Chicks and Eggs

Meditations Upon An Egg

John Bunyan

The egg’s no chick by falling from the hen,
Nor man a Christian till he’s born again.
The egg’s at first contained in the shell;
Men afore grace in sins and darkness dwell.

The egg, when laid, by warmth is made a chicken,
And Christ by grace the dead in sin doth quicken,
The chick at first is in the cell confin’d;
So heaven-born souls are in the flesh detain’d.

The shell doth crack, the chick doth chirp and peep;
The flesh decays, and men then pray and weep.
The shell doth break, the chick’s at liberty;
The flesh falls off, the soul mounts up on high.

But both do not enjoy the selfsame plight—
The soul is safe, the chick now fears the kite.
But chicks from rotten eggs do not proceed
Nor is an hypocrite a saint indeed.

The rotten egg, tho’ underneath the hen,
If crack’d is foul, and loathsome unto men;
Nor doth her warmth make what is rotten sound:
What’s rotten, rotten will at last be found.

The hypocrite, sin in him possession;
He is a rotten egg under profession.
Some eggs bring cockatrices; and some men
Seem hatch’d and brooded in the viper’s den.

Some eggs bring wild-fowls; and some men there be
As wild as are the wildest fowls that flee.
Some eggs bring spiders; and some men appear
More venom’d than the worst of spiders are.

Some eggs bring pismires; and some seem to me
As much for trifles as the pismires be.
And thus do divers eggs form diff’rent shapes,
As like some men as monkeys are like apes;
But this is but an egg; were it a chick,
Here had been legs, and wings, and bones to pick.

word meanings: Viper = Venomous Snakes
Pismires = Ants (smell of formic acid)

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