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In vain with timbrelled anthems dark
He feels from Juda's land
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:
So when the sun in bed,
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave,
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.
But see the virgin blest
Time is our tedious song should here have ending •
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending:
Erewhile of music, and ethereal mirth,
"It appears from the beginning of this poem, that it was composed after, and probably soon after, the ode on the Nativity.
In winter solstice like the shortened light.
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight
He, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head,
That dropped with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,
His starry front low-roofed beneath the skies:
Oh, what a mask was there, what a disguise!
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide,
These latest scenes confine my roving verse,
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Befriend me night, best patroness of grief,
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flattered fancy to belief,
That Heaven and Earth are coloured with my woe;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know:
The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters, where my tears have washed, a wannish white
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
1 i. e. the poetry of Hieronymus Vida, of Cremona, who wrote a "Christiad."
2 As Ezekiel saw the vision of the four wheels and of the triors of Hod at the river Chebar."
There doth my soul in holy vision sit
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
Or should I thence, hurried on viewless wing,
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
[This subject the author finding to be above the years he had,
Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race;
For when as each thing bad thou hast entombed.
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And joy shall overtake us as a
When every thing that is sincerely good
1 To this copy of verses the poet had appended the direction, "Tc *'e set on a clock-case."
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
Ye flaming powers, and winged warriors bright,
His infancy to seize!
O more exceeding love, or law more just?
Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above,
High throned in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory,2 even to nakedness;
And that great covenant which we still transgress
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,
1 The same precisely as "beatific vision."
2 From the Greek of Phillip, ii. 7: iavrbv iKevuoe, " he made himself of no reputation."
And seals obedience first with wounding smart
Will pierce more near his heart.
AT A SOLEMN MUSIC.
Blest pair of Sirens, pledges of Heaven's joy,
Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
"Wed your divine sounds, and mixed power employ,
Dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce,
And to our high-raised fantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure concent,1
Aye sung before the sapphire-coloured throne
To him that sits thereon,
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee,
Where the bright seraphim in burning row
Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow,
And the cherubic host in thousand quires
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms
That we on earth with undiscording voice
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportioned sin
Jarred against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion swayed
In perfect diapason,2 whilst they stood
In first obedience, and their state of good.
Oh, may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with Heaven, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light.
1 This is preferable to the other reading, " content."