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IV.

See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wisardshaste with odours sweet:
O run prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at His blessed feet;
Have thou the honour 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 heaven-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ;
Nature in awe to Him
Had dofft 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.

II.

Only with speeches fair
She woos 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.

1 The Magi.

The word “ wisard" meant simply wise men, and is used

in Sir John Cheke's translation of St. Matthew's Gospel.

III.

But He her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-eyed Peace;

She, crown'd with olives 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 a universal peace through sea and land.

IV.

Nor war, or battle'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 sovereign 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 whist1
Smoothly the waters kist,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.

VI.

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

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

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

1 Silent, or bushed.

TIT

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
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree could bear.

VIII.

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

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

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

IX.

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook,
Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringèd noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
The air such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close.

X.

Nature that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round

Of Cynthia's seat, the airy 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 heaven and earth in happier union.

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I God of shepherds.

XI.

At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,

That with long beams the shamefaced night array'd;
The helmèd Cherubim,
And sworded Seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd, Harping in loud and solemn quire, With unexpressive notes to Heaven's new-born Heir.

XII.

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

But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great
His constellations set,

And the well-balanced world on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltering waves their oozy

channel keep.

XIII.

Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears,

If ye have power to touch our senses so;
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time,

And let the base of heaven's deep organ blow;
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony.

XIV.

For if such holy song
Inwrap 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 from earthly mould ;
And Hell itself will pass away,
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day..

XV.

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Yea Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men,

Orb'd 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.

XVI.

But wisest Fate

says

No,
This must not yet be so,

The babe yet lies in smiling infancy,
That on the bitter cross
Must redeem our loss;

So both Himself and us to glorify;
Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep,
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep;

XVII.

:

With such a horrid clang
As on mount Sinai rang,

While the red fire, and smouldering clouds out brake :
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.

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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 usurped sway,
And wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.

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