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THE CHRISTIAD,

A DIVINE POEM.

This was the work which Henry had most at heart. His riper

judgment wonld probably have perceived that the subject was ill chosen. What is said so well in the Censura Literaria of all scriptural subjects for narrative poetry, applies peculiarly to this. * Any thing taken from it leaves the story imperfect; any thing added to it disgasts, and almost shocks us as impious. As Omar said of the Alexandrian Library, we may say of such writings, if they contain only what is in the scriptures they are superfluous; if what is not in them they are false.”—It may be added, that the mixture of mythology makes truth itself appear fabulous.

There is great power in the execution of this fragment.--In edit

ing these remains, I have, with that decorum which it is to be wished all editors would observe, abstained from informing the reader what he is to admire and what he is not; but I cannot refrain from saying, that the two last stanzas greatly affected me, when I discovered them written on the leaf of a different book, and apparently long after the first canto; and greatly shall I be mistaken if they do not affect the reader also.

THE CHRISTIAD,

A DIVINE POEM.

BOOK I.

I.

I SING the Cross!-- Ye white rob'd angel choirs,

Who know the chords of harmony to sweep; Ye who o'er holy David's varying wires,

Were wont of old your hovering watch to keep,

Oh, now descend! and with your harpings deep, Pouring sublime the full symphonious stream

Of music,-such as soothes the saiut's last sleep, Awake my slumbering spirit from its dream, And teach me how to exalt the high mysterious theme. 174

II.

Mourn! Salem, mourn! low lies thine humbled state

Thy glittering fanes are levell’d with the ground! Fallen is thy pride! - Thine halls are desolate!

Where erst was heard the timbrel's sprightly sound,

And frolic pleasures tripp'd the nightly round, There breeds the wild fox lonely,--and agbast

Stands the mute pilgrim at the void profound, Unbroke by noise, save when the hurrying blast Sighs, like a spirit, deep along the cheerless waste.

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III.

It is for this, proud Solyma! thy towers

Lie crumbling in the dust; for this forlorn Thy genius wails along thay desert bowers,

While stern destruction laughs, as if in scorn,

That thou didst dare insult God's eldest-born;
And, with most bitter persecuting ire,

Pursued his footsteps till the last day-dawn
Rose on his fortunes—and thou saw'st the fire
That came to light the world in one great flash expire.

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IV.

Oh! for a pencil dipt in living light,

To paint the agonies that Jesus bore!
Oh! for the long-lost harp of Jesse's might,

To hymn the Saviour's praise from shore to shore;

While seraph hosts the lofty pæan pour,
And Heaven enraptur'd lists the loud acclaim!

May a frail mortal dare the theme explore ?
May he to human ears his weak song frame?
Ob! may be dare to sing Messiah's glorious name?

V.

Spirits of pity! mild Crusaders come!

Buoyant on clouds around your minstrel float; And give him eloquence who else were dumb,

And raise to feeling and to fire his note!

And thou, Urania! who dost still devote Thy nights and days to God's eternal shrine,

Whose mild eyes ’lumin’d what Isaiah wrote, Throw o'er thy bard that solemn stole of thine, And clothe him for the fight with energy

divine.

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