To God the Father

  • Great God, within whose simple essence we
  • Nothing but that which is thyself can find,
  • When on thy self thou didst reflect thy mind,
  • They thought was God which took the form of thee;
  • And when this God, thus borne, thou lov’st, and he
  • Lov’d thee again, with passion of like kind,
  • (As lovers’ sighs, which meet become one wind),
  • Both breath’d one spright of equal Deity.
  • Eternal Father, whence these two do come,
  • And wil’st the title of my Father have,
  • An heavenly knowledge in my mind engrave,
  • That that thy Son’s true Image may become;
  • And sent my heart with sighs of holy Love,
  • That that the temple of the Spright may prove.

Henry Constable (1592–1613) was an English poet most famous for the first sonnet sequence in English literature, “Diana.” After converting to Catholicism during the anti-Catholic persecutions of Queen Elizabeth I, he lived in exile on the continent, only returning to England with the accession of the more Catholic-friendly James I. Despite the English throne’s more lenient stance, Constable was soon held prisoner in the Tower of London. Much of his poetry reflected his passionate love for his newfound faith. He died in exile in Liege, Belgium.

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