[Selections from]

Heavens Glory, Seeke It.
Earts Vanitie, Flye It.
Hells Horror, Fere It.

by Samuel Rowlands



Rowlands Biography

Rowlands Bibliography

To the Reader.

THE present carelesse security of all men in generall, is like unto our first Parents neglect of Gods sacred commandement in Paradice, when the seducing Serpent no sooner perswaded evill, but it was instantly put in practise: You shall dye (said God) was heard, but you shall not dye (said the Divell) was beleeved. Our eares are daily acquainted with the threatnings of Gods denounced against sinners, and yet that sinne, that broad way-path and highway to hell, is attempted with a delectation and pleasure so craftie and subtill are the baits and lures of the deceiver, and so void of spirituall wisedome is the soule-murdering sinner. But if due consideration were had of the wages of sinne, and the reward of unrighteousness, and to what bitternesse it will turne in the end, it would make us lesse bold to sinne, and more fearefull to offend, if we would take into our company for a daily consort, the pale memory of death, and whereto he summoneth us after this life. Death it selfe is very fearefull, but much more terrible, in regard of the judgement it warneth us unto. Imagine to see a sinner lye on his departing bed, burdened and tyred with the grievous and heavie load of all his former trespasses, goared with the sting and pricke of a festered conscience, feeling the crampe of death wresting at his heart strings, ready to make the ruthfull divorce betweene soule and body, panting for breath, and swimming in a cold and fatall sweat, wearied with strugling against the deadly pangs: Oh how much would he give for an houre of repentance! at what rate would he value a daies contrition! Then worlds would be worthlesse, in respect of a little respite, a short truce would seeme more precious than the treasures of Empires, nothing would be so much esteemed as a moment of time, which non by moneths and yeeres is lavishly spent.

How inconsolable were his case, his friends being fled, his sences frighted, his thoughts amazed, his memorie decaied, his whole minde agast, and no part able to performe that it should, but onely his guiltie conscience pestered with sinne, continually upbraiding him with bitter accusations? what would hee thinke then (stripped out of this mortall weed, and turned both out of the service and house roome of this world) hee must passe before a most severe Judge, carrying in his owne conscience his enditement written, and a perfect register of all his misdeeds: when hee should see the Judge prepared to passe the sentence against him, and the same to be his Umpire , whom by so many offences he hath made his enemie: When not onely the devils, but even the Angels, should plead against him, and himselfe maugre his will, bee his owne sharpest appeacher: What were to be done in these dreadful exigents?

When hee saw that gastly dungeon and huge gulfe of hell, breaking out with fearefull flames, the weeping, houling, and gnashing of teeth, the rage of all those hellish monsters, the horrour of the place, the rigour of the paine, the terrour of the company, and the eternitie of all those punishments. Would you thinke them wise that would daily in so weighty matters, and idlely play away the time allotted them to prevent these intollerable calamities? Would you then account it secure, to nurse in your bosome so many ugly Serpents as sinnes are, or to foster in your soule so many malicious accusers, as mortall faults are?

Would you not then thinke one life too little to repent for so many iniquities, everie one whereof, were enough to cast you into those everlasting and unspeakeable torments? Why then doe we not (at the least) devote that small remnant of these our latter dayes, to the making an attonement with God, that our consciences may be free from this eternall danger? Who would relie the everlasting affaires of the life to come, upon the gliding, slipperinesse; and running streame of our uncertaine life?

It is a preposterous pollicie (in any wise conceit) to fight against God till our weapons be blunted, our forces consumed, our limmes impotent, and our breath spent; and then when we fall for faintnesse, and have fought our selves almost dead, to presume on his mercy. It were a strange peece of Art, and a very exorbitant course, while the Ship is sound, the Pylot well, the Marriners strong, the gale favourable, and the Sea calme, to lye idle at rode: and when the Ship leakes, the Pylot were sicke, the Marriners faint, the stormes boysterous, and the Sea turmoyled with surges, to launch forth for a voyage into a farre Country: yet such is the skill of our evening repenters, who though in the soundnesse of health, and in the perfect use of reason, they cannot resolve to weigh the ankers that withhold them from God, neverthelesse, feed themselves with a strong perswasion, that when their sences are astonied , their wits distracted, their understanding dusked, and both body and minde racked and tormented with the throbs and gripes of a mortall sicknesse, then will they thnke of the weightiest matters, and become Saints, when they are scarse able to behave themselves like reasonable creatures? being then presumed to be lesse then men: for how can he that is assaulted with an unsetled conscience, distrained with the wringing fits of his dying flesh, maimed in all his abilities, and circled in with so many encombrances, be thought of due discretion to dispose of his chiefest jewell, which is his soule? No, no, they that will loyter in seed time, and begin then to sowe when others begin to reape: they that will riot out their health, and cast their accounts when they can scarsely speake: they that will slumber out the day, and enter their journey when the light doth faile them, let them blame their owne folly, if they dye in debt, and eternall beggerie, and fall headlong into the lapse of endlesse perdition.

