A hidden strength
Which if Heav’n gave it, may be term’d her own:
‘Tis chastity, my brother, chastity:
She that has that, is clad in compleat steel,
And like a quiver’d Nymph with Arrows keen
May trace huge Forests, and unharbour’d Heaths,
Infamous Hills, and sandy perilous wildes,
Where through the sacred rayes of Chastity,
No savage fierce, Bandite, or mountaneer
Will dare to soyl her Virgin purity,
Yea there, where very desolation dwels
By grots, and caverns shag’d with horrid shades,
She may pass on with unblench’t majesty,
Be it not don in pride, or in presumption.
Som say no evil thing that walks by night
In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,
Blew meager Hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magick chains at curfeu time,
No goblin, or swart faëry of the mine,
Hath hurtfull power o’er true virginity.
Do ye beleeve me yet, or shall I call
Antiquity from the old Schools of Greece
To testifie the arms of Chastity?
Hence had the huntress Dian her dred bow
Fair silver-shafted Queen for ever chaste,
Wherwith she tam’d the brinded lioness
And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought
The frivolous bolt of Cupid, gods and men
Fear’d her stern frown, and she was queen o’the’Woods.
What was that snaky-headed Gorgon sheild
That wise Minerva wore, unconquer’d Virgin,
Wherwith she freez’d her foes to congeal’d stone?
But rigid looks of Chast austerity,
And noble grace that dash’t brute violence
With sudden adoration, and blank aw.
So dear to Heav’n is Saintly chastity,
That when a soul is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried Angels lacky her,
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
And in cleer dream, and solemn vision
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
Till oft convers with heav’nly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on th’outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
And turns it by degrees to the souls essence,
Till all be made immortal: but when lust
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by lewd and lavish act of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soul grows clotted by contagion,
Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite loose
The divine property of her first being.
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp
Oft seen in Charnell vaults, and Sepulchers
Lingering, and sitting by a new made grave,
As loath to leave the body that it lov’d,
And link’t it self by carnal sensualty
To a degenerate and degraded state.
A hidden strength