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And last of kings and queens and heroes old,
But fie, my wandering Muse, how thou dost stray !
Then ENS is represented as Father of the Predicaments, his ten sons; whereof the eldest stood for SUBSTANCE with his Canons; which ENS, thus speaking, explains :
Good luck befriend thee, Son; for at thy birth
Yet there is something that doth force my fear;
O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king;
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under.
To harbour those that are at enmity."
What power, what force, what mighty spell, if not Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot? 90 The next, QUANTITY and QUALITY, spake in prose: then RELATION was called by his name.
Rivers, arise whether thou be the son
Or Trent, who, like some earth-born giant, spreads
Or coaly Tyne, or ancient hallowed Dee,
THIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY. Composed 1629.
Our great redemption from above did bring;
That he our deadly forfeit should release, And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table 10
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.
Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
Now while the heaven, by the Sun's team untrod,
It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child
See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet!
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the Angel Quire, From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire,
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Had doffed her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathise : It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour.
Only with speeches fair
She woos the gentle air
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,
Pollute with sinful blame,
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw ;
But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-eyed Peace :
She, crowned with olive green, came softly sliding Down through the turning sphere,
His ready harbinger,
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; 50 And, waving wide her myrtle wand,
She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.
No war, or battle's sound,
Was heard the world around;
The idle spear and shield were high uphung;
The hooked chariot stood,
Unstained with hostile blood;
The trumpet spake not to the armèd throng;
And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by. 60
But peaceful was the night
His reign of peace upon the earth began.
Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmèd
The stars, with deep amaze,
Bending one way their precious influence,
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,
Or Lucifer that often warned them thence;
And, though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.
The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame
The shepherds on the lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,
Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
The new-enlightened world no more should need:
He saw a greater Sun appear
Than his bright throne or burning axletree could