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Rivers, arise; whether thou be the son Of utmost Tweed, or Ouse, or gulfy Dun; Or Trent, who, like some earth-born giant, spreads His thirty arms along the indented meads; 95 Or sullen Mole that runneth underneath, Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death, Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lea,

Or coaly Tyne, or ancient hallowed Dee,

Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name, 100 Or Medway smooth, or royal-towered Thame. The rest was prose.

ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.

(1629.)

I.

HIS is the month, and this the happy morn,

of King,

Of wedded Maid, and Virgin-Mother born, Our great redemption from above did bring; 5 For so the holy sages once did sing,

That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

II.

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-bearing blaze of majesty,

10 Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,

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.

III.

15 Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the Infant God?

20

Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,

Now, while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,

And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons
bright?

IV.

See how from far upon the eastern road

The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet; Oh! run, prevent them with thy humble ode, 25 And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;

Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the angel choir,
From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.

THE HYMN.

I.

It was the winter wild,

30 While the Heaven-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rud manger lies;

Nature in awe to him
Had doffed her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathise ;

35 It was no season then for her

To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

II.

Only, with speeches fair,

She wooes the gentle air

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow, 40 And on her naked shame,

Pollute with sinful blame,

The saintly veil of maiden white to throw ;
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes

Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

III.

45 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,

50

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; And, waving wide her myrtle wand,

She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.

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IV.

No war, or battle's sound,

Was heard the world around;

55

The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The hooked chariot stood

Unstained with hostile blood;

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng;

And kings sat still with awful eye,

60 As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by.

V.

But peaceful was the night-
Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began;
The winds, with wonder whist,

65 Smoothly the waters kissed,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,

Who now hath quite forgot to rave,

While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmèd

wave.

VI.

The stars, with deep amaze,

70 Stand fixed in steadfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence,

And will not take their flight

For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warned them thence;

75 But in their glimmering orbs did glow,

Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

VII.

80 And hid his head for shame,

As his inferior flame

90

And, though the shady gloom

Had given day her room,

The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,

95

85 The shepherds on the lawn,

Or ere the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;

Full little thought they then,

That the mighty Pan

The new enlightened world no more should need; He saw a greater Sun appear

Than his bright throne or burning axletree could bear.

VIII.

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,

Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

IX.

When such music sweet

Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook;

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