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A sweet regard and most auspicious grace
Bespoke her lineage high: she was of David's ráce.
Upon her lap a lovely Infant lay,
And kenn'd the mother by her smiling grace.
His looks were radiant as the bloom of day,
And angel sweetness purpled in his face.
Oh! how the mother did the babe embrace
With tender blandishment and fondling care!
She gazed, and gazed, ne* could enough caress
His cheeks, as roses red, as lilies fair, [heir !
The holy Dayspring hight, Heaven's everlasting
Near him a goodly personage mildly shone,
With looks of love, and shedding peace and joy.
Her looks were love, soft streaming from the throne
Of grace, and sweetly melted on the boy:
Her tongue dropp'd honey,which would never cloy.
Mercy yclepedt. All Nature on her hung,
To drink her manna and her smiles enjoy;
Young laughing angels Mercy, Mercy,' sung;
Heaven echo'd ^ Mercy' back, the spheres with
* Mercy' rung.
Thus if the clouds, enroll’d with deadly food,
Forget to thunder in the etherial towers,
But silently dissolve in kindly mood,
In fostering dews, and balm, and honey showers;
Laugh all the fields for joy, and all the bowers.
The shrubs and herbs fresh odours round them fling,
Pop up their smiling heads the little flowers,
Warble the birds, exulting on the wing, [sing.
And all the wild wood notes the genial blessings
High o'er his head was held a starry crown,
Emblem of royalty and princely might:
His priesthood was by golden mitre shown:
An eagle young, with eyne most piercing bright,
To prove the Prophet drank the distant light.
But strangest was to see a bloody hand
Uprear a cross, the cross with blood bedight*:
Ten thousand angels, fluttering in a band,
Admired the mystic sign, but could not understand.
Now dulcet symphonies, and voices meet,
Mellifluous stole upon the shepherd's ear,
Which swell’d so high, and died away so sweet,
As might have charm'd a seraph from his sphere.
Happy the swain that mote + such music hear!
Eftsoons a joyous fellowship was seen
Of ladies genti, and beauties without peer ,
As they a train of goddesses had been,
In manner of a mask, radiant along the green.
Faith led the van, her mantle dipp'd in blue,
Steady her ken, and gaining on the skies;
Obedient miracles around her flew :
She pray'd, and heaven burst open on her eyes,
And golden valves rollid back in wondrous wise:
And now some hill, with all its shaggy load
Of trees and flocks, unto the ocean hies :
Now wings of cherubs, flaming all abroad,
Careering on the winds in sight upbear their God.
Next Hope, the gayest daughter of the sky!
Her nectar-dewed locks with roses bound;
An Eden flourish'd where she cast her eye,
• Stained or adorned.
+ Might or most.
Gentle or handsome.
And flocks of sports and joys their temples crown'd, Plumed their bright wings, and thump'd the hollow
ground. Grief gladden'd, and forgot to drop a tear At her approach; ne Sorrow mote* be found, Ne rueful-looking + Drad, ne pale-eyed Care; And 'neath her chariot wheels she crush'd hell
black Despair. Then Charity full zoned, as her beseems, Her breasts were softer ivory, her hair Play'd with the sunny rays in amber streams, And floated wanton on the buxom air; As Mercy kind, as Hope divinely fair. Her soul was flame, and with prolific rays The nations warm’d, all bright withouten glare. Both men and angels, as she passes, gaze, (praise. But chief the poor, the lame, the blind, the naked The train of Virtues next, a dainty train! Advance their steps, sweet daughters of delight, Awfully sweet, majestically plain! Celestial Love, as eyne of seraphs bright, And spotless as their robes of new spun light. Truth, simple as the lovesick village maid; Health-blooming Temperance, a comely wight . Humility, in homely weeds array'd, And by her, in a line, an asses colt she led. But hark, the jolly pipe and rurat lay! And see, the shepherd clad in mantle blue, And shepherdess in russet kirtle gay, Come dauncing on the Shepherd Lord to view, And pay, in decent wise, obeisance due. Might.
Sweet smelling flowers the gentle votaries bring,
Primroses, violets, wet with morning dew,
The sweetest incense of the early spring;
An humble, yet, I weet, a grateful offering.
Jocund to lead the way, with sparkling rays,
Danced a star errant up the orient sky;
The newborn splendour streaming o'er the place,
Where Jesus lay in bright humility,
Seem'd a fix'd star unto the wondering eye:
Three seers unwist * the captain glory led,
Of awful semblance t, but of sable $ dye.
Full royally along the lawn they tread, [head.
And each with circling gold embraved § had his
Low, very low, on bended knee they greet
The Virgin Mother, and the Son adore,
The Son of love! and kiss his blessed feet;
Then ope the vases and present their store,
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh ; what could they
For gold and myrrh a dying king divine || ;
The frankincense, from Arab's spicy shore,
Confess'd the God; for God did in him shine:
Myrrh, frankincense, and gold, God-Man, were
And last, triumphant on a purple cloud,
Fleecy with gold, a band of angels ride :
They boldly sweep their lyres, and, hymning loud,
The richest notes of harmony divide;
Scarce Thomalin the rapture could abide;
And ever and anon the babe they eye,
And through the fleshly veil the God descried ;
Shrill hallelujahs tremble up the sky:
• Good will and Peace to Man,' the choirs in
They ended : and all nature soon was changed !
O’er diamond pebbles ran the liquid gold:
And side by side the lamb and lion ranged
The flowery lawn. The serpent gently rollid
His glistering spires, and playful tongue outloll'd
To lick the infant hand. Together fed
The wolf and kid, together sought a fold.
The roses blush'd with more celestial red;
Hell groan'd through all her dens; and grim Death
dropp'd down dead. Whilom * these scenes the tuneful Twickenham
swaint, With Esay's heavenly pencil taught to glow: Then cease, 0, cease the antiquated strain; Nor mar his song: but reverently go, And in the temple of his Muses bow. Delight and wonder broke the shepherd's dream ; Faded the scenes: and, in a goodly row, Rush'd on his eyes the Muses' well loved theme, Fair Rhedicyna's towers, and Isis' sacred stream!
HYMN TO THE SAVIOUR.
- Thou knowest, Merciful! That knowest all things, and dost ever turn Thine eye of pity on our guilty nature;
• Formerly, sometime ago.
+ Pope; in his . Messiah, a sacred Eclogne.