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Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our humble ears,
have power to touch our senses so;)
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,
And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow,
And, with your nine-fold harmony,
Make up full concert to the angelic symphony.
For, if such holy song
Enwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back and fetch the age of gold ;
And speckled Vanity
Will sicken soon and die,
And leprous Sin will melt with earthly mould;
And Hell itself will pass away,
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.
Yea, Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men,
Orbed in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between,
Throned in celestial sheen,
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;
And Heaven, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.
But wisest Fate says, No,
This must not yet be so,
The Babe lies yet in smiling infancy,
That on the bitter cross
Must redeem our loss;
So both Himself and us to glorify:
Yet first to those enchained in sleep,
The wakeful trump of Doom must thunder through the
deep. With such a horrid clang As on Mount Sinai rang,
While the red fire and smouldering clouds outbrake, The aged Earth aghast, With terror of that blast,
Shall from the surface to the centre shake; When at the world's last session, The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne.
And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,
But now begins; for, from this happy day,
The old Dragon, under ground
In straiter limits bound,
Not half so far casts his usurpéd sway;
And wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swindges the scaly horror of his folded tail.
The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the archéd roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathéd spell,
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.
The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,
A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
From haunted spring and dale
Edged with poplar pale,
The parting Genius is with sighing sent;
With flower-inwoven tresses torn,
The nymphs in twilight shades of tangled thickets mourn
In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,
The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint;
In urns and altars round,
A drear and dying sound
Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;
And the chill marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar power foregoes his wonted seat.
Peor and Baalim
Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice battered god of Palestine;
And moonéd Ashtaroth,
Heaven's queen and mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shrine;
The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn,
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.
And sullen Moloch, fled,
Hath left in shadows dread
His burning idol all of blackest hue
In vain with cymbals' ring,
They call the grisly king,
In dismal dance about the furnace blue;
The brutish gods of Nile as fast,
Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.
Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove or green,
Trampling the unshowered grass with lowings loud;
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest,
Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud;
In vain with timbrelled anthems dark,
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipped ark.
He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded Infant's hand,
of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside
Longer dare abide,
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:
Our Babe to show his Godhead true,
Can in his swaddling bands control the damnéd crew.
So when the Sun in bed
Curtained with cloudy red,
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to the infernal jail,
Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave,
And the yellow-skirted Fays
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.
But see the Virgin blest,
Hath laid her Babe to rest;
Time is our tedious song should here have ending:
Heaven's youngest-teeméd star
Hath fixed her polished car,
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harnessed angels sit in order serviceable.
SONNET ON HIS OWN BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that our talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He, returning, chide ;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?”
I fondly ask; but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve Him best; his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait !"
MORNING HYMN IN PARADISE.
These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty! thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; Thyself how wondrous then,
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels!' for ye behold Him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heaven,
On earth join all ye creatures, to extol
Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end !
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise Him in thy sphere
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou sun! of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge Him thy greater; sound his praise,
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st.
Moon! that now meet’st the orient sun, now fly’st,
With the fixed stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering fires ! that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
Air! and ye elements! the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix,
And nourish all things ; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations! that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling, still advance his praise.
His praise, ye winds! that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines !
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices all, ye living souls ; ye birds
That singing up to heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep,
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, mountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord ! be bounteous still
To give us only good; and, if the night
Have gathered aught of evil or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.