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In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,
The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint;
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 :
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;
Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove or green,
Trampling the unshowered grass with lowings loud;
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.
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,
And the yellow-skirted fays
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.
But see the Virgin blest
Time is our tedious song should here have ending:
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
YE flaming Powers, and wingèd Warriors bright,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Sore doth begin
His infancy to seize!
O more exceeding love, or law more just?
Were lost in death, till he, that dwelt above
And that great covenant which we still transgress
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart.
EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
In wintry solstice like the shortened light
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for hunan wight!
He, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head,
His starry front low-roofed beneath the skies:
Yet more the stroke of death he must abide;
These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief!
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
To bear me where the towers of Salem stood,
The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters, where my tears have washed, a wannish white.
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
And here, though grief my feeble hands up-lock,
For sure so well instructed are my tears
Or, should I thence, hurried on viewless wing,
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
FLY, envious Time, till thou run out thy race :
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 Joy shall overtake us as a flood;
With Truth, and Peace, and Love, shall ever shine
Of Him, to whose happy-making sight alone
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!