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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.
HIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
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,
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
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.
15 Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
Now, while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons
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,
It was the winter wild,
30 While the Heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rud manger lies;
Nature in awe to him
With her great Master so to sympathise ;
35 It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.
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 ;
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
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,
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; 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 up hung;
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.
But peaceful was the night-
His reign of peace upon the earth began;
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
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.
80 And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame
And, though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,
The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
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.
Was kindly come to live with them below;
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook;