In sea of light drift I, bereft of grace,
Hoping to set off that heavenly fire
Which I could not endure of my desire,
Burnèd to naught, such sins the heat erase.
So close to death, so far from God apace
That realize not when I on land retire,
On crimson shores, the like all would admire,
Whilst they adorn that flawless, perfect face.
Abandoned, I? So thought, and so forsake,
As twixt those lips comes musick divinely
That saves me from the lonely fire-lake
And with embrace of tongue would canon me.
Yet as I grace myself, from breast to brow,
Note I temptations that upon her grow.
2. heavenly fire: This is a rough reference to “St. Elmo’s fire,” the phenomenon of electrical discharge under certain conditions that sailors used to attribute to St. Erasmus for protection during their journey. The fire also refers to the cleansing flames of Purgatory that prepare a soul for Heaven (hence their erasing the narrator’s sins).
12. canon: canonize. There is a pun on ‘tongue’ as it refers to the mouth for a romantic kiss, but also the tongue of fire that is the symbol of the Holy Spirit (for a more ‘proper’ canonization, perhaps). Of course, immediately afterwards, the narrator is distracted by the woman’s body – not very saintly behavior.