« AnteriorContinuar »
18. 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.
19. The oracles are dumb, No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. 175 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
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,
185 The parting genius is with sighing sent. With flower-inwov'n tresses torn
The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.
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,
195 While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.
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 Thammuz mourn.
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.
24. Nor is Osiris seen In Memphian grove, or green,
Trampling the unshowr'd grass with lowings loud; 215 Nor can he be at rest Within his sacred chest,
Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud; In vain with timbrellid anthems dark The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark. 220
25. 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.
26. So when the sun in bed, Curtain'd with cloudy red,
Pillows his chin upon an orient wave;
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to th' infernal jail,
Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave;
And the yellow-skirted fays
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-lov'd maze.
But see, the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest.
Time is our tedious song should here have ending :
Heav'ns youngest teemed star
240 Hath fixt her polisht car,
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending.
And all about the courtly stable,
Bright-harnest angels sit in order serviceable.
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
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 list’ning 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 Heav'ns 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 thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, ev'n to nakedness;
And that great cov'nant 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 o ere long,
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart.
EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth
Wherewith the stage of air and earth did ring,
And joyous news of heav'nly infant's birth,
My muse with angels did divide to sing;
But headlong joy is ever on the wing;
In wintry solstice like the short'nd light,
Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living 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; 10
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, sovran priest, stooping his regal head
15 That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes, Poor fleshly tabernacle entered, His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies; O what a mask was there, what a disguise !
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, 20
Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.
These latter scenes confine my roving verse,
To this horizon is my Phæbus 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 Heav'n 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 washt a wannish white.
See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels
That whirld 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 Heav'ns 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)