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XXVI.

So when the sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to the infernal jail,

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave;
And the yellow-skirted Fayes
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.

XXVII.

But see the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest,

Time is our tedious song should here have ending;
Heaven's youngest teemèd star
Hath fix'd her polish'd car,

Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harness'd Angels sit in order serviceable.

UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.

YE flaming Powers, and winged Warriors bright,
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 listening night;
Now mourn, and if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow:
He who with all heaven's heraldry whilere
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease;
Alas, how soon our sin
Sore doth begin

His infancy to seize !

O more exceeding love, or law more just ?
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we by rightful doom remediless
Were lost in death, till He that dwelt above
High throned in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied His glory, ev'n to nakedness;
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,
This day, but o ere long,
Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart.

THE PASSION.

1629.

EREWHIILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
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,

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 seize ere long,
Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so,
Which he for us did freely undergo :

Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!

III.

He Sov’reign Priest stooping his regal head,
That dropp'd with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,
His starry front low-roof'd beneath the skies:
O what a mask was there, what a disguise !

Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide,
Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.

IV.

These latest scenes confine my roving verse,
To this horizon is my Phoebus bound;
His god-like acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings other where are found;
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump? doth sound;

Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.

V.

Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief,
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flatter'd fancy to belief,
That Heaven and Earth are colour'd with my voe;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know:

The leaves should all be black whereon I write,
And letters where my tears have wash'd a wannish white.

VI.

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirl'd the Prophet up at Chebar flood;2
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
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

1 Hieronymus Vida's Christiad, a fine Latin poem. Vida dwelt at Cremona.

2 Ezek, i, 15.

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
Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score
My plaining verse as lively as before;

For sure so well instructed are my tears,
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.

VIII.

Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing,
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,
The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild,
And I (for grief is easily beguiled)

Might think th' infection of my sorrows loud

Had hit a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud. This subject the Author finding to be above the years he bad, when he wrote it,

and nothing satisfied with what was begin, left it unfinished.

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Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
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,
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 consumed,
Then long Éternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss ;

To be set on

1 In Milton's MS. written with his own hand, --"On Time. & clock-case."- WARTON.

And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,
When everything that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the

supreme throne
Of Him, to whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee,

O Time.

AT A SOLEMN MUSIC.

BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of heav'n's joy,
Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd pow'r employ
Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce;
And to our high-raised phantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure concent,
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd 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
Singing everlastingly:
That we on earth with undiscording voice
May rightly answer that melodious noise ;
As once we did, till disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood

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