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For if such holy song

Enwrap 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.

Yea, Truth and Justice then

Will down return to men,

Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, Mercy will sit between,

Thron'd in celestial sheen,

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steer

And Heaven, as at some festival,


Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.

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 deep;

The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through

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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.

The oracles are dumb;

No voice, or hideous hum,

Runs through the arched roof, in words deceiving: Apollo, from his shrine,

Can no more divine,

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving: No nightly trance, or breathed spell,

Inspires the pale-ey'd priest from the prophetic cell.

The lonely mountains o'er,

And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament; From haunted spring and dale,

Edg'd with poplar pale,

The parting genius is with sighing sent;

With flower-inwoven tresses torn,


The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets

In consecrated earth,

And on the holy hearth,

The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint;

In urns and altars round,

A drear and dying sound

Affrights the flamens at their service quaint; And the chill marble seems to sweat,

While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat.

Peor and Baälim

Forsake their temples dim,

With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine; And mooned Ashtaroth,

Heaven's queen and mother both,

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn,


In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz

And sullen Moloch, fled,

Hath left in shadows dread

His burning idol all of blackest hue; In vain with cymbals' ring

They call the grisly king,

In dismal dance, about the furnace blue: The brutish gods of Nile as fast,

Isis and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste,

Nor is Osiris seen,

In Memphian grove or green,

Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings

Nor can he be at rest

Within his sacred chest;


Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud; In vain, with timbrel'd anthems dark,

The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worship'd ark.

He feels from Juda's land

The dreaded Infant's hand,

The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyne; Nor all the gods beside

Longer dare abide,

Not Typhon huge, ending in snaky twine:

Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,

Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.

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-lov'd

But see, the Virgin bless'd

Hath laid her Babe to rest;

Time is, our tedious song should here have endHeaven's youngest-teemed star

Hath fix'd her polish'd car,


Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attend

And all about the courtly stable


Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.


EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
Wherewith the stage of air and earth did ring,
And joyous news of heavenly 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.

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!

He, sovereign Priest, stooping his regal head,
That drop'd with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshy tabernacle entered,

His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies:
O, what a maak 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.

These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
To this horizon is my Phœbus bound:

His godlike 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.

Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief;
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flattered fancy to belief,

That Heaven and Earth are colour'd with my woe;
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.

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirl'd the Prophet up at Chebar flood;
My spirit some transporting Cherub feels,
To bear me where the towers of Salam stood,
Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood:
There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

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