[K:JNWTS 27/3 (2012): 35-36]


Giles Fletcher (1586-1623)

What hath man done, that man shall not undo,

Since God to him is grown so near a kin?

Did his foe slay him? He shall slay his foe.

Hath he lost all? He all again shall win.

Is sin his master? He shall master sin.

Too hardy soul, with sin the field to try;

The only way to conquer was to fly.

But thus long death hath lived, and now death’s self shall die.


He is a path, if any be misled;

He is a robe, if any naked be;

If any chance to hunger, he is bread;

If any be a bondman, he is free;

If any be but weak, how strong is he!

            To dead men life is he, to sick men health;

            To blind men sight, and to the needy wealth—

A pleasure without loss, a treasure without stealth.


Who can forget—never to be forgot—

The time when all the world in slumber lies,

When, like the stars, the singing Angels shot

To earth, and heaven awaked all his eyes,

To see another Sun at midnight rise

            On earth? Was never sight of pareil fame:

            For God before man like himself did frame,

But God himself now like a mortal man became.


A child he was, and had not learn’d to speak,

That with his word the world before did make;

His mother’s arms him bore, he was so weak,

That with one hand the vaults of heaven could shake.

See how small room my infant Lord doth take,

            Whom all the world is not enough to hold!

            Who of his years, or of his age, hath told?

Never such age so young, never a child so old.

[1] These lines are taken from Fletcher’s larger work Christ’s Victory and Triumph (1610). The title above is our own.