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T REWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth, U Wherewith the stage of air and earth did ring, And joyous news of heav'nly Infant's birth, My Muse with Angels did divide to sing; But headlong joy is ever on the wing, 5.
In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living night.
II. For now to sorrow must I tune my song, And set my harp to notes of saddest woe, Which on our dearest Lord did seise ere long, 10 Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worsethanso, Which he for us did freely undergo:
Most perfect Hero, try'd in heaviest plight Of labors huge and hard, too hard for human wight!
He sovran priest stooping his regal head, 15
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, 20 Then lies him meekly down fallby his brethren's side.
IV. These latest scenes confine my roving verse, To this horizon is my Phæbus bound; His Godlike acts, and his temptations fierce, And former sufferings other where are found; 25 Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth found;
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings * Of lute, or viol fill, more apt for mournful things.
Befriend me Night, best patroness of grief,
The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters where my tears have wash'da wannish
(white. See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels, 36 That whirld the Prophet up at Chebar flood, My spirit some transporting Cherub feels, To bear me where the tow’rs of Salem stood, Once glorious tow'rs, now sunk in guiltless blood;
There doth my soul in holy vision sit 41 In pensive trance, and anguish, and exstatic fit.
VII. Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock That was the casket of Heav'n's richest store, And here though grief my feeble hands up lock, 45
Yet on the soften’d quarry would I score
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing, 50
Might think th' infection of my sorrows loud 55 Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud. This subject the Author finding to be above the years
he had, when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinisli’d.
On T I M E. LLY envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
T Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours, Whose speed is but the heavy plummet’s pace; And glut thyself with what thy womb devours, Which is no more than what is false and vain, 5 And merely mortal dross, So little is our loss, So little is thy gain. For when as each thing bad thou hast intomb’d, And last of all thy greedy self consum’d, 10
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
20 Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever fit, . (Time. Triumphingover Death, and Chance, and thee, O
. . VI.
Upon the CIRCUMCISION. VE flaming Pow’rs, and winged Warriors bright
I That erst with music, and triumphant song, First heard by happy watchful shepherds ear, So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along Through the soft silence of the listling night; 5 Now mourn, and if sad share with us to bear Your fiery essense can distil no tear, Burn in your sighs, and borrow Seas wept from our deep forrow : He who with all Heav'n's heraldry whilere 10 Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease; Alas, how soon our sin Sore doth begin
His infancy to seise! O more exceeding love or law more juft? 15 Just law indeed, but more exceeding love! *For we by rightful doom remediless Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust Emptied his glory, ev'n to nakedness;
20 And that great covenant which we still transgress Entirely satisfied, And the full wrath beside Of vengeful justice bore for our excess, And seals obedience first with wounding smart 25 This day, but O ere long Huge pangs and strong Will pierce more near his heart.
VII. At a SOLEMN MUSIC. PLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of Heav'n's joy, Dsphere-born harmonious fisters, Voiceand Verse, Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd pow'r employ Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce, And to our high-rais’d phantasy present That undisturbed song of pure consent, Ay sung before the saphir-color'd throne To him that fits thereon With saintly shout, and folemn jubilee, Where the bright Seraphim in burning row 10 A a 2