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Ere Wuile of musiek, 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; I
In wintry solstiee, like the shorten'd lig^it,
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,
Whieh on our dearest Lord did seize ere long, 10
Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so,
Whieh he for us did freely undergo:
Most perfeet Hero, tried in heaviest plight
He, sovran Priest, stooping his rogal head, 15
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernaele entered,
His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies:
0, what a mask was there, what a disguise!
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide; 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.
These latest seenes eonfine my roving verse;
To this horizon is my Phoebus bound:
His godlike aets, and bis temptations fieree,
And former sufferings, other where are found; 20
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound:
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief;
Over the pole thy thiekest mantle throw, 30
And work my flatter'd faney to belief,
That heaven and earth are eolour'd with my woe;
My sorrow8 are too dark for day to know:
The leaves should all be blaek whereon I write; 34 And letters, where my tears have wasb'd a waunish white.
See, see the ehariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirl'd the Prophet up at Chebar flood;
My spirit some transporting Cherub feels,
To bear mo where the towers of Salem stood,
Onee glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood: 40
There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulehral roek
That was the easket of Heaven's riehest store;
And hero, though grief my feeble hands up loek, 40
Yet on the soften'd quarry would I seore
My plaining verse as lively as before;
For sure so well instrueted are my tears,
Or should I thenee, hurried on viewless wing, H
Might think the infeetion of my sorrows loud 05
This subjeet the author finding to bo above the years ho had when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished.
28. Of lute, or mi: That is, gentle; not noisy or loml iike the trumpet.
34. The leares, Ae. Coneeits were not eonflnod to words only. Me. 8tevens has a volume of Elegies. in whieh the paper is blaek nnd tl,e letters white: that is. in all the title-pages. Every intermediate leaf is also blaek. What u sndden ehange, from this ,hiidish idea to the noble apostrophe, the subiime rapture and imagination of the next stanzs.—T. Waktun.
43. That tad upulehral root-: That is, the Holy 8epulebre at Jerusalem.
51. Take up a werpitta. Jer. ix. 10.
02. Thegmtle neighhtotrtuml. A sweetly beautiful eouplet, whieh, witii the two preeeding iines, opened the stanza so well, that l partieularly grieve to find it terndnate feehlv in a most ndserably disgusting eoneette.—Dunstsr.
UPON THE CIRCUMC1S1ON"
Ye flaming Powers, and winged Warriours bright,
He, who with all Heaven's heraldry whilere 10
His infaney to seize!
Will pieree more near his heart.
ON THE DEATH OF A FA1R INFANT, DYING
0 Fairest flower, no sooner blown but blasted.
n The " Cireumeision" is better than the " Passion,"' and has two or tbree ^liilonie iines.—Brtboes.
t The iih'Iry on the Death of a Fair 1nfant" is praised by Wtu-ton. nsd well eharaeterised in his last note upon it; but it has more of researeh and )al onre-l fmry than of feeiing, and is not a general favourite.—Brtdor-8. lt was w,i.t.:n ,.t the atre of seventeen.
Summer's ehief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted
Bleak Winter's foree that made thy blossom dry;
For he, being amorous on that lovely dye i
That did thy eheek envermeil, thought to kiss, But kill'd, alas! and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.
For sinee grim Aquilo, his eharioteer,
By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got,
He thought it toueh'd his deity full near, 1 0
If likewise he some fair ono wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot
Of long uneoupled bed and ehildless eld,
So, mounting up in iey-pearled ear, _ 15
But, all unwares, with his eold-kind embraee 20
Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyaeinth, born on Eurotas' strand, M
Young Hyaeinth, the pride of Spartan land;
But then transform'd him to a purple flower:
Yet ean I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy eorse eorrupts in earth's dark womb,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low-delved tomb.
Could Heaven for pity thee so strietly doom?
0, no! for something in thy faee did shine Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine.
Resolve me then, 0 soul most surely blest,
ilf so it be that thou these plaints dost hear,)
0, say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
Wert thou some star, whieh from the ruin'd roof
Of shak'd Olympus by misehanee didst fall;
Whieh eareful Jove in Nature's true behoof 45
Took up, and in fit plaee did reinstall?
Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall
Of sheeny Heaven, and thou, some goddess fled,
Or wert thou that just Maid, who onee before 00
Forsook the hated earth, 0, tell me sooth,
And eam'st again to visit us onee more?
Or wert thou that sweet-smiliug youth?
Or that erown'd matron sage, white-robed Truth?
Or any other of that heavenly brood, 55 Let down in eloudy throne to do the world some good?
Or wert thou of the golden-winged host,
Who, having elad thyself in human weed,
To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post,
And after short abode fly baek with speed, 00
As if to show what ereatures heaven doth breed;
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire
But, 0! why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy Heaven-loved iunoeenee, 05
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe,
To turn swift-rushing blaek Perdition henee,
Or drive away the slaughtering Pestilenee,