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Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under.
And peace shall lull him in her flowery lap;
What power, what force, what mighty spell, if not Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot? 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
Or coaly Tyne, or ancient hallowed Dee,
Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name,
The rest was prose.
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.
THIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table 10 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.
Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
Now while the heaven, by the Sun's team untrod,
See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet!
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 touched with hallowed fire.
It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Had doffed her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathise : It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour.
Only with speeches fair
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw ;
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; 50 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 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. 60
But peaceful was the night
His reign of peace upon the earth began.
Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmèd
The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fixed in steadfast gaze,
Bending one way their precious influence,
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.
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
The shepherds on the lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,
Sat 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.
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet
As never was by mortal finger strook,
Answering the stringed noise,
As all their souls in blissful rapture took : The air, such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly
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.
At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,
That with long beams the shamefaced Night arrayed;
The helmèd cherubim
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.