Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Long Have I Been Thy Votary

John Norris, To Melancholy, in A Collection of Miscellanies, 6th ed. (London: Manship, 1717), pp. 100-101:
    Mysterious passion, dearest pain,
    Tell me, what wondrous charms are these
    With which thou dost torment and please,
I grieve to be thy slave, yet would not freedom gain.
    No tyranny like thine we know,
    That half so cruel e're appear'd,
    And yet thou'rt lov'd as well as fear'd,
Perhaps the only tyrant that is so.

    Long have I been thy votary,
    Thou'st led me out to woods and groves,
    Made'st me despise all other loves,
And give up all my passions, all my soul to thee.
    Thee for my first companion did I chuse,
    First, even before my darling Muse;
    And yet I know of thee no more
Than those who never did thy shrine adore.

    Thou'rt Mystery and Riddle all,
    Like those thou inspirest, thou lov'st to be
    In darkness and obscurity,
Even learned Athens thee an unknown God might call.
    Strange contraries in thee combine,
    Both Hell and Heaven in thee meet,
    Thou greatest bitter, greatest sweet,
No pain is like thy pain, no pleasure too like thine.

    'Tis the grave doctrine of the schools
    That contraries can never be
    Consistent in the high'st degree,
But thou must stand exempt from their dull narrow rules.
    And yet 'tis said the brightest mind
    Is that which is by thee refin'd.
    See here a greater mystery,
Thou mak'st us wise, yet ruin'st our philosophy.
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