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Trampling the unfhowr'd grass with lowings loud: Nor can he be at reft
Within his facred cheft,
Nought but profoundest Hell can be his fhroud;
The fable-stoled forcerers bear his worshipt ark.
He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded Infant's hand,
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn; Nor all the God s befide
Longer dare abide,
Not Typhon huge ending in fnaky twine: Our babe to show his Godhead true
Can in his fwadling bands controll the damned crew.
Fly after the night-fteeds, leaving their moon-lov'd maze.
But fee, the Virgin bleft
Hath laid her Babe to rest,
Time is our tedious fong fhould here have ending:
Heav'n's youngest teemed ftar
Hath fix'd her polish'd car,
Her fleeping Lord with handmaid-lamp attending:
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harneft Angels fit in order ferviceable.
The PASSION. *
Rewhile of mufic, and ethereal mirth,
Wherewith the ftage of air and earth did ring,
And joyous news of heav'nly Infant's birth,
In wintry folftice like the fhorten'd light
For now to forrow muft I tune my song,
And fet my harp to notes of faddeft woe,
Which on our dearest Lord did feife ere long,
Dangers, and fnares, and wrongs, and worse than so, Which he for us did freely undergo:
Most perfect Hero, try'd in heaviest plight
Of labors huge and hard, too hard for human wight!
He fov'ran Prieft ftooping his regal head,
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
His ftarry front low-rooft beneath the skies;
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, Then lies him meekly down faft by his brethren's fide.
Thefe lateft fcenes confine my roving verse,
To this horizon is
*This poem appears to have been compofed foon after the
de on the nativity.
His Godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
Of lute, or viol ftill, more apt for mournful things.
Befriend me Night, beft patronefs of grief,
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flatter'd fancy to belief,
That Heav'n and Earth are color'd with my woe;
The leaves fhould all be black,whereon I write, 35 And letters,where my tears have wash'da wannish white.
See, fee the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
In penfive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.
Mine eye hath found that fad fepulchral rock,
And here,though grief my feeble hands up lock,
My plaining verfe as lively as before;
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.
Or fhould I thence hurry'd on viewless wing, Take up a weeping on the mountains wild, The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Would foon unbofom all their echoes mild,
Might think th' infection of my forrows loud Had got a race of mourners on fome pregnant cloud.
This fubject the Author finding to be above the years he had, when he wrote it, and nothing fatisfied with what was begun, left it unfinish'd.
LY envious Time, till thou run out thy race, Call on the lazy leaden-ftepping hours, Whofe fpeed is but the heavy plummet's pace ;. And glut thyfelf with what thy womb devours, Which is no more than what is falfe and vain, · And merely mortal drofs;
So little is our lofs,
So little is thy gain.
For, when as each thing bad thou haft intomb'd,
Then long Eternity fhall greet our bliss
With an individual kifs;
And Joy fhall overtake us as a flood,
When every thing,that is fincerely good
And perfectly divine,.
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
* In these poems where no date is prefixed, and no circum. Atances direct to afcertain the time when they were compofed, the order of Milton's own editions is followed. Before this copy of verfes, it appears from the author's manufcript, that he had written, To be jet on a clock-cafe,
About the fupreme throne
Of him, t'whose happy-making fight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided foul shall clime,
Attir'd with ftars, we fhall for ever fit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O
Upon the CIRCUMCISION.
E flaming Pow'rs, and winged Warriors bright,
He,who with all Heav'n's heraldry whilere
Sore doth begin
His infancy to feife!
O more exceeding love or law more jutt
And that great covenant,which we ftill tranfgrefs,