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O 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 out his secret altar toucht with hallow'd fire.

Τ Η Ε Η Υ Μ Ν.

I.

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It was the winter wild
While the Heav'n-born child,

All meanly wrapt, in the rude manger lies :
Nature in awe to him
Had doff't her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathize :
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

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II.

Only with speeches fair
She woo's 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.

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III.

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But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

She, crown'd 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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a

IV.

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No war, or battle's sound,
Was heard the world around :

The idle spear and shield were high up hung ;
The hooked chariot stood
Unstain’d with hostile blood,

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng;
And kings sate still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.

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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 kist,

Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.

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VI.

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The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fixt in stedfast gaze,

Bending one way their pretious influence;
And will not take their flight
For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warn’d them thence;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

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VII.

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And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,

The sun himself with-held his wonted speed;
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame

The new-enlightn'd world no more should need;
He saw a greater Sun appear
Than his bright throne or burning axletree could bear.

VIII.

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a

The shepherds on the lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,

Sate simply 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.

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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,
With thousand echo's still prolongs each heav'nly close.

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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 Heav'n and Earth in happier union.

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XI.

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At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,

That with long beams the shame-fac't night array'd ;
The helmed cherubim
And sworded seraphim

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd ;
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With unexpressive notes to Heav'ns new-born Heir.

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XII.

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Such music (as 'tis said)
Before was never made,

But when of old the sons of morning sung;
While the Creator great
His constellations set,

And the well-balanc't world on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltring waves their oozy channel keep.

XIII.

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(If ye

ز

Ring out, ye crystal spheres !
Once bless our human ears

have
power

to touch our senses so);
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time;

And let the base of Heav'ns deep organ blow:
And, with your ninefold harmony,
Make

up

full consort to th' angelic symphony.

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XIV.

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For if such holy song
Enwrap our fancy long,

Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold;
And speckl'd vanity
Will sicken soon and die,

And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould;
And Hell itself will pass away,
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.

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XV.

a

W

Yea, Truth and Justice then
Will down return to men,

Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
Mercy will sit between,
Thron'd in celestial sheen,

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering;
And Heav'n, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.

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XVI. But wisest Fate says no; This must not yet be so:

150 The Babe lies yet in smiling infancy, That on the bitter cross Must redeem our loss;

So both himself and us to glorify : Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep,

155 The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,

XVII.
With such a horrid clang
As on Mount Sinai rang,

While the red fire and smouldring clouds out brake:
The aged Earth, agast

160 With terror of that blast,

Shall from the surface to the centre shake;
When at the world's last session
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne.

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XVIII.
And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,

But now begins : for, from this happy day,
Th' old Dragon, under ground
In straiter limits bound,

Not half so far casts his usurped sway;
And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swindges the scaly horror of his folded tail.

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XIX.

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The oracles are dumb;
No voice or hideous hum

Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance or breathed spell
Inspires the pale-ey'd priest from the prophetic cell.

180 XX.

The lonely mountains o'er,
And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
From haunted spring, and dale
Edg’d with poplar pale,

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The parting genius is with sighing sent:
With flower-inwov'n tresses torn,
The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.

XXI.

190

In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,

The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint;
In urns, and altars round,
A drear and dying sound

Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;
And the chill marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.

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XXII,

Peor and Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,

With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine;
And mooned Ashtaroth,

200 Heav'ns queen and mother both,

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn; In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thanmuz mourn.

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XXIII.
And sullen Moloch fled,
Hath left in shadows dread

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.

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XXIV.

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Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove, or green,

Trampling the unshowr'd 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 timbrell’d anthems dark
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark.

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