Pico Della Mirandola - Pico's twelve weapons of spiritual battle

Pico's twelve weapons of spiritual battle

Here follow the .XII. weapons of spiritual battle which every man should have at hand when the pleasure of a sinful temptation cometh to his mind.

 

The pleasure little & short.
The followers grief & heaviness.
The loss of a better thing.
This life a dream and a shadow.
The death at our hand & unaware.
The fear of impenitent departing.
Eternal joy eternal pain.
The nature & dignity of man.
The peace of a good mind.
The great benefits of God.
The painful cross of Christ.
The witness of martyrs and example of saints.

 

THE .XII. WEAPONS HAVE WE[45] MORE AT LENGTH DECLARED AS IT FOLLOWETH.

 

THE PLEASURE LITTLE AND SHORT.

 

Consider well the pleasure that thou hast,
Stand it in touching or in wanton sight,
In vain smell or in thy lickerish taste,
Or finally in whatsoever delight
Occupied is thy wretched appetite:
Thou shalt it find when thou hast all cast
Little, simple, short, and suddenly past.

THE FOLLOWERS GRIEF & HEAVINESS.

 

Any good work if thou with labour do,
The labour goeth, the goodness doth remain:
If thou do evil with pleasure joined thereto,
The pleasure which thine evil work doth contain
Glideth his way, thou mayst him not restrain:
The evil then in thy breast cleaveth behind
With grudge of heart and heaviness of mind.

 

THE LOSS OF A BETTER THING.

 

When thou labourest thy pleasure for to buy
Upon the price look thou thee well advise,
Thou sellest thy soul therefore even by & by
To thy most utter dispiteous enemies:
A mad merchant, O foolish merchandise,
To buy a trifle, O childish reckoning,
And pay therefor so dear a precious thing.

 

THIS LIFE A DREAM AND A SHADOW.

 

This wretched life (the trust & confidence
Of whose continuance maketh us bold to sin)
Thou perceivest well by experience,
Sith that hour in which it did begin,
It holdeth on the course and will not lynne,[46]
But fast it runneth on and passen shall
As doth a dream or a shadow on the wall.

 

DEATH AT OUR HAND AND UNWARE.

 

Consider well that ever night and day,
While that we busily provide and care
For our disport revel mirth and play,
For pleasant melody and dainty fare:
Death stealeth on full slyly, and unaware
He lieth at hand and shall us enterprise
We not[47] how soon nor in what manner wise.

 

FEAR OF IMPENITENT DEPARTING.

 

If thou shouldst God offend think how therefor
Thou were forthwith in very jeopardous case
For haply thou shouldst not live an hour more
Thy sin to cleanse, & though thou haddest space.
Yet peradventure shouldst thou lack the grace:
Well ought we then be afeared to done offence
Impenitent lest we departen hence.

 

ETERNAL REWARD ETERNAL PAIN.

 

Thou seest this world is but a thoroughfare,
See thou behave thee wisely with thy host:
Hence must thou needs depart naked & bare,
And after thy desert look to what cost
Thou art conveyed at such time as thy ghost
From this wretched carcass shall dissever:
Be it joy or pain, endure it thou shall for ever.

 

THE NATURE AND DIGNITY OF MAN.

 

Remember how God hath made the reasonable
Like unto his image and figure,
And for the suffered pains intolerable
That he for angel never would endure.
Regard O man thine excellent nature:
Thou that with angel art made to been equal,
For very shame be not the devil's thrall.

 

THE PEACE OF A GOOD MIND.

 

Why lovest thou so this brittle world's joy:
Take all the mirth, take all the fantasies,
Take every game, take every wanton toy,
Take every sport that man can thee devise:
And among them all on warrantise
Thou shalt no pleasure comparable find
To th'inward gladness of a virtuous mind.

 

THE GREAT BENEFYCES OF GOD.

 

Beside that God thee bought & formed both
Many a benefit hast thou received of his:
Though thou have moved him often to be wroth
Yet he thee kept hath and brought us up to this,
And daily calleth upon thee to his bliss:
How mayst thou then to him unloving be
That ever hath been so loving unto thee.

 

THE PAINFUL CROSS OF CHRIST.

 

When thou in flame of the temptation fryest
Think on the very lamentable pain,
Think on the piteous cross of woeful Christ,
Think on his blood beat out at every vein,
Think on his precious heart carved in twain:
Think how for thy redemption all was wrought:
Let him not lose that he so dear hath bought.

 

THE WITNESS OF MARTYRS & EXAMPLE OF SAINTS.

 

Sin to withstand say not thou lackest might:
Such allegations folly it is to use:
The witness of saints, & martyrs constant fight
Shall thee of slothful cowardice accuse:
God will thee help if thou do not refuse:
If other have stand ere this thou mayst eftsoon:
Nothing impossible is that hath been done.

 

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