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210

XXIII.

205 And sullen Moloch, fled,

Hath left in shadows dread

215

The Lybic 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

220 The sable-stolèd sorcerers bear his worshipped ark.

XXV.

He feels from Judah's land

The dreaded Infant's hand,

The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyen;

Nor all the gods beside

225 Longer dare abide,

Nor 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, 230 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;

235 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; 240 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

UPON THE CIRCUMCISION. 245

UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.

E flaming Powers, and winged Warriors bright,

triumphant song,

First heard by happy watchful shepherds' ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along
5 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,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow

Seas wept from our deep sorrow;

10 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 !

15 Oh 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

20 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;

25 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.

I.

1

E

REWHILE 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;

5 But headlong joy is ever on the wing,

In wintry solstice like the shortened light Soon swallowed up in dark, and long out-living night.

20

II.

For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,

10 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 human wight!

III.

15 He; sovereign Priest, stooping his regal head, That dropped with odorous oil down his fair eyes, Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,

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.

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IV.

These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
To this horizon is my Phoebus bound.
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
25 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.

247

Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief! 30 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;

The leaves should all be black whereon I write, 35 And letters, where my tears have washed, a wannish

white.

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,

40 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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