On Fayrford Windowes

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I know no paynt of poetry
Can mend such colourd Imag'ry
In sullen inke: yet Fayrford, I
May relish thy fayre memory.

Such is the Ecchoes faynter sound,
Such is the light when sunne is drownd;
So did the fancy looke upon
The worke before it was begunne:
Yet when those shewes are out of sight
My weaker colours may delight.

Those Images so faythfully
Report true feature to the eye
As you may thinke each picture was
Some visage in a looking-glasse;
Not a glasse-window face, unlesse
Such as Cheapside hath: where a presse
Of paynted gallants looking out
Bedecke the Casement round about:
But these have holy physnomy:
Each pane instructs the Laity
With silent eloquence: for here
Devotion leads the eye, not eare,
To note the catechising paynt,
Whose easy phrase doth so acquaint
Our sense with Gospell that the Creede
In such a hand the weake may reade:
Such types even yet of vertue bee,
And Christ, as in a glasse wee see.

Behold two turtles in one cage,
With such a lovely equipage,
As they who knew them long may doubt
Some yong ones have bin stollen out.

When with a fishing rodde the clarke
Saint Peters draught of fish doth marke,
Such is the scale, the eye, the finne,
Youd thinke they strive and leape within;
But if the nett, which holds them breake,
Hee with his angle some would take.

But would you walke a turne in Pauls?
Looke uppe; one little pane inroules
A fayrer temple: fling a stone
The Church is out o'the windowes throwne.

Consider, but not aske your eyes,
And ghosts at midday seeme to rise:
The Saynts there, striving to descend,
Are past the glasse, and downward bend.

Looke there! The Divell! all would cry
Did they not see that Christ was by:
See where he suffers for thee: see
His body taken from the Tree:
Had ever death such life before?
The limber corps, besullyd ore
With meager palenesse, doth display
A middle state twixt Flesh and Clay:
His armes and leggs, his head and crowne,
Like a true Lambskinne dangling downe,
Who can forbeare, the Grave being nigh,
To bring fresh oyntment in his eye?

The wondrous art hath equall fate,
Unfencd and yet unviolate:
The Puritans were sure deceivd,
And thought those shadowes movde and heavde,
So held from stoning Christ: the winde
And boystrous tempests were so kinde
As on his Image not to prey,
Whom both the winds and seas obey.

At Momus wish bee not amazd;
For if each Christian heart were glazde
With such a window, then each breast
Might bee his owne Evangelist.

© William Strode