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He feels from Juda's land
The dreaded Infant's hand,

The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
Nor all the gods beside,
Longer dare abide,

Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine;
Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,
Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew.


So, when the sun in bed,
Curtain'd with cloudy red,

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to the infernal jail,

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave;
And the yellow-skirted fays
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-loved maze.


But see, the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest,

Time is, our tedious song should here have ending
Heaven's youngest-teemed star
Hath fix'd her polish'd car,

Her sleeping Lord, with handmaid lamp, attending;
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.



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.

For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe,
Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long,
Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so,
Which he for us did freely undergo:

Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!


He, sovereign priest, stooping his regal head,
That dropp'd with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,
His starry front low-roof d beneath the skies:
Oh, what a mask was there, what a disguise!

Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide,
Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.


These latest scenes confine my roving verse,
To this horizon is my Phcebus bound;
His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings, other-where are found;
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound;

Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.


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,
That whirl'd the prophet up at Chebar flood;
My spirit some transporting cherub feels,
To bear me where the towers of Salem stood,
Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood;

There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit


Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of Heaven's richest store,
And here, though grief my feeble hands up-lock,
Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score
My plaining verse as lively as before;

For sure so well instructed are my tears,
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.

Or should I thence, hurried on viewless wing,
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,
The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild,
And I (for grief is easily beguiled)

Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud.

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

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping Hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.

For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
And, last of all, thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And joy shall overtake us as a flood,
When everything that is sincerely good,
And perfectly divine,

With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of him, to whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over death, and chance, and thee, O Time!

Ye flaming powers, and winged warriors bright,
That erst with music, and triumphant song,
First heard by happy watchful shepherds' ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along
Through the soft silence of the listening night;
Now mourn, and, if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn, in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow:
He, who with all heaven's heraldry whilere
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease;
Alas, how soon our sin
Sore doth begin

His infancy to seize!
O more exceeding love, or law more just?
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love
For we, by rightful doom remediless,

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,

Entirely satisfied,

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.


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

Singing everlastingly:

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!


This rich marble doth inter
The honour'd wife of Winchester,
A viscount's daughter, an earl's heir,
Besides what her virtues fair

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,

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