Great cause have wee then to have an hourely watchfull care over our soule, being so dangerous assaulted and environed : most instantly entreating the divine Majesty to be our assured defence, and let us passe the day in mourning, the night in watching and weeping, and our whole time in plainfull lamenting, falling downe upon the ground humbled in sackcloath and ashes , having lost the garment of Christ, that hee may receive what the persecuting enemy would have spoyled, every short sigh will not be sufficient satisfaction, nor every knocke a warrant to get in. Many shall cry Lord, Lord, and shall not be accepted: the foolish Virgins did knocke, but were not admitted: Judas had some sorrow, and yet died desperate. Foreslow not (saith the holy Ghost) to be converted unto God, and make not a daily lingering of thy repaire unto him: for thou shalt finde the suddennesse of his wrath and revenge not slacke to destroy sinners. For which cause, let no man sojourne long in sinfull securitie, or post over his repentance untill feare enforce him to it, but let us frame our premises as we would finde our conclusion, endeavouring to live as we are desirous to dye: let us not offer the maine crop to the Divell, and set God to gleane the reproofe of his harvest: let us not gorge the Divell with our fairest fruits, and turne God to the filthy scraps of his leavings: but let us truely dedicate both soule and body to his service, whose right they are, and whose service they owe; that so in the evening of our life we may retire to a Christian rest, closing up the day of our life with a cleare sunne-set, that leaving all darknesse behinde us, we may carry in our consciences the light of grace: and so escaping the horrour of an eternall night, passe from a mortall day, to an everlasting morrow.

Thine in Christ Jesus,
Samuell Rowland.



[Prefatory Verse]



Strike saile, poore soule, in sins tempestuous tide,

  That runst to ruine and eternall wrack:
  Thy course from heaven is exceeding wide,
  Hels gulfe thou ent’rest, if grace guide not backe:
  Sathan is Pilot in this navigation,

The Ocean, Vanity, The Rocke, damnation.


  Warre with the Dragon, and his whole alliance,
  Renounce his league, intends thy utter losse;
  Take in sinnes flag of truce, set out defiance,
10 Display Christs ensigne with the bloudy crosse:
  Against a Faith proofe armed Christian Knight,

The hellish coward dares not mannage fight.



Resist him then, if thou wilt victor be,

  For so he flies, and is disanimate;
  His fiery darts can have no force at thee,
  The shield of faith doth all their points rebate:
  He conquers none to his infernall den,

But yeelding slaves, that wage not fight like men.


  Those in the dungeon of eternall darke,
20 He hath enthralled everlasting date,
  Branded with Reprobations cole-blacke marke,
  Within the never-opening ramd up gate:
  Where Dives rates one drop of water more

Than any crowne that ever Monarch wore.



Where furies haunt the hart-torne wretch, despaire,

  Where clamours cease not, teeth are ever gnashing,
  Where wrath and vengeance sit in horrors chaire,
  Where quenchlesse flames of sulphur fire be flashing,
  Where damned soules blaspheme God in despight,

Where utter darknesse stands remov’d from light.



Where plagues inviron, torments compasse round,

  Where anguish rores in never stinted sorrow,
  Where woe, woe, woe, is every voices sound,
  Where night eternall never yeelds to morrow:
  Where damned tortures dreadfull shall persever,
  So long as God is God, so long is ever.




[Verse from] Heavens Glory



Who loves this life, from love his love doth erre,

  And chusing drosse, rich treasure doth denie,
  Leaving the pearle, Christs connsels to preferre,
  With selling all we have, the same to buy:
  Oh happy soule, that doth disburse a summe,

To gaine a kingdome in the life to come.


  Such trafficke may be termed heavenly thrift,
  Such venter hath no hazard to disswade
  Immortall purchase, with a mortall gift,
10 The greatest gaine that ever Merchant made:
  To get a crowne where Saints and Angels sing,

For laying out a base and earthly thing.



To taste the joyes no humane knowledge knowes,

  To heare the tunes of the cœlestiall quires,
  T’attaine heav’ns sweet and mildest calme repose,
  To see Gods face the summe of good desires:
  Which by his glorious Saints is howerly eyde,

Yet sight with seeing, never satisfide.


