Regeneration

A ward, and still in bonds, one day
          I stole abroad,
It was high-spring, and all the way
     Primrosed, and hung with shade;
     Yet, was it frost within,
          And surly winds
Blasted my infant buds, and sin
     Like clouds eclipsed my mind.

Stormed thus; I straight perceived my spring
          Mere stage, and show,
My walk a monstrous, mountain's thing
     Roughcast with rocks, and snow;
     And as a pilgrim's eye
          Far from relief,
Measures the melancholy sky
     Then drops, and rains for grief,

So sighed I upwards still, at last
          'Twixt steps, and falls
I reached the pinnacle, where placed
     I found a pair of scales,
     I took them up and laid
          In th' one late pains,
The other smoke, and pleasures weighed
     But proved the heavier grains;

With that, some cried, "Away!" Straight I
          Obeyed, and led
Full east, a fair, fresh field could spy
     Some called it Jacob's Bed;
     A virgin-soil, which no
          Rude feet ere trod,
Where, since he slept there, only go
     Prophets, and friends of God.

Here, I reposed; but scarce well set,
          A grove descried
Of stately height, whose branches met
     And mixed on every side;
     I entered, and once in
          Amazed to see 't,
Found all was changed, and a new spring
     Did all my senses greet;

The unthrift sun shot vital gold
          A thousand pieces,
And heaven its azure did unfold
     Checkered with snowy fleeces,
     The air was all in spice
          And every bush
A garland wore; thus fed my eyes
     But all the ear lay hush.

Only a little fountain lent
          Some use for ears,
And on the dumb shades language spent
     The music of her tears;
     I drew her near, and found
          The cistern full
Of diverse stones, some bright, and round
     Others ill-shaped, and dull.

The first, pray mark, as quick as light
           Danced through the flood,
But, the last more heavy than the night
      Nailed to the center stood;
      I wondered much, but tired
           At last with thought,
My restless eye that still desired
      As strange an object brought;

It was a bank of flowers, where I descried
           Though 'twas midday,
Some fast asleep, others broad-eyed
      And taking in the ray,
      Here musing long, I heard
           A rushing wind
Which still increased, but whence it stirred
      No where I could not find;

I turned me round, and to each shade
            Dispatched an eye,
To see, if any leaf had made
      Least motion, or reply,
      But while I listening sought
           My mind to ease
By knowing, where 'twas, or where not,
      It whispered: "Where I please."

"Lord," then said I, "on me one breath.
And let me die before my death!"