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He feels from Juda's land
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine;
So, when the sun in bed,
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave;
But see, the Virgin blest
Time is, our tedious song should here have ending
Her sleeping Lord, with handmaid lamp, attending;
Erewhile 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;
But headlong joy is ever on the wing,
In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light,
Soon swallow'd up in dark and long outliving night.
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight
He, sovereign priest, stooping his regal head,
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide,
These latest scenes confine my roving verse,
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Befriend me, night, best patroness of grief,
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
And work my flatter'd fancy to belief,
That heaven and earth are colour'd with my woe;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know:
The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters, where my tears have wash'd, a wannish white.
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
Or should I thence, hurried on viewless wing,
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
This subject the author finding to be above the years he had, when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished
For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
His infancy to seize!
Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above
High-throned in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness;
And that great covenant, which we still transgress,
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,
And seals obedience first, with wounding smart,
This day, but oh, ere long,
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart.
AT A SOLEMN MUSIC.
Blest pair of syrens, pledges of heaven's joy,
Sphere-born, harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ,
Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce;
And to our high-raised phantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure concent,
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne
To him that sits thereon,
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee,
Where the bright seraphim, in burning row,
Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow,
And the cherubic host, in thousand choirs,
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms
That we on earth, with undiscording voice,
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportion^ sin
Jarr'd against nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood
In first obedience, and their state of good.
Oh, may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with heaven, till God, ere long
To his celestial concert us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light!
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER.
This rich marble doth inter
Added to her noble birth,
More than she could own from earth.
Summers three times eight save one
She had told; alas, too soon,
After so short time of breath,
To house with darkness, and with death.
Yet had the number of her days
Been as complete as was her praise,
Nature and fate had had no strife
In giving limit to her life.
Her high birth, and her graces sweet
Quickly found a lover meet;
The virgin choir, for her, request
The god that sits at marriage feast;
He at their invoking came,
But with a scarce well-lighted flame;
And in his garland, as he stood,
Ye might decern a cyprus-bud.
Once had the early matrons run
To greet her of a lovely son,
And now with second hope she goes,
And calls Lucina to her throes;
But, whether by mischance or blame,
Atropos for Lucina came;
And with remorseless cruelty
Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree.
The hapless babe before his birth
Had burial, yet not laid in earth,
And the languish'd mother's womb
Was not long a living tomb.
So have I seen some tender slip,
Saved with care from winter's nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck'd up by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flower,
New shot up from vernal shower;
But the fair blossom hangs the head
Sideways, as on a dying bed,
And those pearls of dew she wears
Prove to be presaging tears,
Which the sad morn had let fall
On her hastening funeral.
Gentle lady, may thy grave
Peace and quiet ever have;
After this thy travail sore,
Sweet rest seize thee evermore,
That, to give the world increase,
Shorten'd hast thy own life's lease.
Here, besides the sorrowing
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon,