair love;

The Jays and Crows against each other rayl,

And chattering Pies begin their gossips tale:

Thus life was carri’d on, which first begun

In growth of plants, in fishes motion,

And next declar’d it self in living sound,

Whilst various noise the yielding air did wound.

Various instincts the Birds by nature have,

Which God to them in their creation gave,

That unto their observers do declare

The storms and calms approaching in the air,

That teach them how to build their nests at spring,

And hatch their young under their nursing wing,

To lead abroad and guard their tender brood,

To know their hurtful and their healing food,

To feed them till their strength be perfect grown,

And after teach them how to feed alone.

Could we the lessons they hold forth improve,

We might from some learn chaste and constant love,

Conjugal kindness of the paired Swans,

Paternal Bounty of the Pelicans,

While they are prodigal of their own blood

To feed their chickens with that precious food.

Wisdome of those who when storms threat the Skie,

In thick assemblies to their shelter flie,

And those who seeing devourers in the air,

To the safe covert of the wing repair.

Mat. 10.16.The gall-less doves would teach us innocence,

And the whole race to hang on Providence;

Mat. 8.26,Since not the least bird that divides the air

& 10.19.Exempted is from the Almighties care,

Whose bounty in due seasons, feeds them all,

Prepares them berries when the thick snows fall,

Cloaths them in many colour’d plumes, which vain

Men borrow, yet the Peacocks gawdy train

More beautifully is by nature drest,

Than art can make it on the Gallants crest.

This priviledge these creatures had to raise

Their voices first in their great Makers praise,

Which when the morning opes her rosie gate

They with consenting musick celebrate;

Again with hunger pincht to God they cry,

And from his liberal hand receive supply,

Who them and all his watry creatures view’d,

And saw that they in all their kinds were good.

Then blest them that for due successions they

Might multiply. So clos’d he the fifth day.

And now the Sun the third time rais’d his head

Gen. 1.And rose the sixth day from his watry bed,

When God commands the teeming earth to bring

Forth great and lesser beasts, each reptile thing

That on her bosome creeps, the word obey’d,

Immediately were all the creatures made.

Like Hermits some made hollow rock their Cell,

And did in their prepared mansions dwell.

The vermine Weazils, Fulmots and blind Moles,

Lay hid in clefts of trees, in crannies and in holes.

The Serpents lodg’d in Marishes and fens,

The savage beasts sought thickets, caves and dens.

Tame herds and flocks in open pastures stay’d,

And wanton kids upon the mountains play’d.

Here life almost to its perfection grew

While God these various creatures did indue

With various properties, and various sense,

But little short of humane excellence,

Save what we in the Brutes dispersed find,

Is all collected in mans nobler mind,

Who to the high perfection of his sense,

Hath added a more high intelligence.

Yet several Brutes have noble faculties,

Some apprehensive are, some subtile, wise,

Some have invention and docility,

Some wonderful in imitation be,

Some with high generous courage are endued,

With kindness some, and some with gratitude,

With memory some, and some with providence,

With natural love, and with meek innocence:

Some watchful are, and some laborious be,

Some have obedience, some true loyalty.

Among them too we all the passions find,

Some more to love, some more to hate enclin’d.

The musing Hare and the lightfooted Deer

Are under the predominance of fear;

Goats and hot Monkeys are with lust possest,

Rage governs in the savage Tygres brest;

Jealousie doth the hearts of fierce Bulls move

Impatient of all rivals in their love.

Some sportive, and some melancholy be,

Some proner to revenge and crueltie.

The Kingly Lion in his bosome hath

The fiery seed of self-provoking wrath,

Joy is no stranger to the savage brest,

As oft with love, hate and desire possest,

Through the aversion and the appetite

Which all these passions in their hearts excite.

God cloth’d them all in several woolls and hair,

Whereof some meaner, some more precious are,

Which men now into garments weave and spin,

Nor only weare their fleeces, but their skin;

Besides employ their teeth, bones, claws, and horn,

Some Medicines be, and some the house adorn.

A thousand other various ways we find,

Wherein alive and dead they serve mankind,

Who from th’ obedience they to him afford

Es. 1.3.Might learn his duty to his Soveraign Lord.