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XXI.

In consecrated earth,

And on the holy hearth,

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.

XXII.

Peor and Baälim

Forsake their temples dim,

With that twice-battered god of Palestine ;
And moonèd Ashtaroth,

Heaven's queen and mother both,

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine :

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And sullen Moloch, fled,

Hath left in shadows dread

The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn;

In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.

His burning idol all of blackest hue;

In vain with cymbals' ring

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

XXIV.

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.

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XXV.

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.

XXVI.

So, when the sun in bed,
Curtained with cloudy red,

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,

The flocking shadows pale

Troop to the infernal jail,

Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave,

And the yellow-skirted fays

Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.

XXVII.

But see the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest.

Time is our tedious song should here have ending:
Heaven's youngest-teemèd star
Hath fixed her polished car,

Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harnessed Angels sit in order serviceable.

UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.

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YE flaming Powers, and wingèd Warriors bright,
That erst with music, and triumphant song,
First heard by happy watchful shepherds' ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along,
Through the soft silence of the listening night.
Now mourn; and, if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,

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Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow.
He who with all Heaven's heraldry whilere
Entered the world now bleeds to give us ease.
Alas! how soon our sin

Sore doth begin

His infancy to seize!

O more exceeding love, or law more just?
Just law, indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we, by rightful doom remediless,

Were lost in death, till he, that dwelt above
High-throned in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness;

And that great covenant which we still transgress
Entirely satisfied,

And the full wrath beside

Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,
And seals obedience first with wounding smart
This day; but oh! ere long,

Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart.

THE PASSION.

1.

EREWHILE of music, 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,

In wintry solstice like the shortened light
Soon swallowed up in dark and long outliving night.

II.

For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,
Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long,
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 hunan wight!

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III.

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:
Oh, what a mask was there, what a disguise!

Yet more the stroke of death he must abide;
Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.

IV.

These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
To this horizon is my Phoebus bound.

His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings, otherwhere are found;
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound:

Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.

V.

Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief!
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flattered fancy to belief
That heaven and earth are coloured with my woe;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know:

VI.

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirled the prophet up at Chebar flood;
My spirit some transporting cherub feels

To bear me where the towers of Salem stood,
Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood.
There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

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The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters, where my tears have washed, a wannish white.

VII.

Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of Heaven's richest store,

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And here, though grief my feeble hands up-lock,
Yet on the softened quarry would I score
My plaining verse as lively as before;

For sure so well instructed are my tears
That they would fitly fall in ordered characters.

VIII.

Or, should I thence, hurried on viewless wing,
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,
The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild;
And I (for grief is easily beguiled)

Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud.

ON TIME.

FLY, envious Time, till thou run out thy race :
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping Hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;

So little is our loss,

So little is thy gain!

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.

For, whenas each thing bad thou hast entombed,
And, last of all, thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,

And Joy shall overtake us as a flood;
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,

With Truth, and Peace, and Love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne

Of Him, to whose happy-making sight alone

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When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb,

Then, all this earthy grossness quit,

Attired with stars we shall for ever sit,

Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time!

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