  God as he is, sight beyond estimate,
20 Which Angel, tongues are untaught to discover,
  Whose splendor doth The heavens illustrate,
  Unto which sight each sight becomes a lover:
  Whom all the glorious court of heaven laud,

With praises of eternities applaud.



There where no teares are to interpret griefes,

  Nor any sighes, heart dolours to expound,
  There where no treasure is surpris’d by theeves,
  Nor any voice that speakes with sorrowes sound.
  No use of passions, no distempered thought,

No spot of sinne, no deed of error wrought.

  The native home of pilgrime soules abode,
  Rest’s habitation, joyes true residence,
  Jerusalem’s new Citie built by God,
  Form’d by the hands of his owne excellence;
  With gold-pav’d streets, the wals of precious stone,
  Where all sound praise to him sits on the throne.



A Sigh.

[Verse from] Earths Vanitie.



Hence lazie sleepe, thou sonne of sullen night,

  That with soft-breathing Spels keeps sorrowes under
  Thy charmes; cheares up the spirits with delight,
  And laps the Sences in Lethæan slumber;
  Packe and be gone: for my sad soule knowes well,

Care best accordeth with a gloomie Cell.


  And what more darke then my sin-clouded Soule?
  Where yet the Sunne of Sapience never shone;
  But still in Errors ugly cave did roule,
10 Where nought keepes concord but discordant mone:
  Leave me I say and give me leave to tell,

That to my Soule, my self ha’s not done well.



Good man! (if good there lives one) Thou that art

  So farre thrust from the worlds imperious eyes;
  Helpe me to act this penitentiall part:
  I meane, No coyner of new Niceties,
  Nor wodden Worshipper: Give me him than

That’s a God-loving, and good-living man,


  To be my partner in this Tragedie;
20 Whose scenes run bleeding through the wounded Acts,
  Heart-strucke by Sinne and Satans fallacie,
  And poyson’d by my selfe-committed facts:
  Send me thy prayers, if not thy presence found,

To stop the Ore-face of this streaming wound.



Steere me (sweet Saviour) while I safe have past

  The stormie Euroclydons of Despaire,
  Till happily I have arriv’d at last,
  To touch at Thee, my Soules sole-saving stayre:
  Tow up my sin-frought Soule, sunke downe below,

And long lien weltring midst the waves of wo.



New rig me up, lest wallowing I orewhelme;

  Thy Mercy be my Main-mast; and for Sayles
  My Sighs; thy Truth, my tackling; Faith, my Helme:
  My ballast, Love; Hope, Anchor that ne’re failes:
  Then in Heav’ns haven calme Peace me arrive,

Where once enharbor’d, I shall richly thrive.



Woes me! how long ha’s Pride besotted me?

  Proposing to dim Reason my good parts,
  My nimble Wit, my quicke proclivitie
40 To Apprehension; and in high desarts
  How many stood beneath me: I (vaine foole)

Thus fob’d by Satans sleights, ore-slipt my Soule:


  Who in darke Error downe embodied lies,
  Blacke as the Star-lesse Night; and hideously
  Impuritie with rustie wings crosse flies
  Betwixt the Sunne of Righteousnesse and me;
  Whil’st (Bat-like) beats my Soule her leather sayles

Gainst the soft Ayre; and rising, fals and failes.



Must I for each unsyllabled close Thought

50 Render account? O wit fi’lde Conference!
  Cal’d in is thy protection then, deare bought:
  How was my brow o’rehatcht with Impudence?
  To let whole worlds of words my cheekes up-swell,

The least of whom would ding me downe to Hell.


  O wretched Impes then of mans impious race!
  Who’l breath out Blasphemies to make a Jest;
  And call wit flashing the sole punctuall grace
  Of genuine knowledge: But amongst the rest,
  Judge in what case are those wit-hucksters in,
60 That hourely practise this soule sinking sinne?


O may my tongue be ever rivetted

  Fast to my roofe, but when it speakes Gods praise:
  May not one vocall sound by breath be fed,
  But when it carols out celestiall Layes;
  Let not one tone through my tongues hatches flye,

But what beares with’t heav’ns glories harmonie.


  Helpe (Lord of power) my feeble-joynted praiers
  To clamber th’azure Mountaines throwne above me;
  And keepe a seat for me there mongst those haires,
70 Apportion’d out to such as truely love thee:
  Admit them in thine eares a resting roome,

Untill to thee and them, my soule shall come.



Meane while, moyst ey’d Repentance here below

  Shall, Inmate wise be Tenant to my minde:
  For Prayers, without true Penitence, doe show,
  Like meats unseason’d, or like Bils unsign’d;
  “Or corne on tops of Cottages that growes,

“Which (uselesse) no man either reapes or sowes.


  O how my Soule’s supriz’d with shallow feares?
80 When, thinking to leane on Lifes broken staffe;
  And counting to mine age large summes of yeares,
  I heare the sweet and sacred Psalmograph,
  Compare Life to a Flowre, a Puffe, a Span;

Who’s Monarch now, next minute’s not a Man.



Must I needs dye? why surfet I on Pleasure?

  Must I needs dye? why swim I in Delight?
  Must I needs dye? why squint I after Treasure?
  Must I needs dye? why live I not aright?
  Must I needs dye? why live I then in sin?
90 Thrice better for me I had never bin.


Fountaine of breathing Dust? such grace me give,

  That I in life, prepare in dust to lye;
  Let me be dying still whiles I doe live;
  That I may blisfull live, when I shall dye:
  For in Christs Schoole this Paradox learne I;

Who dies before he dies, shall never die.



If I must die, then after must begin

  The life of Joy or Torment, without end;
  The life of Torment purchas’d is by sinne;
100 The life of Joy, by life that learnes t’amend:
  Why should I then prophane, sweare, curse, lust, lie,

If I but thinke on this; That I must die?


  Why should I quaffe to more then Nature can?
  Sith more drinke I gaine more losse is mine:
  For may I not be tearm’d a bestiall man,
  To drowne my Reason in a cup of wine?
  Yea tenfold worse: Thus monster made at least:

God made me Man, I make my selfe a Beast.



How swelt I with hard travell through the Dale

110 That leads to Prophanations irkesome cell?
  But freeze, by softly pacing up the skale,
  Where burning zeale, and her bright sisters dwell:
  Thus sweat I in the shadow, shake i'th shine,

And by free choice, from good to ill decline.


  Sweet Saviour cleanse my leprous loathsome soule
  In that depurpled Fount, which forth thy side
  Gurgling, did twixt two Lilly-mountaines roule,
  To rinse Mans tainted Race, Sin-soylifide:
  Wash it more white then the triumphant Swan,
120 That rides o’th silver brest of Eridan.


Suffer my prayers harmony to rise

  Into thine eares, while th’Angels beare a part:
  Accept my Sighs, as smelling Sacrifice,
  Sent from the Altar of my bleeding heart;
  Up to thy nostrils, sweet as th’Oyle of Aaron,

Or th’ordoriferous Rose of flowrie Sharon.


  The Hart ne’re long’d more for the purling brookes;
  Nor did the lustfull Goate with more pursuit,
  After the blossom’d Tritifolie looke,
130 Then do’s my panting Soule, t’enjoy the fruit
  Of thy Life-water; which if I attaine

To taste of once, I ne’re shall thirst againe,


  Even as the chapped ground in Summers heat,
  Cals to the clouds, and gapes at every showre:
  Whose thirstie Casma’s greedily intreat,
  As tho they would th’ whole house of heav’n devour;
  So do’s my riven Soule, beparcht with sin,
  Yawne wide, to let moyst drops of Mercie in.




[Verse from] Earths Vanitie.




  Though long it were since Adam was,
  Yet seemes he here to be;
  A blessed creature once he was,
  Now naked as you see:
  Whose wife was cause of all my care,
  To say I may be bold:
  Turne backe the leaves, and then you may

My picture there behold.




  To thinke upon the workes of God,
10 All worldly men may wonder:
  But thinking on thy sinnes O man,
  Thy heart may burst asunder:
  The sinner sits and sweetly sings,
  And so his heart beguiles,
  Till I come with my bitter stings,

And turne to griefe his smiles.




  Muse not to gaze upon my shape,
  Whose nakednesse you see;
  By flattering and deceitfull words,
20 The Divell deceived me:
  Let me example be to all,
  That once from God doe range:
  Turne backe the leaves, and then behold

Another sight as strange.




  Had Adam and Eve never beene
  As there you saw their shape,
  I never had deceived them,
  Nor they ere made debate:
  But turne, behold where both doe stand
30 And lay the fault on me:
  Turne backe the upper and nether crests,

There each of them you see.




  Here we doe stand in perfect state,
  All formed as we were;
  But what the Serpent did by hate,
  Shall sodainely appeare:
  Then here behold how both doe stand,
  And where the fault did lye:
  Th’almighty power did so command,
40 That once we all must dye.



  See what comes of wicked deed,
  As all men will doe know;
  And for the same God hath decreed
  That we should live in woe:
  The dust it was my daily food,
  Unto it we must turne;
  And darknesse is my chiefe abode,
  In sorrow so we mourne.




