Aletheia (when I was a girl),
2One Sunday, offered me an
3But for it, I must part with all I had.
4I of the bargain was extremely glad.
5Then, being so directed from above,
6She, smiling, asked me if I could her love.
7I, seeing her so far transcend all other,
8And more resplendent than her
9Said, I with her would gladly live and die.
10Celestial love the true love’s knot did tie;
11Reciprocally promising ne’er to depart,
She took possession of my virgin heart.
13In earnest of her love she gave a kiss,
14Saying she would lead me to eternal bliss;
15So should I shun the paths of endless error,
16And have an innocent soul still free from terror.
17She bid me fear no trouble in my story,
18For love would crown me with immortal glory.
19Thus innocently I passed my youthful days,
20Seeing more and more of her refulgent rays.
21Thus being puffed up with prosperity,
22The world in every star I thought to buy.
23And oft I did my virgin guide intreat
24To make my happiness on earth complete:
25That Peace, that stately dame, she would invite
26To dwell with us to consummate delight.
27For then, I said, that Joy would follow after;
Get but the mother, and you have the daughter.
triumviry might I once enjoy,
30I should esteem this world a trifling toy.
31My fair directress, smiling, then did say,
32That those two jolly ladies would not stay
33Long in a place, nor were they as they seemed,
34As all that glisters is not gold esteemed.
35There’s no true peace, nor joy, below the Sun,
36Nor can we know it till this life is done.
37Nay more, being at the
Parcaes’ house of late,
38Turning the volumes of the book of fate
39To see what might advance th’Eternal’s glory,
happed to cast an eye on my sad story,
41And by my destiny she saw my life,
42At which she sighed: both, infant, maid, and wife
43Would be involved and filled with inward trouble,
44But yet as
brittle as the tenderest bubble.
45And looking further on from page to page,
She found I would live a tedious pilgrimage.
47But yet to comfort me in my sad story,
48My troubles all would end in endless glory.
49Therefore she did advise for my relief,
50A modest matron to allay my grief.
51One not so brave, but of as ample fame,
52And noble birth (the daughter of
53Who doth defend the faithful with her shield
54And makes them still victorious in the field),
55Patience her name, who said she would invite
56Her sister Hope, to further my delight.
57I said of those two damsels I had been told,
58But yet I thought, till I grew sick or old,
59Their sad and tedious stories would deject
60My spritely soul. Them I did not affect.
61Truth, sighing, said, not many days would go,
62Ere I would wish for those I slighted so.
63But all her counsel was to me in vain,
64For I invited home that gallant train:
65Peace in a purple mantle, wrought with gold,
phanes, cities, you might there behold,
67Which cast a luster to my wondering eye;
68Joy, in an azure vesture like the sky,
69Studded with gems, which dazzled so my sight,
70That now (methought) my pearl was not so bright
71As it was wont, but
looked both dim and sad.
72Thus of my guests I was extremely glad.
73Peace sweetly smiled, Joy, giggling, laughed outright,
74And thus in mirth we passed the time till night.
75Then tired with laughing we went all to bed,
76But by the morn my cheerful guests were fled,
77And none but Sorrow left, tearing her hair,
And Fear who, trembling, asked for Despair.
79My blessed guide, seeing me in tears dissolved,
80And with such woeful company involved,
81Asked me if Patience I did yet desire.
82I said, without her I should soon expire.
83At last she came with slow and modest pace,
84Wiping the tears from my pale
85She told me many a sad and dismal story,
ended in the sufferer’s glory.
87These tears sure washed the films from off my sight,
88For now I found my pearl was far more bright
89Than all the gems I ever yet did view.
90Behold the power of penitential dew.
91I laid my pearl close to my trembling breast,
And on an anchor laid my head to rest,
93That Hope (in love to me) before had laid
94Me to sustain. That fair and blessed maid,
95Whom faire Aletheia brought to take my part,
96To sway the factions in my troubled heart,
97And gave them charge ever to hold in awe
98Sorrow and Fear, and never to withdraw
99Their best assistance to keep out Despair,
100Who with her cursed associates would repair
101Me to afflict, which would me much afright,
black brood of Acheron and Night
103Would also come, who only were addicted
104To add afflictions to the most afflicted.
105Just as she spake, in came that horrid train,
106Which caused a trembling throughout every vein
107Of my sad heart; down fell I in a
108Till that brave
damsel raised me from the ground,
109Who just then came triumphant from the field;
110Then with her bright impenetrable shield,
111She all those hellish monsters did oppose.
112Thus was I safe delivered from my foes.
113Then, leaving Hope and Patience by my side,
114Commanding them both, with me to abide;
115Counseling me to follow my fair guide,
116Who would through all the trouble of my story,
117Lead me at last to everlasting glory.
118Thus have I lived a sad and weary life,
Thirteen a maid, and thirty-three a wife.
120All I found true my Aletheia did speak,
121But yet (aye me)
the bubble will not break.