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No riot of affection revel kept
Within her breast, but a still apathy Possessed all her soul, which softly slept
Securely without tempest; no sad cry
Awakes her pity, but wrong'd poverty, Sending his eyes to heav'n swimming in tears, With hideous clamours ever struck her ears, Whetting the blazing sword which in her hand she bears. The winged lightning is her Mercury,
And round about her mighty thunders sound : Impatient of himself, lies pining by
Pale Sickness with his kercher'd head upbound;
And thousand noisome plagues attend her round: But if her cloudy brow but once grow foul, The flints do melt, and rocks to waters roll, And airy mountains shake, and frighted shadows howl. Famine, and bloodless Care, and bloody War,
Want, and the knowledge duely how to use Abundance, Age, and Fear that runs afar
Before his fellow Grief, that aye pursues
His winged step; for who would not refuse
She leand her bosom, more than stony hard ;
Of wrong or right, with pain, or with reward ;
There hung the score of all our debts; the card Where good and bad, and life and death were painted : Was never heart of mortal so untainted, But when that scroll was read, with thousand terrors
Witness the thunder that Mount Sinai heard,
When all the hill with fiery clouds did flame, And wandering Israel with the sound afеard,
Blinded with seeing, durst not touch the same,
But like a wood of shaking leaves became : On this dread Justice, to the living law Bowing herself with a majestic awe, All heaven to hear her speech, did into silence draw.
The speech of Justice occupies twenty stanzas.
She ended, and the heavenly hierarchies
Burning with zeal, now quickly marshalld were ; Like to an army that alarum cries, When every one doth shake his dreadful spear;
And the Almighty's self, as be would tear The earth from her firm basis quite asunder, Flames all in just revenge, and mighty thunder ; Heaven stole itself from earth by clouds that gather'd
under. As when the cheerful sun, elamping wide,
Glads all the world with his diffusive ray,
His silent sister steals bim quite away ;
Restoring the blind world his ravish'd sight,
The cozen'd birds industrious take their flight, And wonder at the shortness of the night :
So Mercy once again herself displays
How may a worm that crawls along the dust,
Ascend the azure mountains thrown so higa, And bring from thence thy fair idea just,
That in those bright abodes doth hidden lie,
Cloth'd with such light as blinds an angel's eye! How may weak mortal ever hope to file His unsmooth tongue, and his so uncouth style? 0! raise thou from his corpse thy now entomb'd
If any ask why roses please the sight?
Because their leaves upon thy cheeks do bower! If any ask why lilies are so white ?
Because their blossoms in thy hand do flow'r!
Or why sweet plants such grateful odours show'r ? It is because thy breath so like they be! Or why the orient sun so bright we see? What reason can we give, but from thine eyes and
Ros’d all in lively crimson are thy cheeks,
Where beauties ever flourishing abide; And as to pass his fellow either seeks,
Both seem to blush at one another's pride:
And on thine eye-lids waiting thee beside, Ten thousand graces sit, and when they move To earth their amorous belguards from above, They fly from heay'n, and on their wings convey thy
As melting honey dropping from the comb,
Distil the words that spring between thy lips ; Thy lips, where smiling sweetness keeps her home,
And heav'nly eloquence pure manna sips :
He that his pen but in that fountain dips,
Like as the thirsty land in summer's heat,
Calls to the clouds, and opes at every show'r, As though her hungry clefts all heaven would eat;
Which if high God into her bosom pour,
Though much refresh'd, yet more she could devour : So angels gladly hear those words so sweet, And ev'ry breath a thousand longings meet, Some flying in, some out, and all about her fleet.
Upon her breast delight doth softly sleep,
And with eternal joy is nourished;
The milky rivers that are inly bred
In silver cisterns, and themselves do shed On weary travellers in heat of day, To quench their fiery thirst, and to allay With dropping nectar floods, the hardships of their
The poet proceeds to describe the dress and accompaniments of this delightful personification, too much at length for insertion, and the description itself is rather overwrought. He assigns her two attendants, Repentance and Faith; the latter is thus characterized:
But Faith was quick, and swift as is the heapin,
As if of love and life she all had been ; And though of present sight she was bereav'n,
Yet could she see the things could not be seen :
Beyond the stars, as nothing were between, She fix'd her sight, disdaining things below; Into the sea she could a mountain throw, And make the sun to stand, and waters backward flow.
The speech of Mercy, in reply to her sister's charge, occupies fourteen stanzas, and relates the birth of Christ, and the commencement of the mediatorial office.
With that the mighty thunder dropt away
From God's outstretched arm; now milder grown And melted into tears, as if to pray
For pardon and for pity it had known,
Which should have been for sacred vengeance thrown. There too th' angelic armies all had vow'd Their former rage: but all to Mercy bow'd, And broken weapons at her feet they gladly throw'd.
Bring, bring ye graces all your silver flaskets,
Painted with ev'ry choicest flow'r that grows, That I may soon unload your fragrant baskets,
To strew the paths with odours where he goes;
Let whatsoe'er he treads on be a rose ! So down sbe let her eye-lids fall, to shine Upon the rivers of bright Palestine; Whose woods drop honey, and her rivers flow with wine.
The second part bears the title of “ Christ's Victory on Earth,” and is occupied with the incidents relating to the temptation in the wilderness. The tempter is arrayed in a palmer's garb, and conducts the Saviour in the first place to the cavern of Despair :