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The Oracles are dumb;
No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the archèd roof in words deceiving. Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. No nightly trance, or breathèd spell, Inspires the pale-eyed 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
Edged 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,
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 forgoes his wonted seat.
Peor and Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-battered God of Palestine ;
Heaven's queen and mother both,
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine:
The Libyc 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;
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 unshowered grass with lowings loud;
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest ;
Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud;
In vain, with timbreled anthems dark,
The sable-stolèd sorcerers bear his worshiped ark. 220
He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded Infant's hand;
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn ;
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 damnèd crew.
So, when the sun in bed,
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to the infernal jail,
Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave,
But see! the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest.
And the yellow-skirted fays
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved
Time is our tedious song should here have ending:
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending; And all about the courtly stable Bright-harnessed Angels sit in order serviceable.
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
Wherewith the stage of Air and Earth did ring,
In wintry solstice like the shortened light
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, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head,
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle enterèd,
His starry front low-roofed beneath the skies:
Yet more the stroke of death he must abide; 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.
These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief!
The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters, where my tears have washed, a wannish white.
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
My spirit some transporting cherub feels
Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood. 40
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
For sure so well instructed are my tears
Or, should I thence, hurried on viewless wing,
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
SONG ON MAY MORNING.
Now the bright morning-star, Day's harbinger,
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
This Subject the Author finding to be above the years he had when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished.