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Thou know'st it must be now thy only bent
To keep in compass of thy predicament:
Then quick about thy purposed business come,

That to the next I may resign my room. Then Ens' is represented as father of the Predicaments' his ten song, wherent i eldest stood for Substance with his canons, which Ens, thus speaking, explains :

Good luck befriend thee, Son; for at thy birth
The fairy ladies danced upon the hearth;
Thy drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spy
Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie,
And sweetly singing round about thy bed
Strow all their blessings on thy sleeping head.
She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still
From eyes of mortals walk invisible:
Yet there is something that doth force my fear,
For once it was my dismal hap to hear
A Sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age,
That far events full wisely could presage,
And in time's long and dark prospective glass
Foresaw what future days should bring to pass;
Your son, said she (nor can you it prevent),
Shall subject be to many an Accident.3
O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king,
Yet every one shall make him underling,
And those that cannot live from him asrınder
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under,
In worth and excellence he shall out-go them,
Yet being above them, he shall be below them;
From others he shall stand in need of nothing,
Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing.
To find a foe it shall not be his hap,
And
peace

shall lull him in her flow'ry lap; Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door Devouring war shall never case to roar;

| Ens, a term in metaphysics rigi. fying entity, being, existence. In this mask it is personified, as are also Substan e, Quantity, Quality, and Relation. “ This affectation," says Wartun, "will appear more excusable in Milton, if we recollect that everything in the Masks of this age appeared in a bodily shape."

A Predicament is a category in

logic; that is, a series of all the predl. cates or attributes contained under a genus. Th+ logic of Aristotle comprised ten categories : Substance, Quantity, Quality, Relation, Action, Passion, Time, Place, Situation, and Habit. These were personified in the Mask.

3 A pun on the logical accidens, WARTOX,

Yea it shall be his natural property
To harbour those that are at enmity.
What pow'r, what force, what mighty spell, if not
Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot?
The next Quantity and Quality spake in proso; then Relation was called

by bis name.
Rivers, arise; whether thou be the son
Of utmost Tweed, or Ouse, or gulphy Don,
Or Trent, who like some earth-born giant spreado
His thirty arms' along the indented meads,
Or sullen Mole that runneth urderneath,
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death,
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,
Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee,
Or Humber loud that keeps the Scythian's name,
Or Medway smooth, or royal tower'd Thame.

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The rest was prose.

i It is said that there were thirty sorts of fish in this river, and thirty religious houses on its banks.

? At Micklebam, near Dorking, the River Mole, in hot summers, sinks through its sande, and finds a subterram

pean channel. In winter, and when heavy rains fall, it keeps its usual bed.

3 Sabrina See Comus, verse 827.

4 Humber was a Scythian king, said to have been drowned in this river by Locrine, three hundred years before the Romans landed in Britain,

Odes.

ON THE MORNING OF CHRISTS NATIVITY.

1629

I.

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of heaven's eternal king,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages' once did sing,

That He our deadly forfeit should release,
And with His Father work us a perpetual peaca.

II.

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith He wont at heaven's high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

III.

Say, heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome Him to this His new abode,
Now while the heav'n by the sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright

1 The Prophets.

See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wisards' haste with odours sweet:
O run prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at His blessed feet;
Have thon 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 liesi
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.

IL

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.

Bat 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 sonnd
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 sov’reign 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 whist!
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 Sleut, or bushed.

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