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The drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spy
Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie,
And, sweetly singing round about thy bed,
Strew all their blessings on thy sleeping head.
She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still
From eyes of mortals walk invisible.
Yet there is something that doth force my fear ;
For once it was my dismal hap to hear
A sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age,
That far events full wistly could presage,
And, in Time's long and dark prospective-glass,
Foresaw what future days should bring to pass.
“ Your son,” said she, "(nor can you it prevent,)
Shall subject be to many an Accident.
O’er all his brethren he shall reign as king ;
Yet every one shall make him underling,
And those that cannot live from him asunder
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under.
In worth and excellence he shall outgo them ;
Yet, being above them, he shall be below them.
From others he shall stand in need of nothing,
Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing.
To find a foe it shall not be his hap,
And peace shall lull him in her flowery lap;
Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door
Devouring war shall never cease to roar ;
Yea, it shall be his natural property
To harbour those that are at enmity."
What power, what force, what mighty spell, if not
Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot ?

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90

The next, QUANTITY and QUALITY, spake in prose : then RELATION

was called by his name.

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,
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,
Or Medway smooth, or royal-towered Thame.

The rest was prose.

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ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.

Composed 1629.

I.

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring ;
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.

10

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
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 darksome house of mortal clay.

III.

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

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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,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet ;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the Angel Quire,
From cut his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.

THE HYMN.

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1.

3-6-
It was the winter wild,

While the heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ; 3

Nature, in awe to him,

Had doffed her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize : 3
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour.

II.

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Only with speeches fair

She woos the gentle air
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,

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.

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.

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IV.

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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.

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V.

But peaceful was the night

Wherein the Prince of Light
His reign of peace upon the earth began.

The winds, with wonder whist,

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 charmed wave.

VI.

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The stars, with deep amaze,

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 ;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

VII.

not only stars

. beret the

ren.

80

And, though the shady gloom

Had given day her room,
The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed,

And hid his head for shame,

As his inferior flame
The new-enlightened world no more should need :
He saw a greater Sun appear
Than his bright throne or burning axletree could bear.

VIII.

Solden ag

The shepherds on the lawn,

Or ere the point of dawn,
Sat siinply chatting in a rustic row ;

Full little thought they than

That the mighty Pan
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.

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IX.

When such music sweet

Their hearts and ears did greet
As never was by mortal finger strook,

Divinely-warbled voice

Answering the stringed noise,
As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
The air, such pleasure loth to lose,

99 With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close.

X.

Nature, that heard such sound

Beneath the hollow round
Of Cynthia's seat the Airy region thrilling,

Now was almost won

To think her part was done,
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling :
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union.

XI.

IIO

At last surrounds their sight A globe of circular light, That with long beams the shamefaced Night arrayed ; The helmèd cherubim. hiararely of ongel's-29 . ?

afl And sworded seraphim Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displayed, Harping in loud and solemn quire, With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born Heir.

XII.

Ptole

never before her Such music (as 'tis said)

such musis bens Before was never made,

heard but at But when of old the Sons of Morning sung, wreation - Slus While the Creator great

120
His constellations set,
And the well-balanced World on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,

of And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keqp.

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