Rowlands Biography

Rowlands Bibliography



our first Parents: Adam and Eve.
you shall not dye: Gen. 3:3-4.
highway to hell: Matt. 7:13.
delectation: delight, enjoyment (OED).
wages of sinne: Rom. 6:23.
maugre: in spite of (OED).
appeacher: accuser or informer (OED).
exigents: exigence; a pressing state of circumstances, or one demanding immediate action or remedy (OED).
gnashing of teeth: Matt. 13:42.
daily: dally ?
conceit: opinion, estimation (OED).
rode: a rope attached to a boat-anchor or trawl (OED).
ankers: anchors.
astonied: astonished.
thnke: think.
distrained: constrained.
environed: encircled (OED).
plainfull: plaintful.
sackcloath and ashes: a display of deep humility and remorse (OED).
foolish Virgins: Matt. 25:1-13.
died desperate: after betraying Christ, Judas commited suicide.
Foreslow: delay (OED).
post over: postpone.
wrack: downfall, subversion (OED).
ent’rest: enter.
Dragon: Satan. Rev. 12:7-9.
ensigne: insignia.
armed Christian Knight: Eph. 6:11-17
disanimate: inanimate.
fiery darts...shield of faith: Eph. 6:16.
wage: carry on (war, a contest) (OED).
Dives: men of great wealth and riches (OED).
despight: spite, contempt (OED).
never stinted: unending, limitless.
woe, woe, woe: Rev. 8:13.
drosse: dross; waste or impure matter (OED).
pearle: a reference to riches. connsels: counsels.
trafficke: traffic; the exchange of goods for profit (OED).
venter: venture.
quires: choirs.
laud: praise (OED).
dolours: sorrows, griefs (OED).
Jerusalem’s new Citie: Rev. 21:2.
With gold-pav’d streets...throne: Tobit 13:16-18.
Lethæan: refers to the river Lethe; in Greek mythology, Lethe is said to cause oblivion or forgetfulness (OED).
Sapience: wisdom, understanding (OED).
roule: roll; this sense implies turmoil; toss and turn.
ha’s: has.
wodden: wooden; dull, stiff; lacking liviliness and interest (OED).
Ore-face: orifice.
Euroclydons: tempestuous winds. Acts 27:14.
stayre: stair
lien: past participle of the verb lie; laying or lying. weltring: rolling (OED).
ballast: heavy material placed in the hold of a ship to prevent capsizing (OED).
desarts: excellence, worth (OED).
fob’d: cheated, deceived (OED).
fi’lde: filled.
o’rehatcht: over hatched; engraved or inlaid (OED).
ding: to deal heavy blow (OED).
punctuall: explicit, definite (OED).
wit-hucksters: huckster; a person who makes profit of anything in a mean or petty way (OED).
Layes: lyric or narrative poems intended to be sung (OED).
haires: heirs.
Like meats unseason’d...no man either reapes or sowes: from The Argument of the Third Sestiad in Hero and Leander by George Chapman (in his continuation of Christopher Marlowes work).
Psalmograph: A writer of psalms (OED).
Who dies before he dies, shall never die: a theological paradox widely attributed to Abraham a Santa Clara, a German Augustinian monk.
skale: a ladder (OED).
roule: roll; in this sense, flow.
triumphant Swan: Cycnus; in Greek mythology, the grieving friend of Phaëton, whom Zeus turned into a swan. Rowlands echoes Giles Fletcher's "Christ’s Triumph (Over Death)" (1610).

So down the silver streams of Eridan,
On either side bankt with a lily wall
Whiter than both, rides the triumphant swan,
And sings his dirge, and prophesies his fall. (1-4)

Eridan: the river Po, in Italy; named after Eridanus (Phaëton) who fell into the stream when he could not control the chariot of the sun.
th’Oyle of Aaron: Lev. 8:12.
Rose of flowrie Sharon: Song of Solomon 2:1.
Tritifolie: based upon an erroneous identification of Latin "triticum" (wheat) with "trefoil," a plant having trifoliate leaves (OED).
Casma’s: chasms.
beparcht: parched.
[Verse from] Earths Vanitie: these verses paraphrase the story of Adam and Eve; see Gen. 2-3. The following stanzas comprise an alternating dialogue between the Serpent from the Garden of Eden, and the first humans.
II. III.: 2+3=Stanza 5.
II. IV.: 2+4=Stanza 6.
The dust it was my daily food: Gen. 3:19.




Rowlands Biography

Rowlands Bibliography