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ELEGANT EXTRACTS.

PART I.

Devotional and Moral.

HYMN TO THE NATIVITY.

INTRODUCTION.
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 peace.
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, [clay. And chose with us a darksome house of mortal

VOL. I.

B

Say, heavenly 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 heaven, by the sun's team untrod,

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

bright? See, how from far, upon the eastern road, The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet : 0! 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.

It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child

All meanly wrapp'd in the rude manger lies :
Nature, in awe to him,
Had doff'd 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.
Only with speeches fair
She wooes 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.

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

She,crown'd with olive 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.
Nor war nor 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 sovran Lord was by.
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 kiss'd,

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

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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

[bear.
Than his bright throne, or burning axle-tree, could
The shepherds on the lawn,
Or ere 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.
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook ;
Divinely warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took ;
The air, such pleasure loath to lose, [close.
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly
Nature that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round

Of Cynthia’s seat, the aery 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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