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النشر الإلكتروني

IJI.

ON THE MORNING.

ОР

CHRIST'S NATIVITY.

Composed 1629.

1.

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THIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Hear'n's eternal King,
Of wedded Maid and Virgin Mother horn,
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.

II.
'That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
T'herewith he wont at Heav'n'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 wbile the heav'n, by the sun's team untrod,

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Hath took no print of the approaching light, 20 And all the spangled hosts keep watch in squadrons bright?

IV.
See, how from far, upon the eastern road,
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet;
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;

25 Have thou the honour first thy lord to greet,

Aud joiy thy voice unto the angel quire,
From out bis secret altar touch?d with hallow'd fire,

THE HYMN.

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1.
IT was the winter wild,
While the Heav'n-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature, in awe to him,
Had doff'd her gaudy trim

With her great Master so to sympathise;
It was no seasop then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

II.
Only with speechas 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 vejl of maiden white to throw;
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

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III.
But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphere,
His ready barbinger,

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing;
And, waving wide her myrtle wand,
She strikes an universal peace thrnugh sea and land,

IV.
Nor war, or battle's sound
Was heard the world around :

The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The booked 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 sovereign lord was by.

V.
Bit 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,

Whisp’ring 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 stedfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence ;

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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,

75 Until their Lord himself bespake, and bịd them go.

VII. And, thongh the shady gloom Had given day her room,

"The sun himself withheld his wonted speed, And hid his head for shame,

80 As his inferior flame

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need;
He saw a greater sup appear
Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could bear.

VIII.
The shepherds on the lawn,

85 Or e'er the point of dawa,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they then,
That the mighty Pan
Was kindly come to live with them below;

90 Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep, Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

IX.
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook ;

95 Divinely warbled voice Answering the stringed noise,

As all their sonls in blissful rapture took: The air, such pleasure loth to lose, With thousand echoes still prolongs each heav'nly close. 100

X.
Nature that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round

Of Cynthia's seat, the airy region thrilling,
Now was almost won
To think her part was done,

And that her reign had here its last falfilling;
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all Heav'n and earth in happier union.

105

At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,

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That with long beams the share-fac'd night array'd;
The helmed cherubim,
And sworded seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd Harping in lond and solemn quire,

115 With unexpressive notes to Heaven's new-born Heir.

XII.
Such music (as 'tis said)
Before was never inade,

But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator great

120 His constellation set,

And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung;
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the welt'ring waves their oozy channel keep.

XIII.
Ring out, ye crystal Spheres,

125 Once bless onr human ears,

(If ye have pow'r to tosh our senses so :)

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