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Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,

Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee,

Or Humber loud that keeps the Scythian's name,

Or Medway smooth, or royal-tower'd Thame.

[The rest zt/asprose]

III. On the Morning of Christ's Nativity.
Composed 1629.
I.

J His is the month, and this the happy morn,
Whetein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy Sages once did sing,

That he our deadly forfeit should release, And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

Ii. That glorious form, that light unsufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of majesty, Wherewith he wont at Heav'n's high council-table To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, He laid aside; and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day, And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

in. Say, heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the Infant God? Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, To welcome him to this his new abode,

Now while the Heav'n by the sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons IV. [bright?

See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led Wisards haste With odors sweet:
O ron, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honor first thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the angel quire,
From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.

The Hymn.

I.

It was the winter wild,
While the Heav'n-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in awe to him
Had don't her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun her lusty paramour.

it. Only with speeches fair She wooes the gentle Air

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow; And on her naked shame, Pollute with sinful blame,

The saintly veil of maiden white to throw;
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities,

HI.
But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

She crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphere
His ready harbinger,

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing, And, waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes an universal peace through sea and land.

JV.

No war, or battel's sound
Was heard the world around:

The idle spear and shield were high up hung,
The hooked chariot stood,
Unstain'd with hostile blood,

The trumpet spake not to,the armed throng; And kings sat still with awful eye, As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.

v. But peaceful was the night, Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began:
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,

Whisp'ring new joys to the mild ocean,

Who now hath quite forgot to rave, [wave.

While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed

VI.

The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence;
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often wam'd them thence;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

VII.

And though the shady Gloom
Had given Day her room',

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame ,

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need; He saw a' greater sun appear [bear.

Than his bright throne, or burning axletree could

VIII.

Tise shepherds on the lawn,
Or e'er the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they then
Tliat the mighty Pan

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Ptihaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.
c

IX.

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook,
Divinely-warbled voice
Answ'ring the stringed noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air as if such pleasure loth to lose, [close.
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heav'nly

x. Nature that heard such sound, Beneath the hollow round

Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling,
Now was almost won
To think her part was done,

And that her reign had here its last fulfilling;
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all Meav'n and Earth in happier union.

xI.

At last surrounds their sight

A globe of circular light, [rajr'd,

That with long beams the shame-fae'd Night arThe helmed Cherubim, And sworded Seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd, Harping in loud and solemn quire, [Heir.

With unexpressive notes to Heav'n's new-bora

xII.

Such music (as 'tis said)
Before was never made,

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down sleeting,

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